(Editor’s Note: Lily Martin, the media contact in the Office of Melrose Mayor Paul Brodeur, submitted the following story to The Saugus Advocate.)
Retired Saugus resident Carl Spencer has found success instructing local older adults in his class, the Milano Center’s 60+ Chair Caning Group, for the past four years. Under his leadership, the group repaired chairs as a service to the City of Melrose and most recently repaired chairs found in the Melrose Public Library during its process of relocating to the Beebe School in preparation for renovations.
The group, which is a bring-your-own-supplies-style course, is actively seeking new members to assist in learning how to cane chairs and aid in repairing chairs for the City of Melrose. The group is currently working on repairing a chair that belongs in the City Council Chambers located in Melrose City Hall.
The Chair Caning Group spends most of their time completing chairs for friends or to donate to charity. Members of the group also spend time working on Nantucket Baskets, which can take anywhere between 20-25 hours to complete in total.
Spencer first learned about chair caning when he attended a woodworking class in Saugus with his father-in-law, upon his retirement. This was almost 20 years ago, and since then he has completed around 50 chairs that each take anywhere from 25-30 hours to complete. Carl Spencer has been teaching others about chair caning at the Milano Center since 2019.
The Milano Center’s 60+ Caning Group meets every week on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Milano Center. If you are interested in joining the group or learning more, please call the center at 781-662-6886.