Nina MacLaughlin


After seven years working as a writer and editor at the Boston Phoenix, Nina MacLaughlin quit her job and became an apprentice to a carpenter. She started carpentry not knowing the difference between a Phillips and a flathead screwdriver, and since 2008, has learned how to build walls, tile floors, hang doors, install windows, make stairs, cut trim, and build bookshelves. She’s wielded drills, hammers, awls, nail guns, framing guns, pry bars, crow bars, Japanese saws, and routers, as well as hauled tons of bags of trash and inhaled a lot of sawdust. She’s written for the Boston Globe, the Believer, Bookslut, Meatpaper, the Daily Beast, Time Out New York, and elsewhere, primarily about books and writers. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


She writes about carpentry (and books and sex) on her blog Carpentrix.



Published work

Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter (March 2015)

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Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter (Forthcoming, W.W. Norton)