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Photo of the Week: Bill Thomas Comes Home

Bill Thomas making a Fox canoe at Penland

Bill Thomas’s recent workshop at Penland School of Crafts was a sort of homecoming for the woodworker, whose parents, Vern and Shirley Thomas, live in nearby Spruce Pine. “Most of my family is buried in Bandana,” he recalls. “I was born in Spindale, and my father was born near Micaville. He moved out in the early ’40s, looking for work. He moved back the day he retired.” Thomas taught “Building the Fox Canoe,” a class featuring his technique for fabricating a sleek, lightweight canoe from plywood panels and fiberglass, in Penland’s wood studio the week of April 7 – 13. He has been a professional woodworker for over 35 years, designing and building custom projects from cabinetry and furniture to sailboats, powerboats, kayaks and canoes, for a wide range of clients. He lives in southern Maine, where he says the environment reminds him of North Carolina. There’s more information about Bill at