- Albemarle Neighbor
- Teacher: Ben Hobbs is a Perquimans County native was a math teacher at John A. Holmes High School from 1973 to 1980.
Everyday Ben Hobbs wakes up knowing he is going to work at a job he loves, building furniture in his shop on his property in Perquimans County.
“It’s nice to do what you like to do,” said Hobbs. “It’s a blessing to be able to do this.”
The Perquimans County native was a math teacher at John A. Holmes High School from 1973 to 1980. Hobbs decided to open a custom furniture making business in 1982.
Concentrating on local designs from the 18th Century, Hobbs said he mainly constructs reproductions of furniture from northeastern North Carolina. He was recently commissioned to build a bed that will be on display at the Newbold-White House in Hertford when it reopens for the season in April.
Hobbs recreated a copy of a tall-post walnut bed located at the Historic Hope Plantation for the Newbold White House. He said he visited the Hope Plantation site to view the bed and completed a sketch and exact measurements.
Accurate measurements are a key aspect of constructing furniture, and Hobbs said his math background aids him in this part of the process.
Viewing original pieces, Hobbs said he pays close attention to the tool marks remaining on the furniture and it helps determine the way pieces were produced.
He began offering furniture making classes 17 years ago. Students have the opportunity to stay on his property where his wife, Jackie, operates the Beechtree Inn.
Hobbs said they added 16 Pre-Civil War buildings to their property where they live in Perquimans. The couple also rents out a building on the property that is used as a restaurant.
Hobbs received the Cartouche Award by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers in 2011. He said he was especially honored when presented this award because it came from his peers.
Currently a Perquimans County commissioner, Hobbs has served on the board for 14 years. He is active in his church, a former member of the Perquimans County School Board and served 23 years with the volunteer fire department.
Hobbs said he became active in his community because he “saw a need.”
“I felt I had something to offer.”
Signing his name in ink on his finished works, Hobbs has constructed more than 2,000 pieces of furniture in his lifetime. Utilizing “solid wood and good techniques,” he knows his work “will survive over time.”