Dave Smith figured he would die of boredom in a matter of months if he moved to Florida to kick back after retiring from the military. So he went to work as a framer and opened up Winchester Art & Frame. “It’s labor intensive and the young people don’t want to do the work. I’m 82 and I put in 60, 70-hour weeks. “
The shop puts out about 70 to 80 pieces per week and is booked into October, but is starting to take in orders for Christmas. They got an order for 13 pieces that morning.“I do some carving with it but it’s making the molds of what exists already and ultimately make a piece that will fit in,” Smith said. “Cleaning canvasses, doesn’t work much with papers. “I do a lot of restoration my self,” Smith said. “A lot of it is making molds of existing frames, transferring that from a negative to a positive the casting. The process can take anywhere from three to four hours to six or seven days. It’s a matter of cutting materials, mounding it and fitting it.”
“I had taught antique restoration for adult education classes. People would bring in antiques that they wanted to fix up. The biggest problem you run into with antiques is finding suitable material for the repair. I used to do cabinetry and small furniture making as a hobby throughout military career. My father did that, learned a lot from him.”
There is an art gallery in the front of the shop which has half a million dollars with of pictures on display. In the middle room are walls of frames for customers to choose from. The workshop in the back has five employees, who work steadily on frames and other crafts.
“I’ve been doing this for about 25 years, since I retired from the military. When I got out, I became vice president of the New England office of a high tech firm and they office was going to close, so I could go out to California or Washington D.C., but I had done too many tours there. I said ‘enough of the funny farm.’”
Smith has been at this location since 1995, his original shop was opened on Church Street I 1989. Smith grew up in Topsfield and Newburyport, and he been to every state in the union and every territory except the Virgin Islands.