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kitchens-islands and cabinets
Gary Sisson

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Gary Sisson was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. The family home was built in 1890--an uncommon Seattle residence in the post-war suburban trend of the 1950s. As a child, the texture of the trim and well-worn wooden flooring made a deep impression upon him. At age 14, Gary designed and built his first boat in his attic bedroom.

In 1967 his family returned to the Cape Cod, Massachusetts area where generations had lived before. During high school, he built two more boats and found employment at a boatyard, where he learned the skills of the trade from an older crew of boatmen. At age 19 Gary started the Gulf River Skiff Company, constructing more than 20 classic wooden rowboats in his family’s 250-year-old barn. In his early twenties he moved to Maine, where he built yachts at the well-known Henry R. Hinckley Company in Southwest Harbor.

Gary returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1974 with his East Coast bride and found himself, much like the early Western Washington pioneers, making homemade New England-style furnishings to help alleviate her homesickness. While establishing himself on Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands, he further honed his traditional woodworking skills while serving as foreman, at Eastsound Bay Boats. Over the years he helped build 17 of these unique all-wooden houseboats, careful to retain the character of their original 1936 design.

starting mt.pickett woodworking

In the late 70’s, Gary purchased acreage on Mt. Pickett in the Olga area of Orcas Island, cleared the land by hand, and built his own Cape Cod-style home and woodworking shop. He started his own company, Mt. Pickett Woodworking, and began specializing in custom kitchen cabinetry. It was here that he developed his signature techniques for working with old wood, highlighting the textures and irregularities inherent in these weathered building parts, rather than machining them off, and using traditional methods such as hand-planing to add texture and personalize each piece.

In those early years of business, before Orcas Island was “discovered”, work would often slow down in the winter. During these times Gary would pack up his growing family into the old Landcruiser, loaded down with their belongings and tools, and head east to Hingham, Massachusetts, a town well known for its large stock of impeccably restored historic homes and buildings. Here he always had work with his wife’s cousin, Peter Bickford who ran Bickford Restoration and Remodeling.This afforded Gary a great opportunity to study, restore and recreate the interiors and furnishings of many fine homes from the 19th, and 18th and even 17th centuries.

These skills , some self-taught, some passed down to him by older generations, are in high demand today with the growing desire for handmade furnishings. With the aid of his highly skilled craftsmen, Gary still labors over every piece, lending each the unique stamp and simple grace of his innate Yankee style and sensibility.

Gary's work has been described in:
The New York Times
Seattle Times' Pacific NW Magazine
and other publications

At 16, in his hand-made boat

1970 - Cohasset Harbor, Massachusetts
Designed and built a boat
with lawn mower engine for power

1974 - Gulf River Skiffs

1974 - Gulf River Skiffs
First Company

1979 - First Workshop

1979- Mt. Pickett Woodworking
First Workshop

60 wooden chain saws, all designed and built by Gary

60 Wooden Toy Chain Saws
First Project

Sorting Vintage Lumber

Sorting Vintage Lumber


2005 - Gary Sisson

2005 - Artisan /Craftsman


work experience


Boat builder, Cohasset, Massachusetts and Mattapoisett, Massachusetts


Owner, Gulf River Skiffs, Cohasset, Massachusetts


Yacht builder, Henry Hinckley Company, Southwest Harbor, Maine


Foreman, Kenady Boat Building, Eastsound, Washington.
Built 17 Eastsound Bay Boats, all-wooden houseboats designed in 1936


Owner, Mt. Pickett Woodworking, Olga, Washington


Remodeling historic homes and restoration projects in New England


Cabinets and furnishings made from reclaimed lumber
for high-end projects on Orcas Island and Lake Washington, Seattle
Established new company focus.

2004 to present

Projects on historic replications.
Began work on measuring and photographing the Early Seattle Pioneer Furniture Collection at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry to reproduce some of the early furniture built by settlers to this region in the mid 1800’s .


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© 2005 Mt. Pickett Woodworking
Website design by DoubleRich Design
Photos: Gary Sisson, Michael Skott, Anthony Richardson