At first glance, woodworking and music don’t have much in common. But according to Matthew Glasgow, head carpenter at Roberts Custom Interiors and owner of Glasgow Woodworks, the two disciplines overlap.
“If you’re a professional in anything you need to have a lot of pride in doing the best that you can in making a quality product,” Glasgow said. “I learned that with music, if you’re not on your game no one is paying attention. You have to be as good as you can be or no one will be into what you’re doing. My grandfather was also a musician and carpenter, so I guess I got the genes from him.”
For around 24 years, Glasgow has worked at Roberts Custom Interiors. Before carpentry, he was a touring musician for many years. When he wasn’t on tour, he was looking for side jobs, and he got into woodworking entirely by chance. “I told a friend I was looking for work and he suggested it,” Glasgow recalled. “I had no clue how it would go or if I would totally blow it.”
Glasgow always strives for excellence in his work. When he first started working for Mike Roberts of Roberts Custom Interiors, he was drawn to the carpenters’ meticulous approach to their work. “I tried to mimic what the boss was doing,” said Glasgow. “I saw other carpenters do their work with the intention of making it perfect. Once I saw that he ran a tight ship, I knew it was for me.”
Glasgow was also drawn to the particular sense of fulfillment that custom projects provide. “You get that sense of instant gratification at the end of each workday because you see what you’ve done,” he said. “The shop is empty in the morning, and by the end of the day we have cabinets. You feel good about accomplishing something.”
Glasgow attributes his continued interest in woodworking to his love of working with his hands and being able to produce something of quality. With Roberts Custom Interiors, he has crafted intricate pieces for massive Montecito homes and A-list clients. “When we see the cabinets done in somebody’s house it’s really something. I love watching clients see their furniture done.”
After his wife’s first pregnancy, Glasgow began working more and more, and things only got busier as the couple had more kids. “It just kept snowballing,” Glasgow said. “Now that my kids are getting older, they ask why I don’t do music anymore, so I’m looking forward to getting back into music eventually.”
Since entering carpentry, Glasgow has come a long way. “When you get into the trade, you’re not accepted right away,” he said. “Carpenters come and go quickly, but once people realize you’re here to stay, it becomes a community. You can ask each other for tools or help, and no one will leave you to figure it out yourself if you need it. Now that I’m the lead carpenter I can be the one to help other people.”
Roughly five or six years ago, Glasgow decided to start creating his own custom artistic woodworks under the name Glasgow Woodworks so he could enjoy some more creative freedom in his work. Seeing the woodwork of other artists and carpenters on social media particularly sparked his inspiration. “There’s a lot of super artsy products that people are putting out online and doing it got my wheels turning,” Glasgow said. “I realized since I could make cabinets any way they can be done and darn near perfect, I should be able to do artsy stuff too.”
Glasgow finds that his own work is more personal because he has total freedom to build what he is imagining at a given moment, although he will still occasionally do customs for others. Some of his most beloved works include custom engraved charcuterie boards and triangle shelves. “I made and posted some of the shelves and lots of people requested them but filling those orders doesn’t feel like filling orders because it’s my design and it’s my work,” Glasgow said.
Glasgow has done custom woodwork with many local businesses including Trash to Trailers and the Efficiency Project in Carpinteria. “The community really likes to support their local businesses,” Glasgow said. “It’s a big part of the reason I stayed, regardless of how expensive it is to live here.”
To learn more about Glasgow Woodworks, visit the Instagram page @glasgowwoodworks.