Marine Educator Creates Furnishings from Lobster Trap Wire

When the chair he made as a gag gift elicited more oohs and ahs than guffaws, Tom Duym took another look at the potential to create furniture from lobster trap wire.

A teacher in the Marine Vocational Program at Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Duym first considered the possibility that a sturdy lobster trap might make a comfortable chair as Christmas approached in 2006.

The staff at school was planning a holiday party that would include a traditional Yankee Swap, in which participants bring a gag gift that will be randomly chosen by someone at the gathering.

Back in the shop, Duym found a pair of wooden rockers left over from another project and some pressure-treated ballasts for the outside and back of the lobster-trap seat of the rocking chair.

To his surprise, everyone responded with, “Wow, this is great. You should make them.”

The following year, Duym further fine-tuned the design. He and his students also built 10 classroom chairs from lobster wire, using the lobster-trap design without the rockers.

“If they can stand up to high school kids, they can stand up to anything,” Duym said.

Duym further refined his lobster-trap rocking chair, and last summer, he set up shop at his home in Lamoine and launched Down East Deck Chairs.

The chairs are made from the same vinyl-coated steel wire used in lobster traps and trimmed and framed with oak. He also makes a glass-top coffee table and bait-bag beverage holders fashioned from stiffened trap wire. Prices range from $100 for the table to $160 for a rocker.

The final product features an exact replica of a lobster trap as the seat for comfortable rocking chairs and straight deck chairs.

Up until now, Duym has mostly marketed his furniture and accessories from his home. He plans to approach more possible business distributors this coming summer.

For more details pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]