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Peter Follansbee
Manuscripts, Marks, and Material Culture: Sources for Understanding the Joiner's Trade in Seventeenth Century America

American Furniture 2002

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Carved panel depicting the interior of a woodworking shop, probably England, 1590– 1620. Oak. 14 1/2" x 28 1/2". (By permission of John Stent of Shere.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Cabinet attributed to the Symonds shops, Salem, Massachusetts, 1679. Red oak, black walnut, and maple with white pine. H. 16 3/8", W. 17", D. 9 1/2". (Courtesy, Peabody Essex Museum; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Detail of the back of a drawer from the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2. Tears from riving are present along the lower edge of the back.

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Chest, Boston, Massachusetts, 1660–1690. Oak, cedrella, and walnut with oak and white pine. H. 30 1/2", W. 45", D. 20 1/2". (Chipstone Foundation; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Detail of the upper rear rail of the chest illustrated in fig. 4.

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Randle Holme, drawing of a “lath axe” (froe), England, ca. 1688. (Courtesy, ©British Library Board.)

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Workbench and tools illustrated on page 69 in the third edition of Joseph Moxon, Mechanick Excercises; or the Doctrine of Handy-works (1703). (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum Library: Printed Book and Periodical Collection.)

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    Holdfasts and bench hook being used to position a board for planing. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    Bench hook being used to hold stock for planing. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Detail of the bench hook marks on a seventeenth-century English box.

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Cupboard, Boston, Massachusetts, 1675–1690. Oak, walnut, maple, chestnut and cedar with oak and white pine. H. 55 5/8", W. 49 1/2", D. 21 3/4". (Chipstone Foundation; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Back of the cupboard illustrated in fig. 11. The smoothing plane marks appear as concave undulations on the back panels.

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Randle Holme, drawing of a smoothing plane, England, ca. 1688. (Courtesy, ©British Library Board.)

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Smoothing plane, possibly New England, 1630–1700. Fruitwood and iron. L. 6 7/8". (Courtesy, Peabody Essex Museum.)

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    “Round” plane being used to mold a strip of wood to be cut into pieces for corbels like those on the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2.

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Detail of the right corbel and side of the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Plow plane being used to cut a groove in a framing member.

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Planes and mortise chisel illustrated on plate 21 of Andres Felibien’s Des Principes de l’Architecture (Paris, 1676). (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum Library: Printed Book and Periodical Collection.) The plow plane is designated “M”.

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Detail of the door of the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2 showing the plowed groove.

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Detail of Annunciation Tryptich by Robert Campin and an assistant (possibly Roger van der Weyden), Netherlands, 1406– 1444. Oil on panel. Braces like the one shown here are still used today. (Courtesy, Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Randle Holme, drawing of a brace and bit, England, ca. 1688. (Courtesy, ©British Library Board.)

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Detail showing the cross-section of a pair of the half-columns on the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2.

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Turning blank for half-columns and completed workpiece.

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Chest attributed to John Thurston, Dedham or Medfield, Massachusetts, 1640–1650. Oak with pine. H. 31 3/8", W. 47 3/4", D. 21". (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Otis Norcross Fund.)

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Detail of a carved panel on the chest illustrated in fig. 24.

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    Side of a cabinet being carved. The workpiece is nailed to a board secured to the bench with holdfasts. The carving design duplicates that on the side of the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2.

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Detail of the left pillar of the cupboard illustrated in fig. 11.

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    Fragment of a cupboard attributed to the Savell shop, Braintree, Massachusetts, 1640–1670. (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    Detail of the door frame of the cupboard illustrated in fig. 28, showing the offset of the draw-bored holes.

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30

    Detail of the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2, showing a nail driven through the side into an interior partition.

  • Figure 31
    Figure 31

    Detail showing the nails used to construct the drawers in the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2

  • Figure 32
    Figure 32

    Detail showing the nail used to reinforce a split in the right side of the cabinet illustrated in fig. 2.

  • Figure 33
    Figure 33

    Chest attributed to the Savell shop, Braintree, Massachusetts, 1660–1680. Oak with white pine. H. 24 9/16", W. 51 1/2", D. 20 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Dan Gair.)

  • Figure 34
    Figure 34

    Chair table, southeastern Massachusetts, 1650–1700. Oak with pine and maple. Dimensions not recorded. (Private collection.)

  • Figure 35
    Figure 35

    Detail showing a mortising mistake on the chair table illustrated in fig. 34.

  • Figure 36
    Figure 36

    Chest attributed to John Norman, Sr., or Jr., Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1630–1680. Oak and pine. H. 27 3/4", W. 44 3/4", D. 20 3/8". (Chipstone Foundation; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 37
    Figure 37

    Detail showing a mortising mistake on the chest illustrated in fig. 36.