Hand Tools Archive

Choices pose interesting speculation on wood sourc

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
I have been wondering how the people that made the furniture with its fashionable knots bought lumber. Few of the pieces in the Chester County book seem to have been built from lumber out of the same log. Only occasionally is there evidence that the lumber came from sequential boards from a log. I would have thought a cabinet maker might have purchased a log of lumber. But it more looks like they purchased individual pieces of lumber selected from logs. Who knows how lumber was graded? and priced. It may be that the mill sold clear lumber at high prices unattractive to the country cabinet maker. The FAS of the day went to the cities to be made into the kinds of furniture to be found in my Connecticut book, maybe?

In many cases drawers were made from lumber cut near large limbs to include figure and even the knot itself. In other cases a board with an unattractive, by today's standards, round figureless knot can be found in the midst of a drawer or panel side. One picture shows a drawer pull installed unattractively off center from a knot that must be 4' in diameter. What motivated the maker to buy and then employ these boards. Certainly not aesthetics. Cost? Maybe this furniture was Ikea of the day. As tastes refined I can see why little of the original survives today.

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