Field Trip! 16th and 17th century furniture.

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Blog entry by Stevinmarin posted 02-07-2010 12:56 AM 1531 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Took a trip to the California Legion of Honor museum this week. Just thought I’d post some examples of old furniture made with hand tools, just to make us all feel inadequate.

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

9 comments so far

View WoodyWoodWrecker's profile


171 posts in 2290 days

#1 posted 02-07-2010 01:07 AM

I watched this earlier on your YouTube channel. I enjoyed it. I agree that there isn’t a difference between a crypt and a wedding chest. I always get a kick out of your videos. Thanks for sharing.

-- You always have tomorrow to stop procrastinating.

View woodchic's profile


831 posts in 2397 days

#2 posted 02-07-2010 01:39 AM

This is awesome…............the furniture and frames were stunning. Loved that you put this on here! Thanks for sharing it with us.


-- Robin Renee'

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2616 days

#3 posted 02-07-2010 01:56 AM

Thanks Steve that was totally cool.

-- Custom furniture

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 2387 days

#4 posted 02-07-2010 02:47 AM

just a couple of notes:

While it is possible that all the examples in the video were all wood, it is likely that at least some of the gilded frames were constructed using a combination of wood and plaster. It is not easy to tell what material is under gilding and quite often plaster was used.

A commode has a couple of different meanings
1. A low cabinet or chest of drawers, often elaborately decorated and usually standing on legs or short feet.
a. A movable stand or cupboard containing a washbowl.
b. A chair enclosing a chamber pot.
c. A toilet.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 2273 days

#5 posted 02-07-2010 05:07 AM

Cool stuff, couldn’t help but think of the commercial on PBS when New Yankee Workshop was on about the two guys in an art gallery, one guy looking at the art and the other guy looking at the wooden stand, i love it.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


16451 posts in 2715 days

#6 posted 02-07-2010 05:10 AM

Now that you have been properly inspired, you can whip out one of the plainer pieces ;-)) I’ll be watching for it in projects!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View davidroberts's profile


1023 posts in 2525 days

#7 posted 02-07-2010 06:08 AM

inadequate? heck I can feel inadquate walking through Ikea. it will be a long time before I even start to think about inadequacy looking at those furniture pieces.

-- God is great, wood is good. Let us thank Him for wood......and old hand tools.

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 2307 days

#8 posted 02-07-2010 01:50 PM

Greetings Steve,

Good field trip and idea to perhaps get some of the creative juices flowing.

In any of my museum visits whenever I whipped out my Nikon a guard quickly halted my efforts—even without flash. It’s my understanding all museums do not permit pictures, but then again, you were in beautiful yet almost-anything-goes San Francisco.

Years ago for a magazine article I wrote I spent considerable time researching Colonial American craftsmanship. How did they do that?! I was actually inspired with my travels throughout New England, from Connecticut to Maine, seeing the wonderful roadside stone walls. This was at a time when we had just built our house and I was deep in the woods trying to unearth and gathering rocks and stones. (If I die early it’ll be from those days).

Beautiful, magnificent stone walls put together so tight you can’t see light through them. And with no mortar, no filler of any kind. Then you suddenly realize you’ve been driving some 60 MPH for an hour and that stone wall is still there!

Of course, we know of the Pyramids; untold massive labor not likely seen on Earth again.
Naturally, no one can think The Great Wall of China was built by a couple of guys?

jlsmith and Skarp above have more than touched on the working secrets of the past.

For all the magnificent work and effort seen on LJs it’s possible a Colonial journeyman could post on this board today: “Been there, done that.”
They had their clever tricks, shortcuts, jigs and fixtures too!

There certainly is beauty and genius now, there certainly was beauty and genius then.

The fundemental Colonial—and historical—ingredient was time. Time, mixed with pride; nothing was impossible.

Nothing is impossible.



View Blake's profile


3441 posts in 2913 days

#9 posted 02-07-2010 08:07 PM

Hey Steve, is this exhibit still current? I’d like to drive up and see it (I live in Santa Cruz).

As always, great video.

-- Happy woodworking!

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