Progress in the workshop thanks to the M-WTCA

Phil Baker and Neil Bohnert of the M-WTCA look over potential tools with Phil Mark, Stratford's Director of Preservation

With the official reopening of the Southwest outbuilding slated for April 2010, we are coming down the home stretch with furnishing research.  The workshop area of the building (the first room you walk into) is in good shape thanks to the support of the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association (M-WTCA). These avid tool collectors and scholars have been helping to identify period-appropriate tools for a woodworking shop and are helping us understand the meaning of notations from our Lee family documents. In the inventory ofStratfordtaken in 1758, for instance, we see listed: Carpenters Do [tools] What specialized tools did each of these kinds of craftsmen need? And in Richard Henry Lee’s memorandum book [in the Huntington Library collection] we have been finding even further information about woodworking atStratford.  In the document are notations for Lee lending J. Paxton,Stratford’s joiner, tools such as “1 1/2 inch Mortice chisel” as well as planes and other items.  This raises questions for us:  What does a 1/2 inch mortise chisel look like in 1787?  Where did theStratford joiners, carpenters, sawyers, and coopers get their tools?  Who were these men? We hope to answer these questions and many more with our new display.