John Widdifield (1673-1720) was an English furnituremaker who immigrated to Philadelphia in first years of the eighteenth century. He was listed in William Macpherson Hornor’s Blue Book: Philadelphia Furniture in the “…astonishing roll comprising nearly one hundred” woodworkers working in in the Delaware Valley between 1682 and 1722. Cathryn McElroy in her Master’s Thesis, Furniture of the Philadelphia Area: … Continue reading John Widdifield, Joiner
Author: Christopher Storb
Red Cedar in Philadelphia
I had a question about the spice box in the last post and why surviving red cedar furniture from the Delaware River Valley is so rare. It's true that there are very few extant objects with red cedar used as a primary wood species made in the Delaware River Valley during the eighteenth century. Juniperus … Continue reading Red Cedar in Philadelphia
A “Dear Little Chest”
Margaret Berwyn Schiffer's collection of furniture and decorative art was auctioned at Pook & Pook, Ltd. on January, 18, 2023. Of particular interest was this spice box made of red cedar with light-wood line inlay on the door, sides, top, and interior drawer fronts. Schiffer owned the spice box when she first illustrated it in … Continue reading A “Dear Little Chest”
Unlike painting, furniture making is a reductive practice. The marks on every surface are only those of the last tool used. On show surfaces of pre-industrial furniture, you are typically looking at marks left by a try plane, smoothing plane, or scraper. There is no way we can peer into the past and know what … Continue reading Fore-Plane Marks
What’s In A Name?
I’m sure there must be some confusion among those who don’t study the history of woodworking tools, as to what, if any, is the difference between a fore-plane and a jack-plane. I remember being confused about it when I started in woodworking. The metal bench planes of Leonard Bailey’s design still that were still being … Continue reading What’s In A Name?