Since Thanksgiving has its roots all the way back in the 1600s, we thought we’d take a quick look at what our Pilgrim ancestors were doing for woodworking.
Pilgrim Period furniture, which some define as encompassing 1620 – 1690, was very much influenced by the Jacobean period furniture of England that they would have brought with them. Pilgrim furniture was functional first, with little in the way of ornamentation. The joint work was also scarce, with iron braces serving to hold the pieces together. Common materials used were pine, walnut, oak and other species found in the East. It was usual to see shellac and oil finishes.
Since furniture served practical purposes, it was often built with the same tools used to build homes back then. The building and maintaining of homes was the priority back then, particularly as those cold, harsh winters bore down.
Pilgrim blanket chests played a big role in storage of clothing, bedding, blankets and more. Incidentally, the pilgrim blanket chest piece has been carried on into today’s shops, where woodworkers both aspiring and established work on their machining skills and table saw work putting the chests together. Tommy took at stab at one, which you can see on the How To page. Follow the videos to see the step by step.
Take a look through the gallery below to see some historical Pilgrim furniture pieces.