In the above video I share an amazing archaeological tour that I recently embarked on into the archives of the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia.
Furniture reproductionist and historian George Lott discovered a priceless pre-Civil War cabinet maker shop in Rockingham County, Virginia. that belonged to Adam W. Kersh (1828-1905). This abandoned cabinet shop is a rare glimpse directly into the history of furniture and instrument making.
See the articles & videos from my previous woodworking tours with George Lott at the amazing Frontier culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia:
And here’s a link to the Frontier Culture Museum’s Website so you can see how great it is.
Adam Kersh was a Virginian Cabinet Maker, Luthier, & Chairmaker who fought in most major battles of the Civil War. He was not only a skilled craftsman, but also a veteran of most of the major battles of the civil war. He was also of German descent and a life-long bachelor.
Here is a link to the enlightening letters that Adam Kersh wrote to his family members from the Civil War battlefields.
Below you’ll see many of the photos that were mentioned in the video:
A very large foot-powered treadle lathe
Adam Kersh’s workbench and tools that survived the 1905 estate sale
The table that Adam Kersh used for finishing and painting
A foot-powered grinder shows that Adam Kersh was interested in keeping up with the technological advances of the bigger cabinet shops.
One of the violins made by Adam Kersh. He was apparently a talented violinist and was often engaged to play music for his fellow confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
This form was likely used to shape the body of Kersh’s violin’s:
Perhaps the most impressive tool that survived the 1905 estate sale, a Spiers Scottish Infille Panel Plane. See how much these planes cost now, at this eBay link.
Adam Kersh’s patterns are a rare find and teach us more about the process of fine woodworking. Tools were usually sold off at the death of a craftsman, but patterns were usually seen as worthless and therefore discarded.
This Kersh chair shows the woodworking skill that Kersh had gained over the years. It also shows us the layers of paint that were applied over the years.
George Lott is certainly a multi-talented guy. He makes and plays bagpipes. My heart grew fond of backpipe music while I lived in Scotland years ago, so George was kind enough to entertain me. Thanks George!