Traditional Woodworking Tour: George Lott’s Shop at the Frontier Culture Museum (Part 1)

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Recreating historical furniture like this requires real talent and attention to detail:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

In the above video I returned to the Frontier Culture Museum in historical Staunton, Virginia, to visit the men who are responsible for much of the reproduction furniture there: George Lott, Ken Knorr, and David Puckett. George Lott and Ken Knorr volunteer their time,  talent, and projects to the museum (wow) and Curator David Puckett researches the historic furniture and puts in orders to George and Ken. A very cool system.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

I was especially dying to see all of the antique woodworking tools that George Lott was rumored to own. In my previous post (“1820’s tool chest” ) Steven Gallagher told me about George’s tools and showed me much of his furniture. So naturally, I tracked down George Lott. Not only did he show me his workbenches and tools, but I got to learn an ancient secret recipe for finishing furniture…

Frontier Culture Museum

Okay, well…err…it’s not exactly a secret recipe. But it is fairly traditional and was oh so gorgeous on that oak arm chair (watch the above video for the recipe).

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Below are are some detailed shots of George’s (and some of Ken’s work) breathtaking historic furniture from this building (much more to come from the other farmhouses)…but first make sure you subscribe so that you don’t miss the upcoming 2 or 3 videos about George Lott’s tools and furniture.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

The above desk is my favorite piece of furniture in the whole museum (it’s in the 1850’s American farm).

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Notice the beautiful square pegs that pull the tenons tight into the mortises.

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

Ken Knorr built this walunt school teacher’s desk (above) and George and Ken built the school benches (below).

Frontier Culture Museum

Wedging the tenons keeps the joint nice and tight:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

George’s very nice walnut corner cupboard:

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

©  Joshua T. Farnsworth

About the Frontier Culture Museum

The Frontier Culture Museum is  unlike anything I’ve encountered. The organization has disassembled actual period farms from England, Ireland, Germany, Africa, and different parts of the United States, then reconstructed them on several hundred acres of lush Virginia farmland. Why? To educate Americans on how our American farms were influenced by immigrants from overseas. You can see the different farms here.

What I found particularly fascinating was the woodworking tools and furniture displayed at each of the 10 farms. The staff actually use the respective tools to construct furniture and tools. It is a hands on “museum” so I just helped myself to all the amazing tool chests! The staff didn’t mind. They also didn’t mind that I constantly caressed their reproduction furniture either…although I got some strange looks.

2017-04-20T09:59:35+00:00

About the Author:

"I'm wildly passionate about traditional woodworking with hand tools, and want to rekindle this lost art. At WoodAndShop I teach you the skills that I learn, and also share anything fascinating that I discover about traditional woodworking. That includes tours of traditional workshops, beautiful furniture, and my favorite tools and books. I hope you enjoy my videos, photos, and articles. Please feel free to leave constructive comments!"

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