"Please have a look at my work and stay awhile." Dick Toone, Artisan and Proprietor

18th Century Furniture

Delaware Valley 18th Century Style Table

I thought I would share a Delaware Valley Style 18th Century design table I have made for sale using hard curly maple for the top, hand planed stained Lancaster Maple, with seven coats of Water Lox finish. The breadboard ends and the cross batons are both dovetailed with care and single centered pegged to allow expansion and contraction of the solid wood with humidity changes without the top splitting. The legs are made of poplar 1 3/4 inches thick painted correct Windsor green color.

This very strong and beautiful table that is easy to set-up for home or field. This item is sold.

 

Yes, There Were 18th Century Folding Chairs

I need to exclaim that my position that there were no 18h Century chairs/stools with backs was wrong. Ty Davis, past Captain of the American Long Rifle Association (ALRA), discovered an illustration in the 1769 edition of “L’Art du Menuisier” by Andro Jacub Roulo showing two examples of a folding chair/stools with a back. This drawing from the book illustrates the chairs along with another example of a folding bedstead and table. I have no intention to try to duplicate either example as both look uncomfortable.
campaign-bed

A Brief Clarification About Camp Stools

The stool as it now called was a “chair” in ancient times. The stool, consisting of a frame with a covering suspended on the top for a seat has been in use for over 2000 years.  Originally the stool (chair) was used only by a king or chief, so it follows that the position of a chairman at a meeting comes from this exalted use.

I have offered common stools using strong woods and 18th Century joiner methods for 25 years as a camp accessory with no known original to copy. These have been mistakenly called Washington stools by others. Washington’s stools were provided to him by Philadelphia upholsterer Plunket Fleeson along with tentage and tables May 1776 and are of unique construction. We know of the construction from only two known of the original eighteen. They are as different from my common stool as a Volkswagon is to a Cadillac and by my agreement with the Smithsonian not available to the general public. Duplicates of Washington’s stools made by me may be seen at Yorktown National Historical Park and at Rockingham Historic Site in Kingston, New Jersey.

My common camp stool is very strong and stable with two grades of seating- heavy linen canvas or double layer heavy cotton. Cotton will stretch and was not used in this fashion in the 18th Century. Frame construction is the same for both versions of the common stool.  Linen costs more. The difference is due to hand stitching and cost of linen versus machine sewn cotton. Common camp stools come painted red, blue, green or yellow.  This common camp stool is available in linen or hemp. The price is $110.00.

My officer grade camp stool employs more involved construction techniques with mortice and tenon joints with recessed riveting, hemp or linen canvas underpinning and green Baize upholstery covering secured with cast brass nails (tacks) to varnished walnut framing. Legs have a stylish slight serpentine Chippendale shape and these stools costs $300.00 on special order.

I am sorry, but I know of no folding stools appearing in etchings, engravings or paintings known to have been produced in the 18th century having a back support.

Regards,
Dick Toone

 

Cotton Versus Linen. Which is Correct for an 18th Century Cot?

When recreating a historic piece of furniture I look at as many existing original samples as possible. After all, the resulting recreation has to be right! Having said that, the making of Revolutionary War era cots has posed a dilemma for years, because the several original cots I have seen never had original fabric in place.

What I do know it that headboard peg’s spread has a width of 30 plus inches. The pin between the legs fixed the height and that too pointed to a 30 inch width. Canvas and most other fabric rarely exceeded 26 inches (this probably due to having to pass a hand shuttle back and forth when weaving).

Frank Rodrigues in New Bedford repairs sails for many historic and reproduction square riggers today and the English linen canvas he uses  still comes 26 inches wide. Linen is preferred because it does not stretch. Cotton does stretch and was too expensive in the 18th century for sails, tents, or cots. The only answer seemed to be to sew two pieces together of linen together. Now that gets expensive and I have no proof it was correct.

Enter Jim Kochan (James A. Kochan Fine Art & Antiques Frederick, MD) with an original cot with the original pieced canvas in place! So now I had confirmation of the piecing together the fabric.  Now the question is answered but the cost is higher. Oh well, either it is right or it is not.

My cots now will be with the pieced (double hand stitched) heavy linen canvas stitched and supplied by Frank Rodrigues. The canvas will be  secured to the cot rails by nails through a strip of leather all as observed from original 18th Century examples. The cots will handle very large people with no problem, disassemble for easier transport, and provide a sense of satisfaction of sleeping in comfort more correctly.

 

About

We hand-build 18th century travel furnishings and field equipage to your specifications.

The Living History Shop works in close collaboration with historic sites as well as the Smithsonian Museum to research and reproduce unusual and challenging examples of historic technology specific to the 1740-1790 time period.

Because of the increasing complexity and scope of our projects, we will no longer be printing a catalog. Simply call or email us with your needs or to obtain current prices and delivery schedule.

Curators of historic sites can obtain — with permission from sites in possession — reproductions of some of George Washington’s personal campaign furniture and accessories, including his: Folding Field Bedsteads, Mess Kit, Stool, Liquor Chest, Shaving Kit, large Storage Box, Luggage and Writing Case.

All items are made from original examples I have seen and documented and employ construction details of the original. Iron keyed locks are used on chest lids and drawers. Hand forged iron work is made to our specifications by Jeff Miller (Flintlock Forge).

Examples include:

  • Wooden chests with dovetail or lap joints, forged iron or rope handles, snipe or strap hinges, painted or not
  • Pine topped tables with scissor leg or sawbuck design (2″ X-legs with streacher between)
  • Pine plank benches
  • Pine bench Shaving Horse
  • Red oak open frame wheelbarrows with solid (non-spoked) wheel standard
  • Red oak standard size ( 1 3/4″ thick frame) four spoke wheelbarrows with or without sides 1/2″ thick
  • White oak heavy duty wheelbarrows using 2″ thick stock for frame and 3/4″ thick sides and bottom – four spoke wheel
  • 17-18th century Miner Style Wheelbarrow (from Diderot) with four spoked wheel in red or white oak 3/4″ sides
  • Walnut folding officers bedstead in single or double width complete with bed curtains, mattress, and storage chest
  • Walnut officers grade Chippendale style folding table with matching upholstered stool including custom canvas case
  • Walnut or maple Georgian period folding chair upholstered in leather
  • The best wooden handled table top brazier made
  • Officer grade Mess Kit Canteen
  • Wine crates with or without blown bottles
  • Wine chest with blown bottles and glasses of officer grade in iron clasped walnut and with hand made lock
  • Sundry small items such as lidded pine Tavern Tankards, Tape Looms, and curly maple Lanterns

Portfolio

The Princeton homestead named Rockingham served as General George Washington’s final headquarters during the American Revolution. It was here he awaited the Treaty of Paris, the official paperwork that would end the war and grant America formal sovereignty.

Furnishings below are part of the extensive collection of Washington’s field furnishings created for Rockingham Historic Site in 2005-2006. The State of New Jersey commissioned the Living History Shop, in cooperation with the Smithsonian and Mt. Vernon, to reproduce many of Washington’s personal campaign furnishings for Rockingham.

Washington Mess Kit (canteen) duplicated from original in the Smithsonian. Intricate and detailed construction including hand-blocked wallpaper, green felt lining, and intricate system of precisely fitted compartments.

Washinton’s four nested cooking pots with detachable handles. Mess kit (canteen) tinware by tinsmith, Carl Giordano.

 George Washington’s folding gridiron with telescoping handle. Forge work by blacksmith, Jeff Miller.
Mid 18th Century Delaware Valley design “Sawbuck” table. Dovetailed center drawer. Sturdy construction, featuring 1.25″ thick pine top and poplar legs.
Washington’s travel trunk in black leather duplicated by Steve Freede from original at Mt. Vernon with brass cartouche engraved “Genl Washington No.3”.
Washington’s travel trunk in black leather duplicated by Steve Freede from original at Mt. Vernon with brass cartouche engraved “Genl Washington No.3”.
Geo Washington large faux grain shipping chest from original at Mt. Vernon. Wood joints and assembly are individually fitted. Fit and finish are appropriate to the piece and its use today. Jackplane smoothing marks and scribe lines are visible on exposed surfaces. Hand-forged iron fastenings and handles are used. Authenticated period colors cover painted pieces.
One of two walnut Chippendale Side Chairs duplicated from original set of four at Rockingham site.
Plunket Fleeson of Philadelphia supplied Washington with 18 walnut camp stools as part of a large order, including his tentage, in 1776. Duplicated from original in the Smithsonian.
George Washington’s folding field bedstead in walnut wood, with hand sewn hemp canvas foundation, interpreted from multiple researched sources including observation of the original at Mt. Vernon.

Shaving Box used by George Washington that carried seven daily straight razors in mahogany wood, silk lined. Duplicated from original in Mt. Vernon.

The FINAL HEADQUARTERS: ROCKINGHAM project by the LIVING HISTORY SHOP, 2006, installed at Rockingham in Kingston New Jersey, was made possible by the Public Buildings Arts Inclusion Act of 1978. The Arts Inclusion program is administered by the NEW JERSEY STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS. Funding for this project was provided by the NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION and administered by the NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF PROPERTY MANAGEMENT & CONSTRUCTION.

 

Organizations:

Rockingham Historic Site 
Smithsonian 
Mt. Vernon

Artisans:

Carl Giordano, Tinsmith
Steve & Katie Freede, The Trunk Shoppe 
Jeff Miller, Flintlock Forge
John Pierce & Dave Byerly, P&B Glassworks
Frank Willis
Tricia & Rick Toone, Fine Art & Photography
 

 

18TH CENTURY FOLDING BEDSTEAD

18th century design folding bedstead with bedding (tic) contained in a hide covered trunk. The idea to build this piece came from reinactor Jose Lopez Reyes who saw an original in a museum in Madrid, Spain.

George Washington had one that is now at The Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan. This one utilizes a wooden frame, however, Washington’s frame was metal.

The bed measures 32 inches wide by 73 inches long. Heavy linen sailcloth laced with hemp cordage provided by Frank Rodrigues. All hardware is hand forged period correct, blacksmithed by Jeff Miller. More than 500 cast brass nails (tacks) secure and decorate the oiled goat raw hide covering. These are the same tacks used Steve Freede of The Trunk Shoppe. The case is lined with green wool baize and fully finished.

This unique piece was shown  at the Pennsylvania Fine Folk Art and Arms Show, October 28, 29, 2011 at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Display at the Pennsylvania Fine Folk Art & Arms Show

 

Bedstead set up with curtains in raised position to provide more breeze.

 

View of interior space at six foot one length and spacious thirty-two inches wide and double-layer custom mattress.

DELAWARE VALLEY MID-18TH CENTURY SAWBUCK TABLE

Delaware Valley mid-18th Century Sawbuck Table with Windsor Green painted legs using Rockler authentic color. Shown also is a correct pine plank bench with split off tapered oak legs that easily knock out for storage/traveling.

• Standard 1” thick 48” X 32” top shown on table — $330
• 48” long Bench — $90

With two benches you have comfortable seating for four people

BATTEN (BREAD) BOARD EDGE

Solid wood swells with humidity and shrinks across the grain when dry. This movement of the wood produces cracks if the wide wooden top of a table is secured to the finishing end board (bread board attached to hide end grain) and the batten attached under the top to provide additional strength by multiple fasteners.

Some early furniture builders solved this problem by making the joint that attaches the bread board end and the batten by a long “dovetail” joint. The batten or bread board is kept from sliding off the top by a single peg into the the table top and now the expansion/contraction takes place at will with no constraint. A 30” wide pine top will contract nearly 1/2 inch from my New Jersey summer shop weather to California or Arizona dryness on even in a heated house in the winter.

You can see this dovetail joint in the picture as well as the pin that secures the stretcher between the “X” legs of my Saw Buck table.

SCALE HOUSE MODEL

One of the interesting projects we’ve done just for fun has been to create an accurate scale model of our farm house, circa. 1840’s. The core of the house was built in about 1740, but it was extensively added to and remodeled throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Scale: 1″ = 1′

In the photo below, Regina Toone looks over her finished roofing project which required application of over 3,000 cedar roof shingles. The model is designed to disassemble for easy access to the fully finished — and furnished — interior.

R & R TOONE | FIELD EQUIPAGE

Have a look at my museum-quality reproduction travel furnishings from 1740-1790. Including folding beds, chests, tables, chairs, wheelbarrows and all manner of accessories. I have been dedicated to meeting the needs of museums, historical sites, and officers in the field.

I will be attending some history venues and demonstrating horn making on the spring pole lathe.

PORTRAITS

NAVportraits

Please call with your questions or orders. We enjoy complex or challenging research and build opportunities.

Richard & Regina Toone
18 Tower Drive
Columbus, NJ 08022
PHONE (609) 261-3415

EMAIL