joined stool frame

joined stool assembly
joined stool assembly


I worked today on the assembly of a joined stool that was part of my presentation at the Colonial Wiliamsburg Antiques Forum earlier this month. Here I am dropping the last section onto the tenons. A bit of knocking it around and it all went together OK.

adjusting joined stool assembly
adjusting joined stool assembly


Then I drove in the oak pins to secure the joinery.

driving the pins
driving the pins


I was thinking about Judge Samuel Sewall (1674-1729) today while I did this assembly. I read parts of his diary some years back, and this stuck:

“Saturday, May 15. (1675) Brother’s house was raised, at the raising of which I was. Two Pins lower Summer.”    [footnote: Throughout the Diary, Sewall records driving nails or wooden pins in buildings under construction. This gesture of good will and voluntary association with the enterprise is traced by H. W. Haynes to Roman and Old Testament sources…]


This is one of those simple notes from the seventeenth century, that brings a whole mini-scenario alive. The general commotion of a house-raising, a crowd gathered around to watch, and the well-respected guest, or well-tolerated anyway…the carpenters saying, “Oh, the Judge is here. Better let him drive one…”


The quote above means he drove two pins in the lower summer beam, i.e. the connecting timber on the first floor. See M. Halsey Thomas, editor, The Diary of Samuel Sewall 1674-1729, 2 volumes, (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1973) p. 11.

4 thoughts on “joined stool frame

  1. Glad you like it, but nope, like everything else I do it’s a copy of a 17th-century example. The pins that fasten the joints go all the way through the stock…in most cases. see the length of the pin I am driving…they are tapered and you hammer them until they stop, or just before they split the leg, whichever comes first.

  2. Drawboring pins are always drivn from the outside of the piece. If out of sight they sometimes project on the inside quite a distance. If the pins are short enough we find their original points. Sometimes out of sight pins are roughly chiseled off. Some seem to be hammered of! I do this often. Get on with it! Out of sight, out of mind. It doesn’t effect the joint. Only Baby Jerome will know and by the time he walks and talks he will probably have forgotten.

  3. Chinnery has a good photo of pegs coming through the backside of a leg in fig. 2:12a. Always nice to see your work.

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