Look Ma, I taught the Ivy League-ers

Remember the Dutch planes I showed you a while back? https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/some-dutch-planes/

skewed mouth smooth plane
skewed mouth smooth plane

I deliberately omitted their whereabouts, but it turns out I was just being skittish. They are part of the collection at the Yale University Furniture Study.

A week or two ago, I spent a day with Ned Cooke, professor of American Decorative Arts at Yale University. Ned & I met back when I first stalked the halls of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts studying 17th-century furniture. Ned was a curator there along with Jonathan Fairbanks, both of whom gave me quite an education by letting me study the artifacts in detail. So we flash forward a couple of decades, and Ned invited me down to show his first-year students some of my ideas about joinery tools, techniques, decoration, etc.

It was quick – 75 minutes, but many of them got to split some oak, try their hand at planing and we did some assembly of a joined chest front that I brought along.

All of this took place at the Furniture Study. Their collection is excellent; and the study itself is a great place to see first-hand numerous examples of period American furniture; not just “my” period but all those others too…

For the bench fiends, take a look at this one – belonged to the cabinetmaker who worked on the Garvan collection when it was  Mr. Garvan’s.


Here are some detail shots I took there several years back – students who have taken carving classes with me will recognize some of these…first is the basic S-scroll from Guilford/New Haven – the Furniture Study has 2 large cupboards sitting side-by-side for a crash course in furniture of the New Haven Colony…

S scroll

One drawer has a mistake in the layout & cutting of the scrolls across the front. still holds linen…


a nice example of a cupboard door lock. Hardly ever find these surviving on 17th-century work.


On the top rail of this cupboard door is a compass-marked circle – was it intended to be carved, then that idea ditched?

cupboard door

Here you can see inside the cupboard, showing the front-to-back floorboards in oak.

cupboard inside


Nice simple drawer back. Essentially a riven clapboard.


drawer back

The front of one of the drawers.

drawer fronts

So if you are going to be down in the wilds of New Haven, CT try to make arrangements to see what they have in the furniture study. Here”s their website, scroll to the bottom of the page for details on their weekly free tours and information about making appointments. Take the tour, then you can see what you’d like to study in detail…





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