Colonial Williamsburg

20th Annual Working Wood in the 18th Century Conference Examines Period Tools, Shops

Highlights include presentations by keynote speaker Roy Underhill of PBS’ The Woodwright’s Shop and members of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades staff

Williamsburg, Va. (Dec. 19, 2017) – Colonial Williamsburg’s Working Wood in the 18th Century Conference convenes for its 20th year Jan. 25-28, 2018 with a multiday look at the “Workmanship of Risk: Exploring Tools and Shops,” featuring presentations by keynote speaker Roy Underhill of PBS’s The Woodwright’s Shop.Sponsors of the 2018 conference include Fine Woodworking Magazine, the Society of American Period Furniture Makers and the Early American Industries Association.Underhill, also a teacher at The Woodwright’s School in Graham, North Carolina kicks off the conference with a discussion on hand tool use from the period to the present. Joiner, carver and author Peter Follansbee offers a pair of presentations on 17th-century joined and carved furniture and ladder back chairs while conservator and author Donald Williams speaks on tools and fixtures drawn from his work with Roubo’s treatise. He also offers a talk on period finishing materials and methods.Furniture maker and teacher W. Patrick Edwards demonstrates historic French marquetry techniques and equipment and explores an elaborately decorative 1790s English tool chest lid, while Colonial Williamsburg Master Cabinetmaker Kaare Loftheim and journeymen Bill Pavlak, and Brian Weldy will design and build chests to accompany the item and discuss variations in 18th-century case and drawer construction.

Other sessions include a joint presentation by tool historian Jane Rees and Erik Goldstein, Colonial Williamsburg senior curator of mechanical arts and numismatics, as well as: demonstrations and discussions with Colonial Williamsburg Master Blacksmith and Senior Master of Historic Trades Ken Schwarz on making tools for the Foundation’s trade shops; a presentation on Colonial Williamsburg’s newly constructed carpenter’s yard and saw house with Master Carpenter Garland Wood; and a look at the foundation’s newly acquired collection of 18th century planes from the Massachusetts shops of the Nicholsons and Cesar Chelor – this country’s first tool making dynasty – with Colonial Williamsburg Master Joiner Ted Boscana and his shop staff. Other event highlights include a tool swap and woodworking showcase.

Conference registration is available online or by calling 800-603-0948 toll-free, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. eastern time. The registration fee for the full program is $375 per person. And includes the opening reception, three continental breakfasts, five coffee breaks, conference reception and banquet, presentations proposed in this program, and a Colonial Williamsburg admission pass.

Special rates are available at the Colonial Williamsburg Hotels for conference registrants. Mention the conference, or use booking code 38188 to obtain the discounted rates. Confirm your reservation by calling 800-261-9530, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. eastern time.

Additional information about Colonial Williamsburg  is available online at, by calling 855-296-6627 toll-free, by downloading the free Colonial Williamsburg Explorer app via the Apple App Store and Google Play, and by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.