0904 Joiners Shop Img_23771

0904 Joiners Shop Img_23771

0904 Joiners Shop Img_23771

23771 “Joiner’s shop” sign Monticello – Home of Thomas Jefferson, 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, Charlottesville City, VA. May 14, 2019. Decimal Degrees: 38.004422, -78.455195

“Joiner’s shop”

“Jefferson’s Elaborate design for Monticello could not have been achieved without the superior craftsmanship of hired free and enslaved woodworkers working closely together. Joiners, the most skilled, produced Monticello’s classically inspired woodwork as well as furniture. What Jefferson called a ‘joiner’s shop’ provided work space for these craftsmen and their many valuable tools. After the main house was mostly finished, the hired white joiners departed and enslaved joiners succeeded them. John Hemmings and other enslaved joiners made furniture for Monticello as well as for Jefferson retreat at Poplar Forest. Like other wood structures on Mulberry Row, the ‘joiner’s shop’ fell into ruin after Jefferson’s death in 1826.”

“Free Joiners”

“Skilled joiners were hard to find. Of the 18 free woodworkers Jefferson hired between 1770 and 1823, only five were joiners. Jefferson brought recent Irish immigrants James Dinsmore and John Neilson from Philadelphia – they proved to be the most talented of the hired joiners. At Monticello, the trained enslaved craftsmen and together made most of the woodwork in the house. Dinsmore and Neilson, with other carpenters and masons who worked at Monticello or the University of Virginia, went on to build some of the region’s finest houses and public buildings.”

“Enslaved Joiners”

“Jefferson identified seven of his enslaved workers as carpenters. Besides their work on the house, they carried out much of the construction across the plantation – building fences and small log structures, splitting rails, and making shingles. John Hemmings and Lewis (last name unknown) became accomplished joiners. Lewis, who specialized in turning wood, produced all 212 neoclassical balusters encircling Monticello’s roof. John Hemmings made furniture, produced the interior woodwork for Poplar Forest, and built the wooden body of Jefferson’s landau carriage.”

Upper middle in brown print:
“a joiner’s shop, 57 feet by 18 feet, the under pinning and chimney of stone, the roof of wood, one story high’ Thomas Jefferson, 1796”

Under upper left sketch:
Jefferson’s ca. 1776 plan for a joiner’s shop, confirmed by archaeological and architectural evidence, informed the digital reconstruction of the ‘joiner’s shop.”

Below lower left ruler:
“Archaeologists found this ruler at the ‘joiner’s shop.’ Woodworking and making furniture require precise measurement, joiners used rules and other measuring devices for their crafts.”

Beneath upper right photograph:
“The Carpenter’s Shop by John Hill, 1813. Early 19th -century carpenter shops were typically large, roughly finished rooms filled with workbenches, planes, hammers, saws, augers, chisels, and other woodworking tools.”

Besides self:
“Dumbwaiters held soiled and clean plates, food, and drink in Jefferson’s dining rooms after he returned from France. The dumbwaiters Jefferson ordered in Philadelphia in the early 1790s, inspired this walnut example attributed to John Hemmings”

Beside lower right baluster:
“Lewis turned this black locust baluster by using the ‘great wheel’ lathe in the ‘joiner’s shop’ around 1808. It was one of hundreds he made for Monticello II.”

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