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A Woodworking Boone…

August 1, 2017

Walnut doors and the middling human

Almost all of the doors at the Daniel Boone Home are walnut, milled on-site.

Not far from our farm in Femme Osage, Missouri, is a national historic landmark – the residence of Daniel Boone. When I was little, my mom would take me to see it periodically. The middling human has been there several times now, as well. Even as a kid, I remember gawking at the wood floors and doors and built-in cabinetry, all made using local Missouri black walnut. I suppose even then I had an appreciation for the wood.

Staked Bench

Staked Bench – maybe not period? But of the period. And still cool…

The DBH has changed ownership several times over the years. In 2016, it was gifted to St. Charles County by the then-owners, Lindenwood University. It has also grown a lot over the years. In addition to adding an entire village of buildings, including a blacksmith shop, a general store, several homes of varying sizes, a church, a pottery shop, and a wood shop, it now boasts a large and modern pavilion and a properly supplied gift shop.

Something the County started doing that interested me greatly was the addition of monthly artisan events to their event calendars. On any given month, one of the various shops or artisans would be open and available to demonstrate skills or answer questions from visitors.

Pottery Event 03

Middling Human learning about pottery on a kick wheel from Matt Brennecke.

A friend of mine, Matt Brennecke of 33&Burning Tree Studios, is one of the volunteer potters, so I took the middling human along with me during the pottery artisan event. He was pretty excited that got to use a kickwheel, under the supervision of a potter, and get dirty with clay. He has expressed an interest, so he might be getting lessons at some point.

Pottery Event 04

It’s a lot harder than it looks!

We had a good time there, but what I was really looking forward to was the woodworking artisan day, which was scheduled for late June! I was itching to see the inside of the woodshop and get a chance to talk shop with some more handtool woodworkers.

Woodshop 01

The woodshop at the Daniel Boone Home.

So you can imagine my surprise when I showed up for the woodshop artisan day and found a guy setting up a powered scroll saw! He apologized and said he was a fill-in because the normal volunteers couldn’t make it. We still had a fairly pleasant conversation, but I really wanted to visit with someone who was intimate with hand tool woodworking.

Chatting with my mom later that day, I started complaining about the lack of hand tool woodworkers participating in that event. After a minute, I realized what I needed to do was put my shavings where my mouth was. So I contacted the person in charge of volunteers and told her I wanted in.

We met a few weeks later and discussed the opportunity. I showed her some of my work and discussed my woodworking experience and skill level. And I got approval to be one of the volunteers!

So… on top of the other things I have on my plate, I’ve added “Volunteer Woodworker At The Historic Daniel Boone Home” to the list. My goal is to get into the shop there at least one 8-hour day per month. I think that is do-able. Now I just need to figure out a few things I can make while I’m there! I have some items in mind, but I was also planning on walking through the various buildings on-site to see if there are any period pieces from which I might draw inspiration.

One of the benefits of volunteering there as a hand-tool woodworker is that I get permanent venue in the gift shop for things I make and can likewise sell stuff out of the woodshop when I’m down there working. It was a completely unexpected bonus, but I won’t say no to the opportunity! Time to get business cards made up, as well, I think…

Stay tuned for updates on my volunteer work there in the future. Once I have a schedule and a plan worked out, I’ll be posting times when I will be in the shop working. Anyone in the St. Louis area (or visiting) is welcome to stop by for a visit!

Woodshop 02

Interior of the woodshop

Woodshop 03

There IS a Roubo-style bench! It’s a little tall, but usable.

Woodshop 04

It has a nice leg vise, too!

Woodshop 05

There is a treadle lathe available, but it needs some fine tuning…

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2017 10:53 am

    There used to be a winery nearby that made excellent port. You should check if it is still around.


    • August 1, 2017 11:29 am

      Ha! I need MOAR tawny port!!!


      • August 1, 2017 11:49 am

        Mount Pleasant Winery used to make a nice one. My grandmother lived in WashMo so I used to stop and pick some up when I visited. (Been almost 10 years since I was last there)


      • August 1, 2017 1:25 pm

        Ha! Oops! I thought maybe I’d already mentioned something about that and you were just bringing it up again, Alex, because I was just at Mt. Pleasant a few weeks ago and drank a bit of the Tawney Port. It was so delicious I need to get more! I was there for a work anniversary dinner my company had (I’ve been at my company for 16 years now, though that was my 15 year celebration). It was an open bar, which was a great opportunity to try some of the various wines.

        I grew up just 20 minutes from Augusta, so I’ve been going there most of my life. I’ve been drinking Mt. Pleasant wine since I was… er… 21.

        And I used to work at Montelle Winery when I was in college.

        And one of our family farms is just 5 miles from the Daniel Boone Home.

        So I’m quite familiar with the area.


      • August 1, 2017 1:55 pm

        Ha. Glad to hear it’s still good


      • August 1, 2017 11:50 am

        Mount pleasant estates


  2. August 6, 2017 4:39 pm

    Congratulations Ethan, what a wonderful opportunity! I’m very much looking forward to seeing what you decide to do in this space..


  3. November 10, 2017 10:57 pm

    Check your PMs on the forum… 🙂


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