By Jennie Alexander & Peter Follansbee
When it comes to exploring the shadowy history of how 17th-century furniture was built, few people have been as dogged and persistent as Jennie Alexander and Peter Follansbee.
For more than two decades, this unlikely pair – an attorney in Baltimore and a joiner at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts – have pieced together how this early furniture was constructed using a handful of written sources, the tool marks on surviving examples and endless experimentation in their workshops.
The result of their labor is the new Lost Art Press book “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree: An Introduction to 17th-century Joinery.” This book starts in the woodlot, wedging open a piece of green oak, and it ends in the shop with mixing your own paint using pigment and linseed oil. It’s an almost-breathtaking journey because it covers aspects of the craft that most modern woodworkers would never consider. And yet Alexander and Follansbee cover every detail of construction with such clarity that even beginning woodworkers will have the confidence to build a joint stool, an iconic piece of furniture from the 17th century.