Tools of the Trades
by J. Hunter Barbour
Photographer Dave Doody
For those who could afford bindings, the bookbinder plied these tools to work the leather and apply gold leaf decoration.
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation tradespeople make their wares by hand, hands that hold tools, eighteenth-century style tools. Gauges, tongs, punches, needles, ladles, hammers, ink balls, knives, stamps, saws, awls, bits, rules, hooks, compasses, chisels, spoke shaves, lasts, blockheads, gouges, shuttles, planes, clamps, squares, —examples of tools taken up each day by the cabinetmakers, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, silversmiths, cordwainers, wigmakers, printers, apothecaries, binders, coopers, weavers, cooks, carpenters, and others who pursue traditional crafts at Historic Area sites. Fashioned to replicate the functions and appearances of instruments used by colonial artisans, they often are, in their arrangements in the shops and stores where they are used and must be ready to hand, as interesting, and sometimes as handsome, as the furniture, cloth, houses, books, shoes, rifles, hardware, food, and fashions they, among other things, are used to reproduce. As you can see for yourself in these pages.
—J. Hunter Barbour
With a blockhead for every noggin, large and small, male and female, the wigmaker fashioned wigs for all occasions and clients.
The silversmith’s hammers and stakes. The high polish on the stakes was needed to produce a flawless finish.
Tools of the Trades Slideshow