Last Saturday and Sunday, I was doing Windsor chair making demonstrations at the Historic Fort Meigs War of 1812 site located in Perrysburg, OH. Specifically, I was demonstrating how early chair makers would have used a lathe that was foot powered. I was there along with many other costumed re-enactors for the Early Life in Ohio event which is an annual event at the fort. I enjoy using the lathe and particularly the fascination folks have in seeing it and pondering how that technology supplied quality turnings. That wasn’t because my turnings were poor quality, but that it took a bit longer to remove unneeded wood. My lathe was a reproduction of the Hulot lathe of 1775 vintage that I built using Roy Underhill’s books. I was blessed to see several of my parishioners from St. Paul, to talk with visitors to the fort and to mingle with the rest of the re-enactors.
On Sunday morning the site was visited by Alexis Means of Channel 13 abcnews of Toledo. If you click on the “Living History on display at Fort Meigs” shown below you’ll see me on a news clip using a froe and a splitting maul to rive a chair leg part before using it on the lathe. It took more effort in the news clip to split the white oak because the wood was getting dry. Usually, with wet oak it splits much easier.