Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Photo of the Day: Woodworking Shop, Hancock Shaker Village, MA

I took this photo in late August 2017, while on vacation in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, when I spent an afternoon visiting Hancock Shaker Village. Among the 20 historic buildings left over from the religious community here was its woodworking shop.

Their religion required simplicity—clean lines, utility, and proportion—but did not preclude the community’s resort to innovative technology such as water turbines, and it has proven highly compatible with modern notions of sustainability and responsible land usage.

Massive workbenches served as specialized workbenches and storage spaces for tools. Wide surface areas allowed cabinetmakers to lay out all the parts of a cabinet. Large tool cupboards and smaller portable chests were useful in organizing the rest of the shop space. The products of this shop continue to be valued as the ultimate in beautiful craftsmen-built furniture.

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