Old Sturbridge Village raises frame on new cabinetmaking shop

Workers raise the frame for a new Cabinetmaking Shop at Old Sturbridge Village, a historic interpretive village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Sturbridge, MA – Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) raised the frame on a new cabinetmaking shop on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. This new structure is the first addition in over 50 years to the Village’s Common and will be located south of the Meeting House.

The Village has employed both historic and modern building methods in the construction of the Cabinetmaking Shop, which is patterned after period structures operated by early 19th century New England craftsmen. The building will include a wood-burning stove, as did many free-standing shops of the period, and a small external woodshed, based on George Bradley’s shop in Newtown, Connecticut. Sturbridge and the region were home to some of the foremost cabinetmakers of the early 19th century, including Nathan Lumbard and Oliver Wight. These individuals, as well as others like them, were integral parts of the story of rural communities.

"The story of cabinetmaking in rural New England deserves to be told," said Brock Jobe, Old Sturbridge Village Trustee and Professor Emeritus of American Decorative Arts at the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library. "And most importantly, the hundreds and thousands of visitors who come to Old Sturbridge Village every year deserve the opportunity to see, hear, and touch an activity that was central to life in America for centuries – the fine craft of woodworking.”

Costumed interpreters will construct the shop during the days that the Village is open; Campus Operations staff will continue the work on days when Old Sturbridge Village is closed. Many elements of the final Cabinetmaking Shop will be created by craftsmen and interpretive staff working in the Village, including reproduction period tools, doors, shelves, and the box stove. The large timbers for the construction of the shop were also cut by the Village Sawmill. Old Sturbridge Village plans to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Cabinetmaking Shop in the fall.

“We are excited for the opportunity to share the process of the cabinetmaking shop construction with our visitors,” said President and CEO, Jim Donahue. “We look forward to the completion of the new building and bringing back this historic trade to Old Sturbridge Village for many generations to come.”

View a full time-lapse of the shop raising below.



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William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.