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private collection

Founding Fathers Writing Desk

A few years ago I was invited to participate in a unique exhibition. A company in Virginia had been collecting timbers from historic estates and plantations. Mount Vernon, Monticello, Montpelier, etc.

About a dozen woodworkers were asked to make something from some of the wood. I chose to do a writing table with a trompe l’oeil marquetry top. A quill pen, paper, and sentence from the Declaration of Independence, an envelope, glasses, and keys. There were about fifteen species of wood from Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Henry, and Monroe’s homes. I was able to use small pieces sawn into veneers for the picture.

I had a piece of horse chestnut that was one of thirteen trees that Washington planted in Fredericksburg to shade the walk from his sister’s and mother’s homes. This was wood from the last tree that finally succumbed after more than 200 years. I had to plan how to saw the wood to get enough to cover the top. It had unique color and figure and was dark enough to allow the objects on top to stand out.

The frame of the desk was walnut that came from the Mount Vernon whiskey distillery. I was pleased to be part of the recycling.

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