Wood you have ever guessed?

“Wood” you have ever guessed that carpenters built Crucial Coffee Cafe by hand? The Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board employed traditional woodworking skills on the wood frame structure fifty years ago. They based the reconstruction on a blacksmith shop from the late 1700s. The project aimed to exemplify the craftsmanship of both colonial and contemporary carpenters.

Finishing construction of the blacksmith shop in 1967. (UFDC)
George Washington (left) and Sam Rowe (right) operating a two-man saw in 1967. (UFDC)

Throughout the project, the construction crew did not use modern tools or conveniences. They chopped down pine trees using broad axes and foot adz. The blacksmith A.H. “Coco” Mickler forged the hardware for the building. The carpenters used no power tools. Instead, they employed tools, such as chisels and files like the ones bellow.

Chisels and files used by Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board’s carpenters.

“No power tools are being used,” construction superintendent Robert Steinbach said. “We don’t change the character of the material that way.”

“Old Carpentry Skills Used in Restoration Project” by Anne Carling in The St. Augustine Record, Nov. 18-19, 1967 (UFDC)
Carpenter Horace Reyes prepares a log joint in 1967. (UFDC)

The interior of the completed blacksmith shop remained exposed to allow visitors to view the construction process. So next time you walk Charlotte Street see if you can spot the unique marks left behind by the carpenters.

One thought on “Wood you have ever guessed?

  1. Pingback: Colonial Craft in St. Augustine – Governor's House Library

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