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USS Constitution and the USS Constitution Museum

USS Constitution and the USS Constitution Museum

Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 22, Charlestown, MA, 02129

The USS Constitution, a three-masted wooden-hulled heavy frigate first launched in 1797 and now the U.S. Ship of State, is currently hoisted out of the water for a restoration slated to completed at the end of 2017. That makes this the perfect time to visit for anyone interested in wooden structures and the shipwright craft. The ship was one of the first six frigates constructed for the U.S. Navy. They were more heavily built and armed than standard frigates of the period. 

The ship, nicknamed Old Ironsides during the war of 1812, is dry docked for renovation about every 20 years. The current work includes replacing the lower hull planking and caulking; removing the 1995 copper sheathing and replacing it with 3,400 sheets of new copper; replacement of select deck beams; and on-going preservation and repair of the ship’s rigging, upper masts, and yards. Members of the crew will be on hand to answer questions about the renovation.

The USS Constitution Museum is located a couple of miles outside of Boston. It’s right next to the ship itself, but is operated separately. The museum has permanent exhibits focusing on maritime life and history as well as changing exhibits. Each year from mid-November to the beginning of January the museum features a show of exquisite miniature model ships.


USS Constitution: Oct. 1-Oct. 31 Tues-Fri. 2:30 pm-5 pm, Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m-5 pm, closed Mondays. Nov. 1-March 13 Thurs.-Fri. 2:30 pm 4 pm, Sat-Sun., 10 am-4 pm, closed Mon.-Weds and closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Museum: April 1-Oct. 31 open daily 9 am- 6 pm, Nov 1-March 31open daily 10 am-5 pm.  Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Fees: USS Constitution free. Museum suggested donation of $5-$10 for adults, $3-5 for children and $20-$25 for families.

Phone: 617-426-1812

Eric Sloane Museum and Kent Iron Furnace

Eric Sloane Museum and Kent Iron Furnace

31 Kent-Cornwall Road (Route 7) Kent,  CT, 06757

Did reading Eric Sloane’s A Reverence for Wood help pique your interest in woodcraft as a youngster? If so you certainly were not alone. Sloane wrote and illustrated more than 30 books about early Americana. The books are short and filled with illustrations that manage to evoke a bygone era while being extremely accurate. As a result, the books continue to fascinate people of all ages. A Reverence for Wood in particular focused on how early woodworkers were intimately aware of the properties of each species of North American wood and how they used their simple but specialized tools to create a huge variety of useful objects.

In addition to being a prolific author, illustrator and painter, Sloan was an avid collector of early American objects, especially hand tools. His extensive collection of tools is housed in this building in eastern Connecticut, a few miles from the New York border. The property, which the Stanley Works  (now Stanley Black & Decker) tool company donated to the state of Connecticut in 1967, is the site of Kent Iron Furnace that produced pig iron for 70 years beginning in 1826.

May 2-Oct. 31, Thurs.-Sun. 10 am-4 pm.

Fees: Adults 18-59 $8, seniors 60 and older $6, college students with ID $6, youth 6-17 $5, children under 6 free.

Hanford Mills Museum

Hanford Mills

51 County Highway 12, East Meredith, NY, 13757

Down below you hear a powerful rush of water as the gate is opened and the 12-ft.-diameter water wheel gradually comes up to speed. A complex system of belt-driven pulleys is engaged, increasing the rpms to the speed needed to run the sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop upstairs. You smell the freshly sawn lumber, but the loud scream of electric or the roar of fossil fuel machines is conspicuously and pleasantly absent—you can actually hear the whirr of the saw blade as the log carriage approaches. A few seconds later, a new board comes off the saw. Efficient, quiet and green--perhaps they were on to something when this mill was built back in 1846. Actually, the mill was a bit less efficient then—the circular saw blade hadn’t been invented yet and a straight saw did the cutting with an up and down motion.

The water-powered mill is at the heart of this early industrial complex consisting of 16 historic buildings on a 70-acre site.  Here you will see demonstrations of early water-powered woodworking machines. Other buildings to explore include a blacksmith shop, a hardware store, a wood-drying shed, an icehouse and a farmhouse.


Hours: Open May 15-Oct. 15, Weds.-Sun. 10 am-5 pm.Last tour begins at 4 pm

Fees: Adults and teens $9, seniors 65 and older $7, National Trust for Historic Preservation members $7, Active and retired military $7, children under 12 free. Admission is free to residents of neighboring zip codes 13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, and 13806.

Phone: 607-278-5744


The Center for Art in Wood

Center for Art in Wood

141 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Feast your eyes and your mind on more than 1000 objects from around the world. Some are functional every-day objects, some are sculptures. Some are made of wood alone, others combine wood with other materials. All are art.

The Center for Art in Wood, located just east of Independence Mall, mounts five exhibitions annually, in addition to its permanent collection and traveling exhibitions.  A recent exhibit, for example, featured the work of five prominent artists who work or worked in wood combined with other materials. The artists included furniture makers Michael Hurwitz and the late George Nakashima, woodturner David Ellsworth, and jewelers Sharon Church and Bruce Medcalf. <ed note this show is Oct. 30, 2015 to Jan 16, 2016.>

The center offers workshops on a wide variety of topics –a recent one was on painting wooden fish decoys. There are also more in-depth woodturning classes.

Hours: Tues.-Sat, 10 am-5 pm, closed Sun. and Mon.

Fees: None

Phone: 215-923-7703


Keim Lumber Company

Keim Lumber Company

4465 St. Rte 557
Charm, OH, 44617

Exotic lumber ranging from a 513-year-old Bubinga slab to poison ivy. Exotic turning blanks and pen blanks. Burls and slabs, even baseball bat blanks. Not to mention virtually any power tool or machine you may have been been scrutinizing in catalogs. It’s all here, at Keim Lumber, along with anything else you’d expect to find at an extremely well-stocked lumberyard.  They even stock one-of-a-kind table bases formed from burls, stumps or branches and they have wood sets for guitar-makers.

Keim is a fourth-generation business that began in 1911 as a rough-lumber mill with four employees. Today it is a 50-acre complex with 700 square feet of retail, office, warehouse and millwork production space. It’s located in Charm Ohio, in Amish Country about 90 miles northwest of  Columbus Ohio. Charm itself is a great place to get a glimpse of Amish life and an opportunity to purchase Amish-made crafts.

Hours: Mon. 7 am-7pm, Tues.-Fri., 7 am- 4:30 pm, Sat. 7:30 am-noon; closed Sunday.

Fee: none

Phone: 888-534-06527


Rebuilding Exchange

Rebuilding Exchange

1740 W. Webster Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614

If you love old stuff, you’ll enjoy poking around this sprawling 25,000-square-foot warehouse in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Woodworkers will be especially interested in the old-growth and new-growth reclaimed lumber, but this huge collection of reclaimed building materials includes just about anything a do-it-yourselfer, remodeler or renovator could imagine or want.  Here are row upon row of doors, windows, cabinets, lighting and plumbing fixtures and appliances of every description and vintage.


Rebuilding Exchange is a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to reclaim building materials and keep them out of landfills by selling the materials directly or making them into their own RX Made line of simple and functional furniture.  They also offer workshops on woodworking with reclaimed materials and they have a job-training program.


Hours: Tues.–Sun. 10 am-6 pm. Closed Mon.

Fees: None to visit, see website for workshops and their fees.

Phone: 773-252-2234

Website: rebuilding


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