I have been asked by The National
Park Service to teach two classes this summer on the art of
making authentic replicas of trenchers, the hollowed boards off
of which people ate for at least a thousand years.
I made a prototype trencher based
on research of trenchers used in early America and on the
frontier as settlers moved westward in the 18th Century.
The prototype I made will be used
at the log cabin raising that will take place at The Davy
Crockett Birthplace State Park, Limestone, Tennessee on March
In preparation for teaching classes
on trencher making, I taught four of The Heritage Shop VIP's how
to make a trencher in 5-6 hours so they can assist me in
teaching novices how to lay out an oval with two nails, a loop
of string, and a pencil and carve the depression.
Then we explored the most
expeditious way to make a depression in a poplar board. Now we
are prepared to instruct woodworking beginners on how to make a
This photo shows how I laid out the oval for
depression in a poplar board.
Large carving gouges were used to rapidly
the wood to form the depression.
This is a photo of my prototype trencher near
The small depression on the upper right of the board is
the salt cellar which was once common in trenchers.
This is a detail of the salt cellar
No sandpaper was used to smooth tool marks.