The Tinsmith Shop Frame is Up!

Under leaden skies and whipped by a fierce December wind, our intrepid Historic Building Trades crew raised the frame of the Tinsmith Shop last Friday.  If holiday activities drew you away from webcam coverage of the event, here’s a taste of how it happened. Click on images to enlarge .


  1. Meredith Poole says

    It looks lovely…and refreshingly dry. You might get some takers, despite the bracing temperatures! In the near term, your “duck” icon is appropriate to our local weather. Thanks for watching our for us!

  2. Ed Glaser says

    Oh my goodness, how many days has it been raining down there, it looks like it’s been a week! Weren’t they finishing the roof in the rain last Friday?

  3. Anton Pecha says

    Hi Garland,

    I was watching the webcam during the installation of the tinshop roof shingles. What was put between the skip sheathing and the shingles? Was it tarpaper or breathable fabric? I would not think anything would be required, thus the reason to use skip sheathing instead of modern plywood or solid planking.

    • Garland Wood says

      Anton – It is tarpaper, nine inches wide, set in between layers of shingles. We have used it on several wood roofs in the Historic Area to add to the longevity of the shingles. We will know in about 25 years whether it helps or hurts the roof…

      • Chuck Trefz says

        It’s so nice to watch the progress at the tin shop. I can’t wait to see it first hand.

        As to the tar paper, I thought the slatted sheathing boards were spaced to allow the wood shingles to breath and dry on both sides. Won’t the tarpaper trap moisture on the attic side?

  4. Mike Lynch says

    Hey Garland,

    I missed watching the raising; but the photos and video are very helpfull. I have a question about the lot and water flow. You may recall that as the Smithy and kitchen were being raised, questions surfaced regarding the water flow from the roofs into the small space between the buildings. As I look today at the roofing being set on the tin shop, I wondered if the drainage between the two buildings was designed for all that water that could flow off both roofs concurrently in a major downpour? Sorry we missed you during our Tahnksgiving visit.

    • Garland Wood says

      Mike – we have put in a lead gutter between the two roofs that will carry the water southwards to the back of the tinsmith shop…the tinsmith shop roof is almost done, it’s raining, so we should be able to put it to the test. A major downpour? We will have to see…

  5. says

    I should also add that the tube has not yet been bored out. We won’t know for sure if the casting was a “complete” success until it is bored and we can see what it looks like on the inside. The cannon project blog has images of the casting, including some of the porosity near the muzzle, which pretty much show the current state of the barrel. Those images can be found here:

  6. says

    Margaret: The cannon casting appears to have been successful. There is some porosity (cavities caused by trapped gasses) near the muzzle end of the gun, but the breech end (The “business end” from a firing standpoint) looks good so far. The casting is currently available for viewing at the Anderson Armory site just to the left of the new Anderson Kitchen.

  7. Margaret says

    a complete change of subject. I haven’t seen any report about the cannon that was poured in the fall. We happened to be able to watch the pour and it “sounded” like it worked.

  8. Kerry Lancaster says

    Thank you Ken and I see your point about signing their work.
    I think I made mention before a set of kitchen tools I have was made in CW one of which is marked J Allgood. I know you know him well and that is why I prize it so much. A good friend of mine who lives in CW gave me a Penney knife when I took part in the battle of York Town in 82. It is marked GW on the blade.It is a reproduction. Would that stand for George Wilson? When I make tinwork for friends they always ask me to sign the piece for which I am honored.Thank you as always

  9. Kerry Lancaster says

    I watched every minute when the walls went up for the tin shop.I wish I had been there to hear Ken tell the story.
    I was just wondering if the craftsman get to sign their work and was this a common practice in the 18th century?
    thank you

    • Kenneth Schwarz says

      Kerry- Glad that you were able to see the frame raising, sorry that you were not able to join us.

      Regarding marking work- it is pretty unusual to find maker’s marks on eighteenth century English ironwork, but I do see it on occasion. It would be terrific if we could identify makers for many objects in our collection, or objects retrieved by the archaeology crew, but for the most part ironwork is unmarked. We have but a single object marked with a Williamsburg blacksmith’s name at this point- a hinge made by William Geddy which is marked “W Geddy”.

      Because it is unusual to find marked ironwork, we deliberately mark our work with an abbreviation for “Williamsburg” and the year that it was made. For any knowledgeable collector the markings would draw suspicion if they were represented as an early piece, and even for the casual collector, a piece marked “2012” should raise questions about a suspected early origin.

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