Crafting a Breakfast Table for Windsor Historical Society’s Strong-Howard House:

A Woodworking Demonstration

November 12, 2013       7 PM to 8 PM


Take advantage of a rare chance to hear from and see a master craftsman at work on Tuesday, November 12 at 7 p.m. at Windsor Historical Society. The newly-opened parlor of Windsor Historical Society’s Strong-Howard House contains two beautifully-crafted reproduction breakfast tables made by Doug Smith and Dick Tomkins, students at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. The tables are modeled on a Connecticut Valley example in a private collection. Join their teacher Bob Van Dyke, Founder and Director of the school to find out how they did it. Van Dyke will discuss the breakfast table form in the late 18th century and early 19th century. He will detail the reproduction process from measuring the original table, to pattern making, to class construction. Using sample parts of a breakfast table, Van Dyke will detail the construction process, and using a scroll saw, show how the piercing was done on the table stretchers.

One view will be the two finished breakfast tables, images of breakfast table variations, and some material on the history of breakfast tables including probate inventories and a 1792 cabinetmaker’s price list. Cost for the program is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $4 for Windsor Historical Society members.

Founded in 2000, the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking is located in Manchester, CT. Based on the idea of “learning by doing,” the school provides a wide range of hands-on woodworking classes for men and women of all skill levels. Classes are conducted in a variety of formats to suit the unique needs of our students. They include one or two day weekend classes, series classes that meet one or two nights per week for 4 to 12 weeks, week-long intensive classes and more. The school teaches the effective use of hand tools and gives an equal measure of attention to machine tools. Visit for more information. Bob Van Dyke’s writings have been featured in Fine Woodworking Magazine and Woodshop News and he has done a number of videos for

Over 100 individuals, businesses, and granting agencies have helped make Phase 1 of the restoration and reinterpretation of the Strong-Howard House possible including Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Connecticut Humanities, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Greater Hartford Arts Council, Becky and Paul Hendricks, Konica Minolta, Kate and Hugh McLean, Lu and Mike Rabbett, Town of Windsor, Windsor Federal Savings, and the 1772 Foundation. Over $500,000 has been raised with $250,000 more needed to complete phase 2 and phase 3 of the project. Contact Christine Ermenc, Executive Director at the Society at 860-688-3813 x. 101 or for more information or to join our growing ranks of supporters. Gifts of all amounts will be acknowledged with gratitude. The project will progress over the next two years with full completion expected by the end of 2015.


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