Another example of the standardization of parts for craftsmen's products within their own shops is the patterns that cabinetmakers used for various sections of furniture. One of the most exciting finds in the Dominy Tool Collection is a group of patterns for some of the furniture produced in their shop at East Hampton.
Bracket Feet, Cresting Rail, Clockcase and Looking Glass Crestings, and Slat Patterns
The list of different kinds of wood used to make the Dominys' furniture patterns gives an almost complete cross section of the "stuff" they used for woodworking. Whenever a pattern was needed, they apparently chose a scrap of whatever wood was available in a size large enough to complete the template.
Candlestand and Tea-Table Leg Patterns
Between 1790 and 1830, Nathaniel V made an average of about two stands each year in the woodworking shop. These patterns helped him to make legs for the tripod bases of these stands The number of surviving wood patterns used by American cabinetmakers is fairly small. Their use was widespread, however. An inventory, taken in 1763, of the estate of William Larkin, who lived at Bethel, Chester County, Pennsylvania, listed "Wood prepared for tools, patterns, Molds &c." They were valued at 17 shillings 6 pence.143
Armrest patterns were used on chairs made by Nathaniel Dominy V. After traced, the pattern for a corner chair (1957.0026.309) makes only half of the curved arm and must be reversed to trace the other half, used with another pattern which produced the curved cresting rail that sits on top of the armrest and helps to join both sections.
Wheel Rim or Felloe Patterns
Just as the rim of the wheel used to turn a lathe in the Dominy woodworking shop was made of a series of felloes mortised and tenoned together, so, too, were wheels for vehicles or for spinning fibers.145 The patterns, or templates, illustrated here enabled the Dominys to produce wheels of standard diameter and circumference without a complete set of new measurements for each operation.
Cresting Rail and Splat Patterns
The four patterns for splats in this illustration are quite obvious. The first (57.26.465) was traced on the stock that Nathaniel V cut for the splat of his fiddleback chairs. The left side would be traced and then the template flipped over to trace the right side. The second (57.26.321) is a profile for a cresting rail, used in a horizontal position with the hole at the left. After being flipped over, it would provide the outline for shaping a Cupid's-bow cresting rail, an innovation of the Chippendale period in colonial America. A number of chairs made by the Dominys with this type of cresting have survived.