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Duncan Phyfe’s Tool Chest (419)

This is a very famous set of tools. The tools and chest belonged to Duncan Phyfe, one of New Yorks most important cabinet makers between 1790 and 1854. Phyfe was born in Scotland, came to America as a teenager, learned to work with wood, and had a thriving business for four decades. At one time he employed 100 workers. Phyfe built this tool chest, a simple yet beautiful pine box, and amassed this collection of almost 300 woodworking tools for carving, veneering, and inlaying furniture. It includes 60 planes and a variety of chisels, gouges, templates, and squares all in pristine condition. You dont have to be a carpenter to appreciate the collection, especially the beautiful handles that he crafted out of mahogany, rosewood, and ebony. Note especially the saw handles mounted in the top of the chest. You may be curious about the small white envelope tied with string inside the box. The handwriting on the envelope tells the story. It says: Mothers hair, taken off the morning she died, August 24, 1899, and it marks the the death of Julia Matilda Pinkney, Phyfes daughter-in-law.

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