Forest, VA - Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest will host Woodworker Guild craftsman, Patrick Williams, Saturday, June 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Williams will demonstrate the Jefferson-era techniques he uses for hand-cutting dovetails to make the small rectangular and octagonal boxes he crafts from historic poplar wood from Jefferson's retreat.

To create the unique boxes he crafts for the Poplar Forest Museum Shop, Williams uses small pieces of wood rescued from the restoration process at the house itself or from decaying historic trees.  When a  few of the tulip poplars that were standing at Poplar Forest during Jefferson's time became structurally unsound and could not be preserved, small parts of the decayed trees were salvaged for use in handcrafting objects, that are unique in their historic value.  All products made from the historic Poplar Forest wood are signed by the artisan and include a certificate of authenticity.

Williams is a professional engineer at AREVA.  His fascination with woodworking began as a hobby. Through books, catalogues and trial-and-error, he was able to teach himself the skills needed for quality woodworking.  Later in 2008, he joined the Central Virginia Woodworker's Guild, where he and other fellow Guild members are able to share their knowledge and skills. 

"I started making small boxes two years ago, and recently learned the technique of hand-cut dovetails, both of which are well suited together.  I've always been intrigued by small wooden boxes, and consider them to have a lot of charm and practical use for people of all ages.  I also enjoy designing and building special jigs and fixtures needed to construct boxes and other woodcraft items."

On Saturday, Williams will share with visitors his knowledge of how to hand-cut wooden dovetail joints and will also demonstrate how to create and use "jigs," devices that help the handcrafter create objects from wood.

You're invited! Don't miss these other events at Poplar Forest this summer!

Independence Day Celebration | July 4

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Musical performances, dancing, historical entertainment, games, storytelling and the reading of the Declaration of Independence at 1:30 p.m. Adults, $5.00, under 16 free.  Day-of house tours, $9.00.

Summer Kid's Camp in Archaeology, History and Restoration | July 11-15

8 a.m. to noon. Day camp for rising 4th and 5th graders.  During this week-long summer day camp, students will get to examine the evidence of the past, discovering through documents and artifacts how Jefferson's octagonal retreat home was built and the grounds laid out.

Teacher Open House | August 2

9:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Program to introduce teachers to the array of student programs available. Earn recertification points!  Free.

About Poplar Forest

Poplar Forest is Thomas Jefferson's secluded plantation and retreat home. Poplar Forest is a National Historic Landmark that was recently added to the U.S. nomination list to become a World Heritage Site. Exhibiting award-winning restoration and archaeology, Poplar Forest offers tours, special events and school outreach programs. Open daily March 15 through December15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day. For more information about Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, call (434) 525-1806 or visit