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Cape Cod Wood, Wood, Everywhere

The early settlers of Cape Cod had to face the fact that they must wrest their living and their shelter from the land itself. From the trees which virtually surrounded them, they were soon hewing, hacking, whittling, shaving, and gouging much of the sturdy equipment that they needed for shelter, furniture, and tools.

Men who knew nothing about kinds of woods and their possibilities became experts in selection. Pine, elm, oak, ash, cedar, walnut, each had its peculiar advantages and disadvantages, and the woodsmen settlers learned, in the hard way, which to use for what.

Pine they found “worked” easily, so from it they got planed boards, as well as pitch or resin. Maple made some of the fine old furniture and was excellent as fuel. Spruce, chestnut, and ash made good pots. Oak made durable and handsome furniture, and also staves in kegs, barrels, and pipes. Walnut went into furniture, gunstocks and ax handles.

There were many other woods of varied uses, such as buttonwood, basswood, beech, alder and larch. It is of interest that the first chimneys were of wood. There were even wooden stoves, for soapstone and iron stoves did not come into use until the early 1800’s.

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Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/28/06
Categories: HistoryNature
Keywords: nature, history


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