This blog changed from a daily blog to a blog to celebrate the folk art of Kerras Jeffery, as well as his reproduction furniture and other projects. His studio & shop closed in 2017 following his passing.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gingerbread Trims

     A large part of the early years of my business involved the making of Gingerbread Trims.  One of the first local newspaper articles about me included much information about the trims I was making.  Here's the article from the spring of 1996 - 
( for easier reading here's the text from the article )
Gingerbread trims, folk art cornerstones of new business
By Eric McCarthy (Western Bureau Manager) 
LAURETTA – Kerras Jeffery was growing tired of seasonal work.  He wanted something that would keep him employed year-round.  His search ended in his own back yard.
            The Lauretta resident had been working at woodcraft as a hobby for three years but this year he is turning his hobby into a business.  Kerras Jeffery Woodworking in Lauretta will hold an open house and official opening celebration on Saturday and Sunday. May 11 and 12, 1996.  But he is not starting from scratch, he already has a special niche in the marketplace.  Jeffery specializes in Victorian Gingerbread trims.  He estimates he has over 500 decorative brackets and approximately 100 gable trims in stock.  Jeffery feels the market for his style of trims is just starting to take off.  With so much emphasis on vinyl siding in recent years, Jeffery feels the trims he has to offer help set one vinyl sided house apart from another.  Customers can leaf through his catalogue of brackets and trims to come up with their own unique design combination.  Then he takes over, cutting out the patterns and installing he trims, likely within a week of taking the order.  While many of the brackets and trims he stocks were found in catalogue designs, Jeffery has created some unique patterns of his sown and they are part of his shop’s selection.
            Jeffery has been doing woodcraft as a hobby for three years.  He worked out of his basement for one year and then put up a shop in his back yard.  This year he has added a craft shop in which he stocks more of his unique creations, including decorated driftwood, shelving, pioneer goose decoys, pioneer fork and rake, and such wood carvings as double-headed pigs, King Tut mask, ducks, and, guarding his back year, a bear carving.  Other unique gift ideas include stools made out of tree stumps and pioneer furniture.  It’s not your ordinary craft shop, Jeffery’s points out; in many cases customers will find crafts not available elsewhere.
            In the craft shop, customers can also view Heritage house plans, available through his brother, and, when entering the shop, they can check out one of this custom made screen doors.  Yes, screen doors are another of Jeffery’s specialities. Like the house trims, customers can choose the brackets and the spindles they want to decorate their custom door, like the trims, the combinations are almost endless.  Other products available at the Lauretta woodworking shop include lawn and business signs, patio rails and post knobs and verandah and deck trims.  He even builds window boxes and gazebos.  Jeffery’s wood of choice is cedar because of its long-lasting qualities.
            It was the gingerbreads that got Jeffery going in the business.  He took his first set to a local building supplies store and the business just took off from there.  His trims can even be found on a house in Toronto.  Tools of the business include a band saw, scroll saw, table saw, drill press, thickness planers and carving tools.  To introduce potential customers to his new business Jeffery will host an Open House from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12.  His normal shop hours will be 11a.m. to 6 p.m. His work day is longer than that though, as mornings and evenings will often involve installation work.
     I have gingerbread brackets and gable trims all over the walls of my workshop for people to see first-hand.  Here are a few recent photos of my walls and the trims. 
     One of the early trimming projects I had the privilege of doing was the Bideford Parsonage House - the following is a photo from their website
     The restored trimmings I made for this house included: running gable gingerbread trims; peak pinnacles; verandah eave and post trimmings.
     Below:  over the years the Bideford Parsonage House had all its trims removed -see image below from 
     This is what the house looked like before I did the trimwork.
     Below: I didn't have alot to go on to re-create the trims for the parsonage house, however, the image below of the house is from the 1880 Meecham's Atlas of PEI was a great help.
     My brother Carter prepared a booklet of the trims I have for offer -  this was done years ago in the days before computer-aided drafting (CAD) - all his drawings here below were hand-drawn with pen and ink.
 As you can see I also make screen doors.

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