An Adaptation of Medieval Examples

This aumbry is made of pine, and was finished with milk paint for a convincing color and texture. Danish oil was applied to offer some protection from water spotting. The quatrefoil door vents are backed with burlap to allow minimal ventilation. The iron hinges and slide bolt were purchased from Van Dyke's Restorers, Decorative screws were used to mount the ironwork, but will be replaced just as soon as I master the rare art of setting clinch nails in softwood.

External dimensions: 26" wide x 16" deep x 31" tall



 Northern Spain, 15th Century
Oak and Chestnut
Apparently original red polychrome
Huntington Antiques Ltd.

 English, 15th Century
Metropolitan Museum, New York

 Lower Saxony
Early 14th Century

 Lower Saxony
Early 14th Century

 English, Late Medieval
Victoria and Albert Museum

 France, 13th Century
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Tours

Lower Saxony, 14th Century
Hannover, Kestner Museum


 2" of styrene foam insulation, and a 50 pound block of dry ice, guarantee the popsicles will still be frozen by Saturday's Royal Court! Although currently lined with insulation to serve as a replacement for the six-board box/ cooler which Mickel and I had previously used to store food at encampments, the aumbry may someday be fitted instead with shelves to serve as just an ordinary aumbry.

Internal dimensions with insulation: 18.5" wide x 10.5" deep x 23.5" tall

Capacity: 79 quart

Capacity remaining with dry ice block: 59 quart

 Notes on Dry Ice:

We pay $25 for a 50 pound block of Dry Ice, which compares well to a week's worth of regular ice. Dry Ice ends the ritual of walking a mile and back to get a couple bags of ice from the Cooper's Store every day, and Dry Ice never turns your frozen food into floating food. The best part about using Dry Ice is that your frozen food stays FROZEN! When your steak is at one hundred and nine degrees below zero, you never have to wonder if it might have begun to thaw . . .

Avoid opening and closing the cooler as much as possible. Keep contents of the cooler crowded around the Dry Ice. Any "dead-air-space" around the block of Dry Ice will cause it to sublimate faster.

Oh, and no matter what the friendly guy with the ice tongs says, it takes no more than a half hour longer to thaw a steak that has been kept on Dry Ice than it does to thaw one from your home freezer.

 A note on Van Dyke's Restorers,

My enthusiastic recommendation of VDR is, alas, conditional. Although they offer hardware which is very convincing in appearance and reasonable in cost, their quality can be rather indifferent. Amongst their more rustic offerings, bent straps and poorly aligned assemblies are the rule. I put up with it because I have the wherewithal to fix most of these problems, and have never found better looking hardware. Hey, most of their competitors use fake-rust paint on everything, while VDR still offers an honest oil-blackened finish. Thankfully, most of what I build is supposed to look less-than-machine-perfect.

I do not yet know what their return policy is, nor how well they might handle a complaint. I order hardware when I need it, and so far have rather fixed the items I've received than delay a project. Mostly, I have had to re-pin hinges that were otherwise too badly aligned to use. For me, it is worth the trouble.



Furniture and Interior Decoration of the Italian Renaissance, by Frida Schottmuller, New York Brentano's, 1921

Medieval Furniture, A class offered at Pennsic XXX by Master Sir Stanford of Sheffield, August 2001

Furniture 700-1700.  Eric Mercer.  Meredith Press, 1969



Medieval and Renaissance Woodworking, by Gary R. Halstead, 1999 - 2004

Institut für Realienkunde des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, Picture Archives of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (REALonline)

Huntington Antiques Ltd. Purveyors of early Period furniture, works of art & tapestries

Marburg Picture Archives (Bildindex), Philipps University of Marburg

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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Photographs and other content are copyright 2006 by John Wilson unless otherwise credited.

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This page was last updated 7/1/06.