Behind The Design: The Cobblers Bench

This week’s Behind The Design post is all about the Cobblers Bench.

During the Civil War,  the army was known to subcontract such tasks as the making of boots and uniforms. The cobbler’s bench, mostly made from pine, was very functional. It usually consisted of a seat, sometimes with a leather cushion, cut-outs in the wood for the cobbler’s legs, and lastly, small drawers for storing the cobbler’s tools for shoemaking. 45401052c1418c8e9c46d46f2ed7b307

The furniture in an Early American-themed home is simple and handcrafted, with a look that only comes with age. Pieces from the colonial era are becoming more and more difficult to find, but talented craftspeople across the United States are building reproductions so authentic-looking it is almost impossible to tell the difference. In a primitive-style home, furniture pieces are not always used for their original purpose but instead put to work in other roles around the home.Cobbler's Table

I love their retro take on it!


When my parents were just starting out and raising my sister, brother, and me, I feel like our home was very much Early American with flare. My mom sewed and did some needle-point work, and this cobbler’s bench was passed down from my grandparents. My great aunt and her husband also owned one, which I remember as well. My mom said she learned to walk around it, and I remember using it as a desk in our family room; coloring in my coloring books for what seemed like hours. I can even remember separating my crayon colors in the built-in compartments on the bench, and I can still see the hints of sparkle that my “Magic Swirl” crayons left on the wood.

Cobbler Bench Coffee Table

You can see, I used it as a coffee table when I was just starting out. Okay, I finally bought my fabric covered bench just last year, only because I wanted an updated look and more storage. But, the cobbler’s bench definitely served it’s purpose while I had it!!


This thrice loved bench is now back at my parent’s house in their basement. My mom plans to re-paint it and use it as a coffee table in the screened-in porch she hopes to have in a future down-sized home.

I’m sure I’ll get it back again one day, and maybe my kids will too learn how to walk around it!

Do you have a piece of furniture that has been passed down and re-purposed in your family?



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