A few days back I was going my husbandly duty and watching Irving Berlin’s White Christmas for the nth time on the big screen TV with my wife. As you might know, the opening scene of White Christmas takes place in an undisclosed location in Europe at Christmas, 1944. The scene is an impromptu holiday concert for the battle weary, homesick GI’s staged by Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby. When the beloved General Waverly arrives, Danny Kaye moves a music box onto a familiar looking stool.


In the recent past there was an article in Popular Woodworking on the construction of the Moravian stool. Jim Campbell, the founder of the Hillsborough Orange Woodworkers, decided it would be an interesting project for our Monday night work sessions. My function was largely to supply a heated/air-conditioned shop (with bathroom) and to stand there and looked horrified at all the people using power tools, usually my power tools.

And we built a bunch.

HOW many did we build?

HOW many did we build?

A few months later I was researching the Moravian chair, a Moravian stool with a back. (Little know fact, this is the only piece of furniture that can legally have a cut-out of a heart as part of the decoration.) I came across a few articles pertaining to the German barracks stool, a knock-down variant of the Moravian stool. It typically has a two-piece seat supported by dovetailed battens, press in legs and pegged together.

German barracks stool

German barrack’s stool

Back to the story

The stool on which the music box is placed is a German barracks stool. Only a bit too pretty.

German barrack's stool only nicer.

German barracks stool only nicer.

And the pianist had one too.

Another pretty stool

Another pretty stool

Although the movie was made nine years after the end of WWII, the set decorator or scenic artist actually expended the effort to see the type of furniture that could be found in abundance around European battlefields. Not a big deal but a nice touch.

My wife thinks I’m a bit weird.

Roy Underhill has an article with plans on the Moravian chair in this 1996 book The Woodwright’s Apprentice.