Joiners were skilled woodworkers who made furniture, doors, windows and decorative finishwork, such as cornices and mantels. Jefferson originally hired white joiners to create the intricate woodwork for his house and to train enslaved apprentices. Monticello's joiners, free and enslaved, made some of the finest woodwork in 19th-century Virginia.
The Joiner's Shop was among the earliest buildings erected on Mulberry Row to support the construction of the main house. Here James Dinsmore, an Irish master joiner, oversaw the work of the shop and trained John Hemmings, an enslaved member of the Monticello community. Hemmings became a master joiner and oversaw the creation of the woodwork for Jefferson's retreat home, Poplar Forest. Jefferson's sons with Sally Hemings, Beverly, Eston and Madison, all apprenticed under Hemmings.