Beautify Your Home with a Shaker Built-In
Build it in place, and the work goes surprisingly quickly
Synopsis: Built-in furniture was a staple of Shaker life, and these skilled furniture makers elevated the built-in to an art form. This one by Christian Becksvoort was constructed in place, as the Shakers used to do, but uses plywood partitions and shelves where the Shakers used solid pine. Solid-wood face frames and doors add a furniture-maker’s touch. Becksvoort’s piece was designed to fit a special space in his house, but he gives you all the tools and techniques you need to design and build your own, wherever you may need it.
From Fine Woodworking #221
I’ve grown used to the pleasure of working solid wood at the workbench, so it takes some persuasion to get me to leave the shop, haul sheets of plywood, and get on my knees to scribe along crooked walls. But in my younger days, I built my fair share of kitchen cabinets, commercial fixtures, and built-ins. And recently, my most discerning client, my wife, convinced me that we needed a built-in. So out of the shop I went.
Early homes tended to lack closets and storage space, so wardrobes and built-ins were common. The Shakers added built-ins wherever possible and turned them into an art form. Most, if not all, the built-ins made by the Shakers were constructed in place. I did the same, except I used plywood partitions and shelves where the Shakers used solid pine (or poplar in the South). I used solid cherry for the face frames, doors, and drawers.
The best part of a built-in is its versatility. You can design it to function for your particular situation. Mine has a middle bottom section for drawers. The right bottom section has a closet rod, while the left bottom section has adjustable shelves.
In our case, the location was under…