Chuck_Griffith

Pound Ridge, NY, US
member


I made my first piece of furniture, a small Parsons dining table, in 1970 at the San Diego navy base. We still have it. In 1986 I went to the legendary Shaker exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York, and I was stunned. I have been making Shaker stuff, big and small, ever since. I have visited nearly every Shaker village from Kentucky to New Hampshire. I still have not been to Sabbathday Lake in Maine, but I did learn to hand cut dovetails at Canterbury Shaker Village (NH) and then wrote and illustrated the instruction manual used for subsequent classes there. I also learned to make oval boxes at Canterbury. I have sold a few things at a small annual craft fair, but I am basically a hobbyist who has filled his house with pretty decent furniture for not too much money. I write to make a living. I also write PC software, including various applications for woodworking.

Subscribe to my RSS Feed

Contributions

A Tale of Two Chairs

We saw the chair on the left at a big Shaker auction in June. As a "production chair," one of thousands the Shakers made for the general public, it should not have commanded a terribly high price. We...

All Shaker dining room

Just finished a Shaker trestle table to go with the six chairs I recently posted. Now we have a dining room that's all Shaker and all home grown, including the candle holders.

Six Shaker Dining Chairs

These chairs are based on the proportions of a Shaker No. 3 side chair. The finials are patterned after ones characteristic of the Shaker community in Harvard, Mass. The legs and spindles are...

Large Shaker Trestle Table

104" long, 38" wide, I think this is the biggest thing I've made. With leaves at each end the length becomes 124". The top is an inch thick, but because of the length I started milling with 64...

Santa's workshop

I always try to make as many Christmas presents as I can, and now with grandkids on the scene it's extra fun. The doll bed is actually a four-generation project. The canopy and dust ruffle were made...

Shaker Table, curly maple

Except for its drawer innards (poplar), this table was made from a single board, an exceptional piece of curly maple I got from Kevin Koski (www.curlymaplewood.com) in Williamsfield, OH. Kevin's an...

Little People

My granddaughter, age 6, was visiting and wanted us to make something together in my workshop. Of course she wanted it all to happen instantly, so I put a piece of scrap in my lathe and hoped an idea...

Shaker Chimney Cupboard milk painted

Cupboard is made of poplar, I managed to find some that was quite a bit harder than usual. Dimensions are 75" tall, 18" wide, 12" deep. Doors are joined with bridle joints, to me the best way to...

Shaker No. 3 dining chair

Shaker chairs ranged in size from 0 to 7, so the No. 3 is at the small end of the scale. However, it makes for a fine dining chair, especially if the room and table are relatively small too. For...

Shaker counter stools

I'd be embarrassed to tell you how little I charged for these. I figure they're pretty simple, so don't overdo it. However, because of the way I position holes for the rails and stretchers, the legs...

Bookcase from scraps

My daughter-in-law picked up a pair of twin-bed head and footboards at a recycling place. They were free, hence a problem - no stretchers to connect them. I offered to help, which also meant buying...

Miniature No. 0 Shaker rocker

I make full-sized Shaker chairs. My wife collects miniature chairs. So for Christmas this year I figured a shrunken Shaker piece might do the trick. The result is an exact "half-size" version of the...

Shaker blanket Chest

Shaker blanket chests usually have a flat top and one or two drawers that pull out from the wide side, so this one is a little different. The arched top was made by coopering slats of cherry whose...

Shaker style coffee table with hinged top

Made for a family with kids aged 4 and 1. Hence a desire for some storage space, but also the criterion "No drawers." The solution was storage space under a hinged top. As for the shelf, I guess...

Shaker cherry trestle table with leaves

Cherry trestle table similar to a birdseye table I posted earlier, except for the leaves. This table is 72" long, but it sometimes needs to be 90" long. Providing support for the leaves meant adding...

Whale of a chair

Not sure how this popped into my head, but we spent part of every summer in Nantucket, and whales are a big deal there. I make a lot of kids's rockers, so somehow this just came along. It's sized for...

Shaker end table with shelf

Cherry occasional table built to fit a client's space. Turned legs with simple one-ring collar. Shelf built with breadboard ends to accommodate seasonal wood movement. Finished with Maloof tung...

Shaker coffee table

Shakers didn't have coffee tables. Probably didn't have coffee, either. But if they had I'm guessing this is what their coffee tables might have looked like. Built for the gallery show posted...

Shaker chimney cupboard

This cupboard was built for the gallery show posted earlier. Made primarily of cherry with milk-painted poplar for the seven shelves and back. The poplar was used both to lower the cost and to make...

Shaker work in gallery show

On Saturday, 13 November 10, I had my first opening at an art gallery. I had six weeks notice to start making stuff, but my workshop was being totally remodeled, so that really meant just 3 1/2 weeks to...

No. 7 Shaker rocker, tiger maple

This is the last of my Shaker chair exploratory. But 12 chairs in, I learned enough from this one to think that the exploring isn't over. Except for the stretchers, this chair was made from a single...

No. 4.1 Shaker rocker

Yet another chair, but this one's a bit of a departure from tradition. The No. 4 is a smallish lady's bedroom chair, this one with a woven back. However, the normal Shaker practice was for the bottom...

No. 5 Shaker side chair

Chair addiction continues. This No. 5 chair is a good size for a dining or side chair. I built it as a prototype using soft maple because it's inexpensive. It leans back 5 degrees for comfort. A...

No. 7 Shaker rocker

My first big (non-children's) Shaker chair. These are a familiar sight, so they're easy to take for granted, but, trust me, there's serious geometry going on here. The back legs are bent in two...

Stackable Adirondack chairs

Adirondack chairs (modeled after one found on a beach in Nantucket) with a number of unexpected advantages.

No. 0 Shaker Rocker

My sister has knitted several Christmas stockings for us, so I thought she deserved something nice in return. This is a pretty faithful reproduction of a Shaker No. 0 armed rocker, sized for kids or...

Splay leg tables

I saw one of these at an antiques fair with a price in the stratosphere, so I had to make one for myself. I made a test using poplar scraps, then a "real" one using cherry, which was then dyed and...

Hutch, milk-painted with cherry counter

A friend of mine saw a version of this in a store, but needed a slightly smaller one to fit his dining room. The maker wouldn't oblidge, so he said "help" and handed me a Xerox image of it. I went to...

Shaker shakers

For "whole lotta Shaker" I've made a whole lotta posts, nearly once a day since March 31. Today is the event's last day, so I figure it's okay to close with something silly. I saw this idea in a...

Shaker style hutch, milk-painted

Finished this today. Made a similar one as a Christmas present for one of our kids (posted 4/5) and liked it so much I made this one for us. Unlike the other (which, below the counter, had nine...

Three Shaker end tables with shelf, cherry

Three tapered-leg end tables, each sized and proportioned to fit a space. The shelves have breadboard ends to avoid seasonal wood movement issues. Tables two and three were darkened by exposure to...

Shaker bench, cherry

I made four of these benches for our town's historical museum. They couldn't be simpler to look at, but their joinery presented a challenge. The legs and trestle are joined by interlocking cutouts...

Shaker tapered-leg dining table, cherry

A very simple table, built for our very small dining room. It was designed for easy disassembly, because that's the only way it could fit through the door.

Shaker style entertainment center

Shakers certainly didn't have entertainment centers, so this one is at best "Shaker-ish." It's based on the observation that opening two-door entertainment centers often reveals a big mess inside ...

Shaker oval boxes, cherry

I learned to make oval boxes at Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire, and I've made well more than 100 of them in various forms. This would not have been possible without John Wilson of...

Shaker dining table, birdseye maple

Ninety inches long with a top that's 1 5/16" thick, this table owes its light appearance to the placement of the trestle. Tucked up against the underside of the top, it's largely unseen, allowing the...

Shaker occasional table, tiger maple

This was my first attempt at turned legs. I started out trying to turn the pummels with a skew chisel, so for insurance I prepared a fifth leg blank. I needed it. The aprons have a crossgrain...

Shaker child's chair, cherry

Made for our granddaughter's second birthday, the seat height is nine inches, the rear leg height is 19 inches. To darken the cherry, the assembled frame was exposed to direct sunlight for several...

Shaker style bookcase, tiger maple

Shaker reading was limited to religion texts and practical instruction, so there aren't many Shaker bookcases to follow as examples. This one has an ogee profiled cornise whose side pieces are glued...

Shaker candlestand, cherry

This Shaker design confused me at first because it looked more Scandavian than Shaker. But the Shaker's were independent thinkers, so I decided it should be no surprise for them to do something...

Shaker candle sconce, cherry

I've made several of these. A pair makes a nice wedding gift. The original is in the American Museum in Britain, Bath, England. I first saw it in John Kassay's "Book of Shaker Furniture." Made of...

Shaker two-drawer chest, cherry

This began with John Kassay's great "The Book of Shaker Furniture" and the need for something to fit next to a sofa. Second photo is from the book. I modified proportions to fit the space and added...

Shaker end tables, birdseye maple

Bed side tables. The tops are tapered underneath to thin the edges. Birdseye maple is colored with water-based aniline dye and finished with gel varnish, five or six coats rubbed on. Tiny antiqued...

Shaker dresser, milk-painted

Based on a famous piece at the Shaker Museum in Chatham, NY. The original is huge, with two banks of five drawers and a cupboard. This was for an apartment in Brooklyn, hence one bank of drawers...

Shaker step stool, cherry

A close reproduction of a stool in John Shea's book, "Making Authentic Shaker Furniture." I've made three or four of these and worry about anyone ever standing on the top step. It's a long way up...

Shaker oval boxes, dyed

Shaker boxes are often colored in somber tones, but the Shakers were passionate people and could be very lively. That's how they got their name. Many of their boxes were brightly colored, so I...

Shaker side table

One advantage of being a woodworker is making furniture to fit spaces in your house. Which means you're not just designing furniture, you're designing rooms. This sidetable was made for our very...

Shaker hanging cupboard, cherry

Made for a friend who has too many fishing flies, it has three adjustable shelves inside. Joined at the corners with through dovetails. The door is one piece of 1/2" cherry, and to keep it from...

Shaker dresser, cherry

This was my first big Shaker project. The cherry was dyed lightly to reduce blotching. Poplar and aromatic cedar are secondary woods. Drawer heights are graduated by percentage. The fronts of each...

Shaker sewing steps

I come from a family of knitters, so a few Christmases ago I made these sewing steps. Very small (8"h, 8 1/4"w, 8"d), they're for resting your feet, not for standing on. The stock is just 516"...

Shaker style hutch

Built for my son Alden and his wife Katie for Christmas 08, it was designed to fit a specific space in their house. Not literally Shaker but uses several Shaker design elements. Made of milkpainted...

Shaker candlestand

There have been many variations on this basic theme, some more harmonious than others. For mine, I referenced the one from Hancock Shaker Village that appeared in the 1986 Whitney exhibition in New...

Shaker side table, birdseye maple

A few years ago, a generous man included me in a group of eight for a two-week golfing trip to Scotland. Before the trip he and I had never met. We played at all the best places, and he paid for...

Shaker dresser, tiger maple

Tiger maple with poplar as secondary wood. Drawer heights are graduated by percentage. Top and sides joined by through dovetails, something of a challenge as the maple's hardness means no...

Shaker woodenware, birdseye maple

For seasonal stability, tops of larger boxes (nos. 5 and 6) and tray bottoms are made of birdseye veneered plywood. Smaller box tops and tray divider are solid birdseye. Oval sides are of nonfigured...

Shaker cherry cradle

Cradle is made of solid cherry, finished with mixture of tung oil, boiled linseed oil and varnish. Corners are a compound angle of 11 degrees, joined by handcut dovetails. Edges of sides and rockers...



Recent comments


Re: Shaker Table, curly maple

Hi Art, and thanks for your note. It truly was an spectacular piece of wood, so it seemed like a responsibility to live up to it. Happy to hear that you think I did.

Re: Shaker Chimney Cupboard milk painted

Thanks Timothy. The pictures were actually taken in my workshop. Then I used Photoshop to remove the background and replace it with a gray to white gradient. Easy to do.

Re: Nanny Rocker

Wow!

Re: Shaker cherry cradle

Hi Rudyo,
The mattress was made for the cradle. Just a piece of fairly firm foam rubber with a slip case made of mattress ticking. My wife did the sewing, a fairly simple job with a machine. "Disassemble" means that the rocker assembly comes off. That would be the two rockers and the trestle that fits between them. The rockers attach to the cradle with two screws running into each rocker from the inside bottom of the cradle.

Re: Demilune table sunburst top

Wow. Just amazing. Such a great eye and so many skills all in one place. Very, very impressed.

Re: Shaker end table with shelf

Thanks Jeffrey, Glad you like it, and congrats on getting your lovely tiger maple cupboard-over-chest into the paper version of FWW.

Re: Illuminated Dining Table

Hi Thomas,
Very, very cool. Would love to know how you did that.
Chuck Griffith, chuck@shakertofit.com

Re: Krenov-Inspired Cabinet

I'm afraid I've always found the Krenov thing to be a little precious for my taste - elegant cabinets for the discrete display of elegant possessions. However, your creation of a Krenov liquor cabinet (a step into a world I can understand) has given me hope. Nice work.

Re: 3 drawer cherry worktable

Very nice. Love the front.

Re: No. 7 Shaker rocker, tiger maple

Hi Twistjawa,

Thanks. Glad you like the chair. Am quite happy with it myself. Am in the process of insulating my workshop so no projects underway now. Next one will be a Shaker blanket chest with an arched top as an homage to the roof of the meetinghouse at New Lebanon. Am planning to make the top by coopering quarter-sawn cherry. Not sure exactly how I'll go about that, but have purchased an old compass plane for rounding the top. Should be fun, but probably not until August.

All the best,
Chuck

Re: No. 5 Shaker side chair

Hi Martino23,

That should have read "do you mean I should remove the letters
'nospam' from your email address?".

Re: No. 5 Shaker side chair

Hi Martino23,

Happy to send it, but do you me I should remove the letters "nospam" from your email address?

Re: No. 5 Shaker side chair

Hi Twistjawa,

Thanks, and glad you like it. If you're interested in making Shaker chairs, I proportion the seats using a PC program that I wrote. Based on your approximate dimensions, it figures an an exact spindle distance between legs that will fit the seat's tape rows exactly, without gaps at either end. It also calculates the angle of splay (from front to back), and converts that angle to a circumference dimension for positioning holes to create the splay. It's very flexible in terms of the tape width you use and how much splay you might want. If that sounds confusing, it has a pretty good help system that explains everything. If you'd like a free copy (for PCs, not Macs) just give me an email address and I'll send it to you.

All the best,
Chuck

Re: shaker cupboard over chest

Hi Twistjawa, Sorry to have taken so long to comment, but somehow it slipped through my occasional visits to the FWW gallery. Anyway, really nice work. Just lovely. Love the way you finished it. That such a large piece seems to feel so right on those smallish legs is a design lesson in itself. One self-serving question, where did you find so much great tiger maple? Best regards, Chuck

Re: No. 0 Shaker Rocker

Hi Kenalley, I sure hope so because our son's wife is expecting a child in April, which means we'll be needing another stocking.

Re: Shaker side table

Hi William,

Amazing that you posted a comment yesterday and that I see it today. This stuff was posted last Spring, so I don't look through very regularly anymore.

Anyway, here are dimensions from my original plans. Hope they make sense to you.

Top: 49 x 14 3/8 with breadboard ends bread board ends
1 1/2 wide
top tenons: 7/8 deep
main top board length: 47 3/4

Base: 40 x 12 3/4 x 27 1/4

Legs: 27 1/4 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/2
taper to 7/8
taper starts 5 1/2 from top

Aprons: back, 37 x 5 visible, 39 x 5 with tenons
side, 9 3/4 visible, 11 3/4 x 5 with tenons

Front: crosses, 37 x 1 1/2 x 5/8 visible
verticals, 4 x 1 1/2 x 5/8 visible

Drawers: to fit

Re: Shaker bench, cherry

Hi sloughin,

The alignment thing was a challenge that I wanted to see if I could handle, so I made a test bench out of pine before making the four cherry ones. The pine bench came out fine, so after having it around my workshop for about a year, I milk painted it a funky blue, then sold it at a craft fair for about $200. Some tests work out better than others. This was one that I liked a lot.

Best regards,
Chuck

Re: Shaker dining table, birdseye maple

Hi Broker593,

A fairly detailed description of how I make the images is posted as a response on my "Splay leg table" post of May first. The background is made using the gradient tool of Photoshop Elements. The original background was the dining room where the table normally sits. That background was removed, and the table image was moved to a new blank background. Then the gradient and shadows were added.

If you're not a Photoshop user that probably doesn't mean much, but all I can say is to get Photoshop Elements (it's usually about $80) plus a decent instruction book, then dive in. Some people overdo the corrections it lets you make, so you have to be careful about that. But it's by far the cheapest and easiest way to make studio quality images without having a studio.

Best regards,
Chuck

Re: Chuck Griffith Wins Shaker Gallery Challenge

Dear Twistjawa,

Thanks so much for your comments. The idea that my stuff might inspire someone else is pretty startling to me, but I do agree that Shaker design is a great north star to follow. It's partly a school of design, but it's also a philosophical ethos that says you should do the best you can, just for the sake of doing the best you can. Whatever quality my work has owes maybe a little to my limited skills (you should have seen the two lulu mistakes I made today), but a lot to the feeling that some Shaker ghost is watching and expecting me to meet their standard. I know that sounds corny, but it is pretty much the way I feel.

Best regards,
Chuck

Re: Shaker cherry cradle

Dear Yankeewoodworker,
I've bought wood from Lou Irion, too. Finding his place among the cornfields isn't easy. The cornice of the tiger maple dresser I posted 4/17 came from him. The cherry cradle is finished as follows: two coats of Minwax Antique Oil Finish, hand-rubbed, to start. I use this at first because it's a good penetrator that brings out the character of the wood. I follow that with three or four coats of Sam Maloof Oil/Poly finish (a mixture of tung oil, boiled linseed oil and varnish) rubbed on with 0000 steel wool followed by rubbing with a soft cloth (piece of old T-shirt.) This provides some build, a soft gloss and a sense of depth. You can buy this finish at lots of places. Just Google "Sam Maloof finish" and you'll get some choices. As for color, before applying any finish I let cherry pieces sit in direct sunlight for several hours, sometimes two or three days worth. Cherry darkens naturally in UV rays. This technique can make a big difference.

Re: Chuck Griffith Wins Shaker Gallery Challenge

Dear reggieK, Thanks very much. Most kind of you.

Re: Shaker dining table, birdseye maple

Hi Mehitabel,
Glad you like it. The top was attached by screws recessed in holes through the cross pieces. The screws farthest out run in slots to allow for seasonal movement.

Re: UPDATE: Book Giveaway: Early American Country Furniture

Yes, I would love a copy. Right up my alley.

Re: Splay leg tables

Hi Pat,

Thanks very much. About the photos, some are taken with a digital camera (it doesn't matter what kind), and others were taken with a film camera. To put the latter online, I took the original print and scanned it. The whole process has basically two stages: 1) take the best photo you can and 2) use Photoshop Elements (about $60 at amazon.com) to replace the clutzy background (driveway, workshop, living room, etc.) with something that looks more like a photographer's studio. You can also use Photoshop to adjust the image's quality (light levels, color balance, color saturation, etc.), but you have to be careful not to go overboard with that. The goal isn't to improve on reality, but just to make sure the final image looks as good as the thing you're shooting. It's very common for your subject to look a lot better in real life than the image that comes straight from your camera.

In taking the picture, because I will use Photoshop Elements to create a soft shadow background, I try to take a soft shadow picture. I never use flash. Direct sunlight can be okay (it can make for a richer, livelier looking finish), but you should shoot from an angle that keeps the piece from casting hard shadows on itself. To me, bright overcast days or hazy clear days are good. One sunny day trick (see the candle sconce posted on April 15), is to place the object in the shade, but near the edge of a large shadow (perhaps cast by the roof line of a house). I then place a large piece of white mat board in the sunny area to reflect fill light on the piece in the shade. You can position the reflector in different ways to find the effect you like best. If you look at the candle sconce picture, you'll see that the wood has a nice warm, well-lighted character, but the shadow cast by the candlestick is very soft. If you have a hard-light picture of an object you can't re-shoot, don't give up. My oval divided tray (posted April 1) was shot in hard light. It still looks okay, and I'd be surprised if anyone thought, "Wait, what's that hard shadow doing there." The main photo of my sewing steps (posted April 6), was shot in hard light, but in a way that avoids shadows. The other sewing step photos were shot in soft light.

In shooting, you should also choose a good angle. Shooting something straight on can be dramatic, but it doesn’t create much sense of depth. So I always take a master shot at a three-quarter angle. Choosing the right focal length (zoom setting) can be important too. Wide angle can be dramatic, but it will create perspective distortion that you may or may not want. So I usually try various focal lengths to give myself options later on. A digital camera gives you that luxury. If your camera gives you zoom settings at equivalents of a 35mm film camera, a 50-55 mm zoom setting is about normal. Anything lower is wide angle, anything higher will be progressively telephoto. A lot of pros take portraits using a focal length in the 85-100 mm focal length. Whether or not this works for furniture is something you have to judge for yourself. It does tend to remove perspective that you might want.

As for Photoshop, it's too involved to explain all the details here, but here's the gist of it. I use the Polygonal Lasso tool and the Background Eraser to remove the background. I then adjust the image (again, within limits of reality) using Levels, Color Balance, Saturation adjustments. After that I open a new blank white background and then use the Move tool to put the original image on the blank background. I now have two layers that can be dealt with separately. On the background layer, I use the Gradient tool to create a rising, full-width shadow that reproduces the look of a studio's seamless background. I then use the brush tool (set for a soft edge and 1% opacity) to gradually build the appearance of soft shadows being cast by the object. This creates the sense that there's a surface beneath the object. I then go to the object’s layer and make additional corrections, if necessary. Then I flatten the image (making it one layer) and save it as a .jpg file.

There are several important tips and details left out of the above description. If you’ve never used Photoshop Elements, just get it, buy a book like “Photoshop Elements for Dummies” and start fooling around. You’ll pick it up pretty quickly. Just remember to make your image adjustments within reason. Some users overdo it, and it can make their pictures look tricked up.

Hope that helps.

Best regards,
Chuck

Re: Chuck Griffith Wins Shaker Gallery Challenge

Dear FineWoodworking.com,

Thank you very much. I am truly flattered to have been chosen for this. There were so many deserving entries by other Shaker devotees. Seeing everyone's work together is a great thing. It does give a sense that there's at least a virtual Shaker community out there.

I sometimes feel a little apologetic about sticking so strictly to Shaker design. It obviates the need for so many woodworking skills - inlays, veneering, carving, complex-curve shaping, etc. - that I sometimes feel I'm playing it safe. But on the other hand, Shaker furniture is the only kind that truly thrills me. At the Whitney exhibition in 1986, the last object as you went out the door was a one-piece wooden grain shovel (now at the Shaker Museum in Chatham, NY). I was on my way back to work, and it just stopped me dead in my tracks. The handle was so beautifully shaped I couldn't stop staring at it. That the Shakers cared so intently about everything they did, even a shovel handle, is, to me, 300% admirable.

About the hutch the judges like best. I like it, too, but I posted it after the competition because I didn't think it was strictly Shaker enough to include in the event. It does share some Shaker design elements, but I can't think of any direct Shaker antecedents for it. Also, part of its purpose is to display things, and, near as I know, Shakers pretty much frowned on that.

My favorites among my entries are the cradle (posted 3/31), the 10-drawer cherry dresser (4/7), the candle sconce (4/15) and the trestle dining table (4/21).

It was great fun preparing all the photos. What I didn't expect were the generous comments from so many people and how nice it felt to make connections by responding.

Again, thanks very much for choosing me. This experience has been a real pleasure.

Best regards,
Chuck Griffith

Re: Contemporary occasional table

Hi Africanchippy,
This is written after my reply to your comment about my barn red hutch. I was thinking about a contemporary furniture maker liking a Shaker style piece, and it reminded me that I've often thought that the American Shakers were in many ways the originators of modern furniture design. I don't know how much you know about the Shakers, but their furniture was simple and functional, but also has a timeless gracefulness than transcends utility. A wonderful book on the subject is "Shaker Design" by June Sprigg. It was the catalog for the famous Shaker exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York in 1986. I was lucky enough to be there, but you can buy the book at amazon.com for about $27 USD. I recommend you give it a try. I can't imagine you won't find it rewarding.
Best regards,
Chuck Griffith

Re: Shaker style hutch, milk-painted

Hi Africanchippy,
Thanks, and what a coincidence. I'm normally not that into contemporary stuff, but I think the table you posted recently is inspired. I've never seen anything quite like it, but it has a certain grace to it, and, while it's very unusual, doesn't seem to be straining to be different. The various design elements work together in a nice, harmonious way. Would love to seem more of your work.
Best regards,
Chuck Griffith

Re: Shaker dining table, birdseye maple

Hi Twistjawa and Martino23,

Thanks for your comments. I think I have enough pictures left for four more Shaker posts, plus another if a current project gets done soon. The big birdseye maple came from Conway Hardwoods in Gaylordsville, CT. Unfortunately, the company's owner has decided to stop selling figured maple. When I bought it, I took it for granted that this stuff was easy to come by. I didn't know how lucky I had been. I don't have a web site, but if you click on my name at the top of a post you can see the whole deal all in one place. I think FWW.com's Gallery is a fine thing, a great way to see what other people are up to.

Re: Shaker side table, birdseye maple

Hi twistjawa, God bless hard drives. I actually found my plans for this table. Here are the dimensions. Hope they make sense.

Top: 38.25 x 14.75 x .75
Legs: 27.25 x 1.25 x 1.25, taper to .75 starts 22.5 up
Sides: 10 x 4.625 (visible)
Back: 30 x 4.625 (visible)
Front cross: 30 x .625 x 1.25 plus 1/2" tails at each end
Front verts: 3 7/16 x .625 x 1.25 plus 1/4" tails at each end
Drawer fronts: 9.5 x 3.375

Re: Shaker dining table, birdseye maple

Hi Greg,

Thanks for your kind words. I was afraid that putting up so many posts might seem obnoxious. Glad to hear that somebody out there doesn't feel that way. Yes, Hancock Shaker Village is a great place. They let you walk around on your own, which you can't do at Canterbury. If you ever get a chance you should definitely visit Pleasant Hill in Kentucky. You can spend the night there in a Shaker building. The preservation was done by the same person who did Williamsburg. It's just perfect in every way. Sorry, but I've never made a washstand. I have done some compound angle dovetailing, and it's always fun. My first two posts (a cradle on 3/31 and a tray on 4/1) show them. The tray was especially interesting because the joints include a miter at the top. Good luck with your new house and workshop. Hope to see a post from you soon.

Best regards,
Chuck

Re: Shaker end tables, birdseye maple

Hi Twistjawa
The tables are 27 1/4" high. Top is 14 1/4" square. Legs are 1 1/16" thick at the top, tapered on the two inner sides to 5/8" at the bottom. Side aprons (not counting tenon) are 9 1/2" by 4 1/2". Back apron (not counting tenon) is 4 1/2" by 9 1/4". Drawer front is 9 3/16" by 3 3/8". The top is 3/4" thick, but tapered from the aprons out, for an edge thickness of 7/16". The aprons and legs are joined flush. Hope that helps.

Re: Shaker side table

Hi Martin,
Like the end tables you asked about, the top is dyed with Moser's water based Golden Amber Maple. I got it from Woodworker's Supply. To bring out the figure, I made an initial dye pass with a fairly thin solution. That way the figured areas (which are more open-pored, a little like end grain) pick up the color pretty well, while the unfigured areas aren't much affected. Then I lightly sand, knocking back what little color is on the unfinished areas, increasing the contrast even more. After that I probably did three coats of moderately intense dye. To me, there's more control with several coats of moderate dye than with one coat of deeper color. I then did a first coat of Minwax Antique Oil Finish which really brings out the figure, followed by several coats of tung oil, boiled linseed and urethane, rubbed on with 0000 steel wool. If you can find it, there's a good pre-mixed version of this finish marketed under Sam Maloof's name.

Re: Shaker end tables, birdseye maple

Hi Martin,
The tables were colored with water-based aniline dye, J.E. Moser's Golden Amber Maple. I have lots of vials of different color dye, but I use the Golden Amber Maple almost every time. These tables are fairly light so I couldn't have used more than two coats of dye (I don't remember exactly). But by using different numbers of coats, this one color can provide lots of variety. The gel varnish was rubbed on with 0000 steel wool. The brand was Bartley's Clear Satin. Each coat is super thin, so it takes about six to develop character and give depth the the birdseye's figure. Hope that helps.

Re: Shaker dresser, milk-painted

Hi Dan,
Thanks for your note and, yes, I've darkened milk paint with black before. An example is the Shaker side table I posted April 9. For this dresser, though, I had previously achieved the exact look I wanted with straight color plus acrylic Clear Coat, so in making tests I was kind of thrown when that didn't happen. I then made tests with a couple kinds of oil which made the blue way darker than I wanted. While this was going on I started liking the lighter blue. The people I was making the dresser for liked it, so I went ahead. They're happy, so I'm happy. Another adventure with milk paint.

Re: Shaker Style 7 Drawer Chest

Hi Robert,
Really great. The figure on the drawer fronts is beautiful. I hope whoever owns it appreciates how special it is.

Re: Shaker style hutch

Thanks Woodn88s. Getting it done for Christmas was something of a challenge. I had to dovetail all the drawers (that's 36 corners) in four days. My back wasn't too happy. Timed the finishing to be done the day before my son's arrival. Then he called and said, "Good news, we're coming a day early." It all worked out.

Re: Mahogany Hall or Sofa table

Nice table. Your picture showed up almost full screen on my browser instead of the smaller picture I usually see. How did you cause that to happen?

Re: Shaker dresser, tiger maple

Thanks Baldego, but, trust me, its quality isn't perfect. A couple little cracks developed in the top, I think because I made the dovetails too tight. They showed up a few months after it was finished. Also, I should have made the drawers a little less deep. In winter when the sides shrink in width, the drawers touch the back leaving a smidge of a space between the drawer lips and the dresser's body. It's not something anyone would notice, but it amazes me how many years it takes to learn how many things, big and small, can go wrong with a piece of furniture.

Re: Shaker dresser, cherry

Hi Robert,
Thanks very much. I like your stuff too. Very impressed by what appears to be your use of hardwood for drawer sides, upping the ante for dovetail precision. I use poplar for sides which makes things a little easier. Nice work.

Re: Sweeping Up

Absolutely fabulous. Especially with the two knobs for eyes on the top drawer. Hannah is truly gifted.

Re: Shaker Night Stand

Very nice table. I visited your web site. Nicely designed and makes a positive professional impression. You have a lot of guts to start the business and keep it going. Best of luck to you. Especially these days.

Re: Shaker woodenware, birdseye maple

Hi David,

I must have a clone out there because I haven't been to the J Appleseed event. Just Googled "j appleseed." Is it the J Appleseed Society in New Jersey? When and where is their event? The web site didn't have much information.

As for materials, the dramatic birdseye maple in the divided tray came from John Wilson in Charlotte, MI. He normally sells blanks for box tops and bottoms, but the quality of his materials is really superior, so I occasionally ask him for pieces dimensioned for other uses. He always obliges.

I haven't made many boxes lately. Maybe I'll get to it and see you at J Appleseed this year. Thanks for your note.

Best regards,
Chuck

Re: Shaker side table, birdseye maple

Dear missingWA, Thanks very much, but I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that much praise. I do try to be polite, but I must confess that this table was made and given with a certain amount of self-interest. I definitely wanted to keep myself included in this golf group. The best part, though, is that after several trips together (including bonefishing in the Yucatan last October, fully paid for by him) this man and I have become very good friends. And that would be true whether he took me on trips on not.

Re: Shaker dresser, tiger maple

Sorry I forgot to mention that. It was colored with water-based aniline dye, followed by many coats of gel varnish rubbed on with 0000 steel wool. To color it, I started with a light coat of dye which the striping picks up easily but that has less effect on the rest of the surface. Then I sanded lightly to reduce whatever color there was on the non-striped areas. This sort of jump-starts the accenting of the stripes. Then I think I did two applications of dye before varnishing. Thanks for your question.

Re: 19 Shaker Boxes

How wonderful!

Re: Shaker cherry cradle

Thanks, Tom. It's amazing how quickly a baby can grow too big for one of these. In my granddaughter's case it took about seven months. Now it's full of dolls, which is fine. On the other hand, I made a cradle for a friend whose daughter was still crawling into it for naps when she was four. Warmed my heart.



Advertise here for as little as $50. Learn how