This article is the first installment of a three-part series on building an 18th-century Pennsylvania secretary with furniture maker Lonnie Bird. The key to building this large, complex piece -- which has more than 100 parts and joints -- is to break down the process into manageable steps. In this article, Bird walks reader through the construction of the upper and lower cases, and shares his detailed project plans. Bird has taught inexperienced students to build this piece in his woodworking classes, and documents the process in this article.

Lonnie Bird  is an author  and woodworking instructor. Visit him online at

From Fine Woodworking #154