Step Stool

In their quest for order and efficiency, the Shakers built chests of drawers and cabinets that made good use of available space, often stretching from floor to ceiling. Step stools like the one shown below evolved to enable household members to gain access to the uppermost shelves. Depending on individual needs, the stools were made in two-, three-, and four-step versions. The taller stools often featured steadying rods screwed to the side to provide a hand hold. Although these stools appeal to...

Gluing up the stiles

Glue the stiles together in pairs to form the corner of the pie safe. Remember that the four wider stiles will be used on the front and back of the safe, while the narrower stiles will fit on the sides this way, the corner joint will only be visible from the sides. Spread some glue on the contacting surfaces of each pair of stiles the outside edges of the side stiles and the inside faces of the front and back stiles. With the side stile face down on a work surface, secure the joint, spacing the...

Attaching the rail to the column

Start by drilling six countersunk screw holes through the rail it will be less cumbersome to prepare the rail for the top before joining the rail and column. Locate one hole in each corner of the flat face of the rail's underside and one on each side of the mortise. Then set the top face down on a work surface and center the rail on top, making sure the grain of the two pieces is perpendicular. Mark the corners of the rail on the top with a pencil and the screw holes with an awl (above, left)....

Routing the panel grooves

Cut the panel grooves along the inside edges of the side frames with a router and a piloted three-wing slotting cutter. Dry-assemble each side frame and clamp one of them face down on a work surface. Adjust the router's cutting depth to center the groove on the edges of the stock. With a firm grip on the router, turn on the tool and lower the base plate onto the surface. Guide the bit into the stock near one corner of the frame. Once the pilot bearing butts against the edge of the stock,...

Milling the cockbeading

Make enough cockbeading from -thick-stock to fit the rabbets cut in step 1, shaping it with molding cutters on a table saw. (Do not use narrow stock instead, cut pieces that are at least 4 inches wide and then rip the cockbeading from them.) Install an auxiliary fence and raise the molding head into the wood fence to notch it. Use a featherboard to secure the work-piece screw it to a shim so the pressure will be applied against the middle of the stock. To adjust the cut, center an edge of the...

Bending the slats

To make the bending form shown above, center the mortises for the dowels along the length of the support boards. The distance between the two outside dowels should be slightly less than the span of a slat when it is curved. As soon as you remove a slat from the steamer, quickly fit it between the dowels. Center the slats against the middle dowel and push the ends behind the outside dowels. Alternate the direction of the slats to equalize pressure on the jig.

Completing the warp

Continue weaving the warp rows until you reach the opposite side rail and the back seat rail is entirely wrapped in tape. Then temporarily tack the loose length of tape to the side rail (below) and cut off the loose end. Weave about three rows of weft, then begin filling in the triangular gaps left along the side rails where you installed the warp. Cut a length of warp tape long enough to weave two rows of seating, plus about 5 inches, and slip the tape under the last strand of weft beneath the...

Weaving a complete circuit

Once you have squared the seat frame, you can begin rushing the seat all around the frame. Working with an approximately 20-foot length of rush, tack it to the side rail near the rear legs and loop it around all the rails (above, left). Keep working around the chair using the same pattern (above, right). When you get to the end of a length of rush, clamp it temporarily to the seat frame to keep it taut and attach it to a new piece using a figure eight knot. Locate the knots on the underside of...

Glossary

Auxiliary fence A wooden attachment to a tool's rip fence that serves as an anchor for accessories and prevents accidental damage to the metal fence. Blank A piece of solid or glued-up wood used to create a furniture part, such as a turned leg. Bridle joint A type of open mortise-and-tenon joint in which the tenon is as long as the width of the mortise piece and the mortise extends across the entire width of the board. Candle sconce A candlestick holder. Chamfer A bevel cut along the edge of a...

Making the wood buttons

If you are using wood buttons to install the top on the pie safe, you will need to make enough buttons to space them every 6 inches along the ends and edges of the panel. You can mass-produce the buttons from a single board of a thickness equal to the gap between the top edge of the top frame rails and the grooves you cut in the rails (page 93), less Ke inch. Cut a -inch rabbet at each end of the board, then rip it into 1-inch-wide strips and cut off the buttons about VA inches from the ends...

Stuffing the seat

Once the rushing is about two-thirds done, it is time to provide extra padding by stuffing the seat. To prevent the rush from slackening, use a spring clamp to secure the loose length you are installing to a seat rail. Use cardboard for the padding, cutting one triangular piece for each side of the seat so that the triangle's long side is slightly shorter than the seat rail. Slip the padding under the rushing (right), then trim the tips if they overlap in the center. Continue the normal circuit...

Chiseling out the waste

Set the side piece inside face up on a work surface and clamp on a guide block, aligning its edge with the shoulder line. Using a chisel no wider than the narrow side of the waste section, butt the flat side of the blade against the guide block. Hold the end of the chisel square to the face of the piece and strike it with a wooden mallet, scoring a line about Va inch deep. Then turn the chisel toward the end of the panel about Va inch below the surface of the wood and shave off a thin layer of...

Making the dropleaf supports

Build Shaker Side Table Plans

The drop leaves are supported by pivoting supports. Housed along the top edge of the side rails, the supports pivot on dowels to hold the drop leaves when they are extended, then align with the rails when the leaves are not needed. Rip a 7 s-inch-wide strip from the edge of each side rail, then adjust your table saw's miter gauge to a 70 angle. Cut a 103 4-inch-long piece from each end of the strip right . The piece between the cuts will be the drop-leaf support the two end pieces will be glued...

Preparing the legs for the rockers

Once the legs are dry, mark holes for the screws that will fasten the legs to the rockers locate a hole on each leg about 1 inch from the bottom end. Cut a V-shaped wedge out of a wood block, creating a jig that will hold the legs as you bore the holes. Clamp the jig to your drill press table so the bottom of the V is centered under the bit. Then place the leg in the jig and align the marked point with the bit. Holding the leg with one hand, bore a countersunk hole three-quarters of the way...

Assembling The Safe

Shaker Pie Safe Woodworking Plans

A ledger strip is fastened to the back bottom rail of a pie safe. Once strips have been attached to all four bottom rails, the bottom panel will be screwed to the top edge of the strips. Once all the floating panels are ready, it is time to glue the frames together. Start by fitting the panels into their frames, as shown below, then glue up the rails and stiles, forming the sides of the cabinet page 98 . The next step involves installing the back panel on the frame page 99 . The pie safe...

Joseph Gnasche Shaker Rocking Chair Plan

Page references in italics indicate an illustration of subject matter. Page references in bold indicate a Build It Yourself project. Architecture, 10, 15, 17 Band saws figs circle-cutting jigs, 79 Baskets, 22 Benches Dining room benches, 18 Meetinghouse benches, 19, 25, 48 crest rails, 54-55 cutting list, 49 legs, 52-54 seats, 48, 50-52, 54-55 spindles, 50, 54-55 Blanket chests, 21 Blind mortise-and-tenon joints, 90, 91-92 Boxes, 8-9, 17, 117, 135-137 Build It Yourself Band saws circle-cutting...

Building A Box

Birds Eye Maple Round Oval Boxes

First produced in the 1790s, Shaker boxes were made in graduated sizes to hold household goods when empty, they could be nested inside one another. The oval boxes remain popular today, and can be made easily from commercial kits. The box shown at right was made by craftsman John Wilson of Charlotte, Michigan. He added a few luxurious refinements to the utilitarian yet elegant Shaker design, such as using bird's-eye maple for the box bands and a walnut burl veneer for the top.

Gluing the legs to the drawer rail kicker and end rail

Bar Railing Wood

Sand the inside faces of the legs and rails, then spread glue on the contacting surfaces between the kicker, drawer rail and one pair of legs. Fit the joints together and secure them with two bar clamps, aligning the bars with the rail and kicker. Using wood pads to protect the stock and distribute the clamping pressure, tighten the clamps gradually until a little adhesive squeezes out of the joints right . Repeat the procedure to assemble the remaining two legs and the end rail.

Tinpanel Doors

Mortise Tenon Wooden Pegs

The doors of the pie safe are joined with the open version of the mor-tise-and-tenon joint used to assemble the cabinet. The reinforcing pegs will prevent the joints from racking, even under the heaviest use. As shown below, you can make the joint on your table saw with a shop-made jig. Once the doors are assembled, they are rabbeted to accept the tin panels page 108 . As shown on page 111, a variety of special punches are available for piercing the panels themselves. Once the panels are...

Anatomy Of A Step Stool

Step Stools Plans

Shaker step stools were originally designed for reaching the upper shelves of high cupboards. Assembled with through dovetail joints and reinforced with plugged wood screws, the stool shown above is both sturdy and attractive. Shaker step stools were originally designed for reaching the upper shelves of high cupboards. Assembled with through dovetail joints and reinforced with plugged wood screws, the stool shown above is both sturdy and attractive.

Making The Doors

Use your table saw to cut the open mortlse-and-tenons that join the rails and stiles of the doors. Saw the pieces to size, then install a commercial tenoning jig on the saw table the model shown slides in the miter slot. Clamp one of the rails end-up to the jig, using a wood pad to protect the stock. Make the cutting height equal to the stock width and position the jig so the outside faces of the blade and the workpiece are aligned. Push the jig forward to feed the rail into the blade right ,...

Installing The Doors

Butterfly Hinges

With their wing-shaped leaves, butterfly hinges were commonly used on Shaker furniture. Today, they are expensive and difficult to find. However, transforming a standard butt hinge into a butterfly hinge is a simple matter. Grind the tops and bottoms of butt hinge leaves on your bench grinder until you cut away enough metal to produce the characteristic shape.

Attaching the top to the table rails

Shaker Furniture Candle Stand

The top is fastened to the rails with wood buttons screwed to the top, the buttons feature lips that fit into grooves cut into the rails, providing a secure connection while allowing for wood movement. Make sure the drop-leaf supports are in place on the side rails, then place the top face down on a work surface and clamp the leg-and-rail assembly in position on top. Make a button for every 6 inches of rail length page 101 . Spacing them about 6 inches apart and leaving a -inch gap between the...

Cutting the tenon cheeks

Cheeks Furniture

Outline the tenons at both ends of the rails, marking a shoulder line all around the ends so the length of the tenons will be slightly less than the depth of the mortises you cut in the stiles. Secure one of the rails upright in a vise and cut along the lines on the end of the board with a backsaw until you reach the shoulder line right . Repeat for the tenon at the other end of the rail and at both ends of the remaining rails.

Securing the pattern to the panel

Tin Patterns

Tin panels and the tools used to punch holes in them are available from folk-art supply houses. The best way to punch the holes in the panels so they are all the same is to use a pattern as a template. Several common patterns are illustrated on page 111 use a photocopier with an enlargement feature to produce a version of the desired pattern that is the same size as your panels. Then set one of the panels inside-face up on a backup board, center the pattern on the panel, and fix the paper to...

Shaker Life

Hancock Village Pegrail

When I was little and shared a room with my sister, I yearned to have a room of my own. I was 19 when that dream came true, and oh, what a room it was, in an early 19th-century Shaker building in Canterbury, New Hampshire. My room was a classic Shaker interior, with built-in cupboards and drawers, a peg rail around the walls, and rare sliding shutters. Everything overhead and underfoot was the work of Shaker Brothers who had used local pine, maple, and birch and a combination of hand tools and...

Drilling the spindle holes

Bore the holes for the seat spindles using your drill press and a shop-made jig. Mark a reference line on the top face of the seat parallel to the back edge and 1 inch away from it. Then mark the spindle holes, starting about 214 inches from the ends and spacing the remaining holes equally. To ensure that the spindles are tilted back at the correct angle, adjust a protractor to 10 and use the shop-made tilted table jig shown above to tilt the seat in relation to the bit. For the jig, set a...

Raising The Panels

Wood Panel Plane

A panel-raising plane bevels one end of a wood panel. These hand tools must be used in pairs to raise a panel. Using left- and right-hand models allows the panel to be beveled in the direction of the grain at all times. the frames. No adhesive was used, so the panels could swell and shrink with changes in humidity. Cut the panels lh inch longer and wider than the openings in the frames. There are several ways of raising panels. Shaker builders likely did the job by hand, using panel-raising...

Gluing down the cockbeading

Cut the cockbeading to fit inside the front frame, miter-ing the ends. Cut and fit one piece at a time, aligning the mitered ends with the corners of the rabbets. Spread a little glue on the contacting surfaces. Use any suitable clamp to secure the cockbeading along the top and bottom of the opening, protecting the stock with wood pads for the sides, wedge thin wood strips slightly longer than the gap between the cockbeading above .

Candle Stand

Of racking stress which pulls them away from the column. The Shakers compensated for this weakness in several ways. The most important was attaching the legs to the column with sliding dovetails very strong and durable joints. Some Shaker candle stands have survived 150 years and are as sturdy as the day they were made. To give the legs added strength, a metal plate, known as a spider, is nailed to the base of the column and legs. The design of the legs also fortifies the stand. They are 3 s...

Routing the slat mortises in the rear legs

Outline the slat mortises on your rear leg blanks using the story pole shown above, centering the outlines on the inside face of each blank. Then secure one of the blanks between bench dogs. Install a -inch mortising bit in a router equipped with an edge guide. Center the bit over the mortise outline and adjust the edge guide to butt against the stock use the second leg blank to support the router. Make several passes, increasing the cutting depth with each pass until the mortise is completed...

Shaker Design

The Shakers are recognized today as one of America's most interesting communal religious societies. Thanks to the vigorous crop of books, articles, and exhibitions that have sprouted up since the Shakers' bicentennial celebration in 1974, most people think of them first and foremost as producers of simple and well-made furniture. But in their heyday from 1825 to 1845, they were better known for their original blend of celibacy and communalism, a deep commitment to Christian principles as...

Preparing the legs for the side rails and stretchers

The mortises in the legs for the side rails and stretchers must be drilled at compound angles they are angled in both the horizontal and vertical planes. Start by securing one of the rear legs in a handscrew and clamping the assembly upright to a work surface. Then use the chair seat and side views on page 27, a protractor, and a sliding bevel to determine the drilling angle as you did in step 2. But instead of taping two sliding bevels to the stock, cut two square pieces of plywood, clamping...

Preparing the door frames for the false mullion

Cutting Notch Wood

To enable the pie safe doors to close properly, cut a rabbet along the inside face of both doors at their contacting edges a wood strip, known as a false mullion, will be glued into the rabbet of the left-hand door so the doors will rest flush when closed page 115 . The Vs-inch gap between the right-hand door and the edge of the mullion will prevent the doors from binding when they are closed, as shown in the end-on view in the inset. For the rab bets, install a dado head on your table saw and...

Shaker Candle Table Dove Tail Legs

With help from a shop-built jig that rests on the bed of a lathe, a router fitted with a dovetail bit plows sockets in the column of a candle stand. The sockets will mate with sliding dovetails at the top ends of the legs. For instructions on making this jig, refer to page 81. The early years of Shaker communities were far from bountiful. As one resident of the Hancock village said in 1791, Our food was very scanty. But what we had, we ate with thankful hearts. For breakfast and supper, we...

Preparing the crest rail for the spindles

Cut the crest rail to size, then mark the spindle holes on its bottom edge, using the holes you drilled in the seat as a guide. Clamp a piece of plywood as an auxiliary table to your drill press, install a brad-point bit, and adjust the drilling depth to about 1 inch. Align the first hole mark under the bit and clamp a board to the auxiliary table flush against the face of the rail. This will serve as a fence to position the rail. Butting the rail against the fence, drill the holes right .

Shaker Rocking Chair

Shaker Furniture

The Shaker rocker shown below shares many features and building techniques with the Enfield side chair. For example, the crest rail mortises in the rear legs are routed page 28 before the legs are turned and bent. In this chair, the rear legs are bent from the arms to the top, instead of being canted back, as on the Enfield. The mortises for the back stretchers, rail, and slats are then bored with an electric drill page 32 the mortises must be angled 2 to compensate for the outward splay of the...

Household Articles

Hancock Shaker Step Stool

Used in textile making, this device featured a column and leg design borrowed from the can die stand . Assembled with sturdy through dovetails, these mini-stepiadders enabled Shakers to reach the top shelves and doors of floor-to-ceiling casework three-and four-step versions were also common With their swallowtail joinery and copper tacks, these containers were sold in the thousands to the outside world assembled much like Shaker boxes page 133 Usually made from pine, racks were used to dry tow...

Weaving A Tape Seat

Weaving Tape Seat

Shaker tape, called listing by the Shakers, began to supplant other types of woven seat materials after 1830. Its range of colors, neat appearance, durability, and ease of installation made it ideal for furniture builders bent on producing quality goods as efficiently as possible. And unlike cane or other naturally occurring materials, tape does not dry out or split nor does it pinch or snag clothing. Shown below and on the following pages, weaving is fairly simple. One length of tape, called...

Using a story pole

Woodwork Story Pole

To help you size and prepare the chair legs, mark key dimensions and the location of mortises on a shop-made story pole. Made from a strip of plywood, the story pole shown above includes the length of the front and rear legs, and the placement of the stretcher, rail, and slat mortises. Refer to the side view illustration of the Enfield chair on page 27 for the height of each element. The marks on the jig can then be used to cut the leg blanks to length and outline the mortises on the blanks....

Pegging the mortiseandtenons

Mark peg holes at all four corners of each door frame, centering them on the front face of the rails IV2 inches from the side edge of the door. Install a 5 ie-inch brad-point bit in your drill press, place a backup panel on the machine table to minimize tearout, and set one of the door frames on top, centering a drilling mark under the bit. Adjust the drilling depth to about two-thirds the thickness of the frame. Butt a board against the frame and clamp it in place as an edge guide. Then,...

Making and installing the breadboard ends

Plane the breadboard ends to the same thickness as the top, then saw them as long as the top's width. Cut the grooves along the inside edges of the breadboard ends on your table saw page 62 . The grooves should be as wide as the tongues you routed in step 3 and slightly deeper than their length. Fit the ends in position and counterbore three holes through each one and into the top, locating one hole at the middle and another a few inches from each end. Use a file to elongate the holes in the...

Chairs

Spindle Shaker Chairs

Anticipating modern-day advertisers by more than 100 years, the Shakers proudly promoted their wares to a marketplace of non-believers who were nevertheless poised to purchase quality furniture. As one of their early catalogs proclaimed, Shaker chairs offered durability, simplicity, and lightness. The level of craftsmanship that they attained enabled them to back up their claims. Shaker-made chairs sold well, proving that their business acumen was as well developed as their piety. The Shakers...

Pie Safe

Tin Pie Safe Panels

Pie safes were once common in American kitchens. The one shown at left reflects the Shaker devotion to utility. The cabinets were essentially large bread boxes, designed to store baked goods made and consumed by Shaker families. That the cabinets are elegant and attractive is, in a sense, coincidental, for it is a reflection of the Shakers' spare and utilitarian ethic rather than an expression of esthetics. All property and goods in Shaker communities were owned collectively, to be used as...

Dropleaf Table

Shaker Desktop Joint Legs Woodworking

The Shakers appreciated the versatility of drop-leaf tables. The leaves could be raised when a wider top was needed, and folded down afterward so the table would occupy less space. Shaker drop-leaf tables ranged from 10-foot-long dining tables, sometimes referred to as harvest tables, to small work tables just 2 feet long. At 41 inches long, the table shown in the illustration below is a comfortable compromise. The top can expand to a width of more than 3 feet, seating four people comfortably....

Enfield Side Chair

Shaker Chairs With Rush Seats

The most striking feature of the Enfield side chair is its backward slant of 98 , as shown in the side view on page 27. The design allows the chair to conform to the anatomy of the typical user and provide comfortable seating without needing steam-bent back posts. The slant, however, does present a challenge in executing the joinery. Few of the joints in this chair are cut square most are assembled at compound angles. It is a good idea to refer back to the side and top views as you build the...

Trestle Table

How Build Outdoor Trestle Tables

Despite their large size, trestle tables are easy to move. This is because the joints connecting the feet to the legs, the legs to the rails, and the rails to the top are fixed not by glue, but by screws and bolts. The table shown below relies heavily on knockdown hardware, a modern version of the Shaker practice of assembling tables with bolts that drew against a trapped nut, allowing easy disassembly. Shakers frequently used cherry for their tables this remains a good choice today. To prevent...

Rush Seat

Shaker Furniture

Early Shaker chairs, like the Enfield chair featured on the preceding pages, were finished with rush seats. Traditionally, the rush was natural, consisting of marsh grass twisted into a cord which was woven in a center diamond pattern over the frame. Rush seats are both comfortable and durable, and can be done in an hour and a half or so once you get the knack. This section shows how to rush a chair seat with a more contemporary material tough-grade, fiber paper twisted into long strands, known...

Preparing the back board for the pegs

Starting near one edge of the back board, mark the peg holes along the middle of the stock. The pegs on the board shown at left will be spaced 5 inches apart. Install a 2-inch brad-point bit in your drill press and attach a backup panel to the machine table to minimize tearout. Set the back board on the panel so the first mark is directly under the bit and clamp a board as a guide fence to the table flush against the workpiece. Then, butting the back board against the fence, drill the holes...

Shaker Furniture

TIME-LIFE BOOKS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA THE ART OF WOODWORKING was produced by ST. REMY PRESS Series Editor Series Art Director Senior Editor Editor Art Directors Picture Editor Writers Contributing Writer Contributing Illustrators Administrator Production Manager Coordinator System Coordinator Photographer Indexer Kenneth Winchester Pierre L veill Pierre Home-Douglas Francine Lemieux Marc Cassini Andrew Jones Normand Boudreault, Jean-Pierre Bourgeois, Michel Gigu re H l ne Dion, Jean-Guy Doiron,...

Rs

Raised panels, 94-95, 96 Revolving chairs, 19 Rocking chairs, 19, 24, 25, 38-39 Arms, 41, 42-43 Assembly, 42 Backs listing, 24 Cutting list, 39 Legs, 40, 43 Rockers, 41, 43 Tape seats, 44-47 Routers, 94 Jigs dovetail jigs, 132 sliding dovetails, 57, 81 Raising panels, 94 Rush seats, 34-37 Sewing desks, 20 Shaker boxes. See Boxes Shaker culture, 10,73-17 Shaker style, 6,16-J 7 See also Architecture Shop Tips, 55, 113 Sill cupboards, 21 Sliding dovetail joints, 57 Candle stands, 57, 78, 81-83...

Meetinghouse Bench

Jacobean Furniture Spindle

The meetinghouse bench served as a pew for the Shakers. During services, the faithful would sit and listen to a sermon delivered by an elder. At the close of the meeting, the benches would be moved out of the way and hung from a pegboard page 138 . With the floor cleared, the Shakers' ritual dancing Made of cherry with a pine seat, the meetinghouse bench shown at left is modeled after those used by Shaker worshippers. Because people are larger than they were in the Shakers' time, the seat is...