A lightweight table with a marquetry top

From Fine Wixxiworking magazine (September 1987) 66 82-84 Some years ago, Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., was given a collection of antique Chinese export porcelain of such beauty and value that a museum was built to display it. This bequest included several pieces of furniture, among them a pair of small mahogany stands with marquetry tops. The exact age of the stands has not been determined, but similar ones, identified as urn stands, appear in George Hepplewhite's 1794...

A cabinetmaker tackles twoboard construction

Mitered Through Dovetail

A custom cabinetmaker has to be ready to make pieces of furniture that the general marketplace doesn't provide. At the same time, a craftsman is better off doing work that he feels a sympathy for. I had the chance to satisfy both requirements recently when some customers complained that they couldn't find furniture roomy enough to store quilts and other bulky items. Quilting is a popular hobby and home-industry in this part of Kentucky, and even if the quilters themselves didn't need a storage...

Shaker Casework

Shaker Furniture Plans

Simplifying the glories of Sheraton and Chippendale Even though I'm not a Shaker, I've lived most of my life in the Canterbury, N.H., Shaker Village where my stepfather is curator. For several years I was the village's resident cabinetmaker and operated a shop that was open to the public during the summer. Even though the Shaker cabinetmakers were gone by the time I learned my craft, I think the furniture, cabinetry and philosophy they left behind have profoundly influenced me, and that's...

Jigs for machining tapered octagons

Four Post Bed Joinery

The pencil-post bed is a classic form that has been in use for centuries. The high posts were originally designed to hold a canopy frame, or tester pronounced teester , as shown in the photo at right. Before central heating, a canopy was standard equipment and was often accompanied by thick, quilted curtains on all four sides. Drawing the curtains at night created a room within a room designed to conserve warmth and provide privacy. In warm weather, the heavy curtains were replaced by fine lace...

Plastic Knockdown Fittings Interlocking Mechanisms Furniture

Heavy Curtains For Canopy Bed Frame

A roll-top desk combines the best features of a utilitarian workspace with the elegance of a piece of fine furniture. The tambour on the author's oak desk, above, is made with interlocking slats, instead of being the more common cloth-back tambour. 3 - -75 8 - 2 I 23 4 e 7 3Vz A roll-top desk combines the best features of a utilitarian workspace with the elegance of a piece of fine furniture. The tambour on the author's oak desk, above, is made with interlocking slats, instead of being the more...

Retaining the essence of the country style

Barn Style Country Garages Plans

Rails and stiles for all doors are 2Vs in. by Va in. -e-39 - Left door latch is Left door acts as Rails and stiles for all doors are 2Vs in. by Va in. -e-39 - From Fine Woodworking magazine March 1989 75 66-69 radius, _ , V4 in. Door spacer strip shaped to engage catch in shelf, catch for right door latch. Left door latch is Left door acts as . Molding is held in place f by countersunk brads. Right stile overlaps left stile by Va in. Reground shaper cutter cuts tongue to fit standard groove...

The way to a chair is to mind your flats and squares

Flat Sketch For Furniture Making

Chippendale chairs come in a profusion of designs ladder-backs, Gothic backs, pretzel backs, some with ball-and-claw feet, some with intricate carving and detailing. The list could go on and on. Yet there's really only one Chippendale chair, because all the variations hang on a common framework. If you can master the chair in this article it's not really difficult you should be able to see your way clear to building any of the others. This particular design can be found in The Philadelphia and...

Soft rock from hardwoods

Hard Rock Maple Planed Smooth

Rear leg post, VA in. dia., tapers to 7 in. dia. beginning above armrest. Front leg post, V i in. dia., tapers to VA in. dia. beginning here. After building more than 100 rocking chairs, I've developed a rather non-scientific approach for designing and constructing attractive, strong and comfortable rockers from green hardwoods. My first rocking chair was a straight ladderback chair fit on runners copied from an old chair I liked. Although I was able to construct the chair fairly quickly, I...

Provincial Crner Cupboard

Corner cupboards have long been popular for transforming useless room corners into efficient storage areas that seem to blend right into the walls. Even though these triangular pieces were designed to be purely functional, early craftsmen couldn't resist turning them into beautiful showcases of their own skill. Often they added distinctive touches like the arched panel doors on the cupboard shown above, which is now in the Great Hall of the Tuckahoe Plantation in Richmond, Va. The simplicity of...

Joinery and design considerations

Traditional Furniture Projects

Anyone who has worked with wood knows that building a piece of furniture involves a series of decisions, from choice of wood, to design and construction details, to selecting the final finish. Even if you build identical pieces over a period of years, you'll probably find yourself making small changes each time perfecting the proportions, or perhaps just exploring different joineries. In this article, I'll discuss the range of decisions and processes involved in designing and building a chest...

Shaping a pedestal without a lathe

Wood Filler Plywood Edge

Screw near pedestal keeps top centered. Shape filler blocks with round-bottom plane to blend with leg. Position filler blocks so planing is easiest top to bottom When cutting bevels on legs and filler blocks, leave blunt point for easier glue-up. Elongate hole to accommodate expansion and contraction of top. To my taste, the Shakers developed the finest pedestal tables. I'm particularly fond of the cherry table made at Hancock, Mass., Shaker Village around 1830. The transition along die leg, up...

Simple construction in the Southern tradition

This simple desk was about all there was to some of the early post offices in rural settlements of 19th-century Virginia. Local woodworkers built die desks with a wide variety of native hard and soft woods, and the design often reflected their whimsey. The maker of the piece shown here is unknown, but the desk was almost certainly made in Grottoes, Va., or in a nearby village in the Shenandoah Valley. Not fancy but well made, this walnut desk can afford a few-subtle refinements without losing...

A tradition captures the imagination of contemporary makers

Tension Engineering

Tapers on legs and posts ensure gap-free fits even if sizes are slightly off. Tapered foot design allows length adjustments after assembly, unlike ball-foot and other designs. Similarly, tapered back spindles allow trimming after assembly, allowing for minor variations in back curves and spindle lengths. Forward position of back bow in seat creates a triangle with the center spindles, swinging the crest rail's load downward to convert backward shear force on center spindles into the compressive...

Building a Sengebenk

Norwegian bench with built-in storage From Fine Woodworking magazine January 1990 80 42-47 Fig. 2 Cross section through rear of Sengebenk Fig. 2 Cross section through rear of Sengebenk Bottom bracket screwed to front and rear rails. Bottom bracket screwed to front and rear rails. The sengebenk is a traditional piece of Norwegian furniture used for sitting, sleeping and storage. Because old Norwegian farm houses were small, much of the furniture was designed to be multi-purpose. The sengebenk...

Building an adjustable music stand

Traditional Vertical Warping Mill

V2 x 30-in. shell auger inserted through hollow tailstock. Wooden handle or Jacobs chuck holds auger as point is pushed into stock. . Avoid glue-ups where grain and growth-ring patterns point at glueline. Glueline on the quartergrain is less conspicuous. Copper-pipe T-fitting fits lathe tool rest. Arrange stock so growtn rings form uniform pattern. ft Scrap used to align square groove during glueup becomes turning mandrel for square spindle. 1-in. collar bears against endgrain. Turn mandrel to...

Contents

Add a removable leaf when company comes A lightweight table with a marquetry top Delicate inlay fans life into a traditional piece Hidden compartments for special seasonings Locking drawers and a drop-front secretaire Interlocking slats form an all-wood tambour Simple construction in the Southern tradition A cabinetmaker tackles two-board construction A keep-all scaled down to fit any room Simplifying the glories of Sheraton and Chippendale Retaining the essence of the country style A Norwegian...

Educated guesses fill in the gaps

Carlyle Lynch Contour Tracer

Analyzing antiques is part detective work, some guesswork and much careful measurement. Lynch finds a 6-in. sliding ride good for measuring small pieces like drawers and as a caliper to gauge thicknesses. The ICydrawer mahogany case he's examining is one of the jewels hidden in Duncan Phyfe's tool chest. days when hand tools were the only tools. Otherwise, you'll never grasp what's hidden by veneers, moldings and thick layers of yellowed finishes. Surprisingly, if your skills at reassuring...

Through tenons and scribed cope joints

Antebellum Furniture Reproductions

The New Hampshire seacoast region where I live was one of the first to be settled by the early colonists. By the 18th century, Portsmouth was a busy port and a commercial center. Local merchants and sea captains invested their wealth in elegant homes, many of which still stand today. Thanks to a renewed interest in restoring these fine homes, about half of my woodworking business consists of making authentic period moldings, sash, trim and doors, mostly with traditional hand tools. In this...

Interlocking slats form an allwood tambour

Old Desk Front Elevation

I can recall my first encounter with a roll-top desk. My parents and I were visiting my uncle's home and were impressed with all the compartments and little drawers in his desk. Many years have passed since that visit, and 1 now realize that the greatest asset of a roll-top desk is not all the storage areas provided by the drawers and pigeon holes, but the tambour curtain that can be drawn over the working area to transform a cluttered utility desk into an elegant piece of furniture. Before...

Keepall scaled down to fit any room

Joining Rail Stile Construction Corners

All you need to build complex pieces of furniture is persistence and a command of basic joinery techniques. For me, learning woodworking has been a matter of reading, studying antique cabinetry and, most of all. lots of practice. My first and only woodworking class was in the fifth grade, when I learned to use basic hand tools and a bandsaw to make cutting boards and other simple objects. It wasn't until a few years ago that I began to build, in a serious way, on those elementary skills. So...

A thcentury Chest

17th Century Dovetailed Travelers Chest

Scooping curves -j with a scrub plane ft This 17th-century travelers' chest looks coopered, but it's actually carved from three planks. Handforged hardware, above, accents the chest's dovetails, adding to its French flavor. You can antique commercial hardware by hammering it, then blackening it with linseed oil ignited with a propane torch. When I began woodworking, I never guessed it would lead me back to Samuel de Champlain's search for the Northwest Passage in the 1600s. But for the last...

Delicate inlay fans life into a traditional piece

Wood Stringing Inlay Design

At an antiques show, a small mahogany Hepplewhite chest with a delicate fan inlay beckoned me. The owners let me measure and draw it, but we haven't been able to learn much more about this beautiful unsigned piece, except that it came from an old home in Fauquier County, the heart of Virginia's horse country. The owners presume that the chest was made nearby in the old port city of Alexandria. Overland transport of heavy lumber was so difficult two hundred years ago that most mahogany furniture...

Hidden compartments for special seasonings

Military Campaign Chest Trunk

In Colonial times, the spices we take for granted today were rare commodities brought to America at great expense on sailing vessels. The people affluent enough to buy spices would commission local craftsmen to build exquisite little chests of drawers for storing their spices and other valuables. Some spice boxes were scaled-down versions of high chests others, like the William-and-Mary chest below, were decorated with elaborate inlays. The spice box was most popular in Europe and the Colonies...

Locking drawers and a dropfront secretaire

Strip Pattern Furniture Slipcovers

For more than 300 years, cabinetmakers on the island of Bermuda have been designing personal decorative dovetail patterns to join the carcases of their chests-on-frames. Because I was living in Bermuda when I built the Wellington campaign chest shown in the photo above, 1 followed this tradition and designed my own sunburst variation for the carcase dovetails. Named after the first Duke of Wellington the British commander known for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo , Wellington chests are made to...