|Project by farmgeek||posted 07-30-2007 12:37 AM||909 views||0 times favorited||7 comments|
I finally finished these two off. The carcases have been sitting in my workshop for months waiting for drawers and tops and I felt guilty leaving them behind whenever other projects beckoned. They were often referred to as the “eventual tables” as a few folk were concerned they’d never get done.
The style is inspired by classic Shaker design. This is my favourite furniture movement – I love the simple clean lines and the purity of form. The Shakers were a very humble people so didn’t set out to build beautiful furniture but when you combine a passion for outstanding quality with the simplest, most elegant designs, it kind of happens. Pieces like this one were built around the 1850’s and the design hardly changed for 100 years.
In keeping with the historic theme, I used some reclaimed Kauri from a friend’s house renovations. The wood is well over 100 years old and was a joy to work with (once I had removed 100 years of lead based house paint and the ancient square cut nails, but that’s for another post). Kauri weather boards are about 20mm thick and about 220mm wide. Cleaned up they end up pretty close to 3/4 inch thick (18mm) so are perfect for making furniture with.
The legs are joined to the stiles and rails with classic mortise and tenon joints. The drawers are dovetailed like almost every Shaker drawer I’ve ever seen. The legs have a slight taper thanks to a table saw jig I made for the project. I’m sure the Shakers would have approved. They did live by a pretty spartan aesthetic, but were very open to labour saving technologies (they even invented the circular saw).
The finish on the tables is several coats of Danish oil, rubbed with #0000 plastic wool (synthetic steel wool) between coats. The Kauri really comes alive with the Danish oil – my photos really don’t do it justice. I’ve still got quite a bit of Kauri left in the shed and plans for quite a few more pieces of furniture on the drawing board. Looks like I’ll be doing it Shaker style for a while yet.
-- John, Auckland New Zealand - http://www.farmgeek.co.nz