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REAL shaker book or info needed please!

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Forum topic by Aeneas61 posted 07-27-2015 08:57 PM 914 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Aeneas61

3 posts in 502 days


07-27-2015 08:57 PM

I am wanting to get into building traditional shaker furniture and want to know the best book to read.

I want all hand tool methods, and old school joinery. Many bits and pieces are everywhere, but many details are difficult to find i.e.. everyone will show you how to cut dovetails and mortise and tenons, but how were cabinet tops attached? or desk tops? what is the most traditional table joinery?

I really want to stay away from metal fasteners and don’t want to rely on glue or biscuit joints (no offense)

Ive seen some books with line drawings, but they shy away from these very specific areas in my questions, I don’t want to read an entire book just to know for sure how the tops of things attach!

Anyone with insight or experience please help!

I want to learn pre industrial joinery, figure shaker is a good way to start. Don’t think I’m up to the challenge of Ming dynasty joinery yet, though Ive read it was about the best?

Thanks to all!
Josh


13 replies so far

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JADobson

682 posts in 1579 days


#1 posted 07-27-2015 09:18 PM

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Matt

137 posts in 1350 days


#2 posted 07-28-2015 02:22 AM

“Country Furniture” by Aldren Watson would be helpful. While not focusing on Shaker furniture, it has loads of information about pre-Industrial Revolution furniture making. I found it while searching for books on Shaker furniture.

http://www.amazon.com/Country-Furniture-Aldren-A-Watson/dp/0393327779

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mountainaxe

130 posts in 1973 days


#3 posted 07-28-2015 10:49 AM

“Shop Drawings of Shaker Furniture & Woodenware”, Volumes 1, 2, 3, by Ejner Handberg, is a classic.

http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Drawings-Shaker-Furniture-Woodenware/dp/0881507776

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

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jdh122

879 posts in 2285 days


#4 posted 07-28-2015 12:31 PM

You may be romanticizing Shaker construction methods a bit – they certainly used glue in their joinery and machinery in the construction. And I’d bet (but may be wrong on this) that they were not averse to metal fasteners in a few places (like attaching table tops). This doesn’t mean that you have to follow their use of power tools but you may have to use glue and even the occasional screw.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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JADobson

682 posts in 1579 days


#5 posted 07-29-2015 04:51 AM

Jeremy is right. The book I suggested above says that many of their pieces were nailed together.

-- James

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runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1493 days


#6 posted 07-29-2015 07:04 AM

Shakers were not averse to machinery in their woodworking. In fact, a Shaker woman invented the circular saw, which of course would have been powered by a water power mill.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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Aeneas61

3 posts in 502 days


#7 posted 07-31-2015 06:55 PM

I may have romanticized them too much, does anyone know of traditional methods for joining table/desk/cabinet tops to carcases or frames which do not use nails? Is this the only way to do it? Do I have to invent a joint?

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jdmaher

384 posts in 2047 days


#8 posted 07-31-2015 07:09 PM

Generally, “top” structures sit on the “base” structures and are held in place by gravity.

It could be that a “top” is too heavy – and you’d worry about tipping. Or too light, and you’d worry about it sliding around.

For a heavy top, a board or two that spans the top and bottom pieces, nailed or screwed to the back of both, should hold it in place.

For a lightweight top, I’d nail or screw into the bottom of the top piece.

Some designs use a more structural element or moulding attached to the bottom piece that “captures” three or four sides of the bottom of the top piece. Or vice versa; e.g., legs with aprons and a set of blocks on the underside of the top desk structure.

But these are just generalizations. If you have a specific project in mind, perhaps someone could offer a more specific suggestion.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

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jdh122

879 posts in 2285 days


#9 posted 07-31-2015 07:16 PM

All of the ways I know of for joining tabletops to frames require screws to allow the top to move seasonally. The most traditional way is to make a wooden cleat that fits into the rail around the table, but it still requires one screw to attach the cleat to the tabletop. It would be possible to glue a top to a cabinet top, as long as the carcasse was oriented in the right way.
I suppose you could rig up a sliding dovetail somehow to attach a trestle tabletop (and only glue it in the middle). Or make a table without a frame, as I did in this table http://lumberjocks.com/projects/98116 but it wouldn’t be strong enough for a very large table.
But maybe Chinese woodworkers have something that works.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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theoldfart

8139 posts in 1919 days


#10 posted 07-31-2015 09:40 PM

Look for John Kassay “The Book of Shaker Furniture”. It has a number of pieces with cut lists and dimensions along with photographs of similar items for each one that is detailed. I just picked it up so still perusing it.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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Aeneas61

3 posts in 502 days


#11 posted 08-01-2015 12:03 AM

hmmm well i guess one could make a table with dovetailed or plain tenons entering a thick top such as a roubo workbench, or the top could be one or more panels which attach to tenons coming up from the legs or car-case corners (i believe this is how chinese tables were attached)

View ste6168's profile

ste6168

250 posts in 639 days


#12 posted 09-07-2015 09:28 PM



hmmm well i guess one could make a table with dovetailed or plain tenons entering a thick top such as a roubo workbench, or the top could be one or more panels which attach to tenons coming up from the legs or car-case corners (i believe this is how chinese tables were attached)

- Aeneas61

Why re-invent the wheel? Just wondering why you are so against using a screw?

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leatherstocking

22 posts in 520 days


#13 posted 09-08-2015 12:30 AM

Some ancient craftsman must have figured this out. When were nails invented?

-- John, BC, Canada. Wherever I go, there I am.

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