The meaning of "Shaker"

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Forum topic by deon posted 04-04-2010 05:45 PM 1213 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2522 posts in 2570 days

04-04-2010 05:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have seen some real shaker furniture, but maybe too few to give me an idea as to what the word “shaker” means. I know who the Shakers were – they who trembled at the taught of the lord, – but I have a problem of relating what I know about them with the many “shaker” progects that I see on LJ’s

-- Dreaming patterns

9 replies so far

View SKFrog16's profile


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#1 posted 04-04-2010 06:01 PM

Shaker furniture is a distinctive style of furniture developed by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (aka Shakers), a religious sect founded by Jane and James Wardley. They came to America from Manchester, England in 1774 led by Mother Ann Lee

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View FredG's profile


140 posts in 3242 days

#2 posted 04-04-2010 06:12 PM

It’s the way they pray. They’re shaking their body while praying.

-- Fred

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2522 posts in 2570 days

#3 posted 04-04-2010 06:37 PM

OK I have an idea about this,”but I want to know what does a piece of craftmanship have to have to be “shaker”. “A clean line” seems obvious but I want to know the rules that are used to designate the progects I see as “shaker” on LJ’s. I have a whole lot of respect fo the shaker folks and it rancles to see their purity used as a common lable…..............

-- Dreaming patterns

View bayspt's profile


292 posts in 3249 days

#4 posted 04-04-2010 07:27 PM

I have a lot of respect for Queen Ann too. Like any good “Brand Name” it has come to symbolize a type or style. IE let me have a coke, Do you need a Kleenex, use some Vasaline on that, etc. If the Buddhist Monks in Tibet had made a style of furniture, it would be named after them.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View bunkie's profile


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#5 posted 04-04-2010 07:29 PM

For those who don’t know, the circular saw blade may have been invented by Tabitha Babbit, a Shaker, in 1813.

The Shakers left behind a great body of work. From that it’s relatively easy to determine what is truly Shaker in design from what is simply Shaker-inspired.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

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661 posts in 2745 days

#6 posted 04-04-2010 08:48 PM

Shakers believed in form follows function. All their furniture and crafts were devoid of decorations, made from simple woods, such as pine and poplar. Each item was designed for a sole purpose. They were a century ahead of the functionalist movement in the 1900’s.

By the way bayspt, Just FYI & LOL,
I just had to add it.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View lew's profile


11466 posts in 3300 days

#7 posted 04-04-2010 10:13 PM

A Google “Image” search will show many examples of “Shaker Furniture” and “Shaker Style Furniture”. I think UnionLabel said it best when he pointed out that their work was “form follows function”. Simple, solid, without adornments.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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2522 posts in 2570 days

#8 posted 04-05-2010 08:13 AM

Thanks for your replies folks. “Form follows function”: I like that, its something to meditate upon.

-- Dreaming patterns

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2619 days

#9 posted 04-05-2010 03:21 PM

For me, shaker means clean, simple lines, no decorative elements, not very beefy, relatively thin table legs and no stretchers, excellent quality joinery, simple plain, light colored, woods with very little noticeable grain.

You need virtually perfect joinery because you want the table legs to be perfectly perpendicular to the table top without using stretchers.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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