Question about Shaker Design

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Forum topic by Belle City Woodworking posted 02-28-2008 04:19 PM 1302 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Belle City Woodworking

353 posts in 3950 days

02-28-2008 04:19 PM

If you were going to make a shaker style table 24” x 24” how thick would you make the top? How wide would you make the apron? How wide would you make the Breadboard edge? And how tall would you make the legs. (Tapered) It will be used for a kitchen table. My Mom is relocating and she needs a small table for her kitchen and she likes the shaker style tables. Thanks in advance for your help!


-- Formerly known as John's Woodshop

9 replies so far

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 3985 days

#1 posted 02-28-2008 06:57 PM

View TampaTom's profile


74 posts in 3687 days

#2 posted 02-28-2008 09:59 PM

Thomas Moser wrote an excellent book on building Shaker furniture. I’m sure a quick stop to your local library will offer many different resources to search.

-- Tom's Workbench -

View Belle City Woodworking's profile

Belle City Woodworking

353 posts in 3950 days

#3 posted 02-28-2008 10:55 PM

Thanks for the advice guys.


-- Formerly known as John's Woodshop

View Karson's profile


35108 posts in 4334 days

#4 posted 02-28-2008 11:15 PM

Here’s a table that I’ve made with my son Daniel. They were made without breadboard edges.

The top on this table is 22” square, the apron is 4” wide, the legs are 1 1/2” wide at the top and tapering to 1” on the inside surfaces (the outer edges are straight. The top is 3/4” or so but it has a taper to 1/2” at the edge which gives it visually thinner top. It does not have a breadboard top. It is 30” tall to the top surface which is about what my kitchen table is.

If you make it a few inches wider you would have a little more room between the legs to get a chair and your grandmothers legs under the table.

The aprons are 15” long Shoulder to shoulder (visually) But they have tenons into the legs It is 18” to the outside of the legs.

Dan’s was made with white pine, I made mine out of cherry. Mine has a thicker top, closer to 1” thick. I didn’t see any need to planing the wood into sawdust.

Any questions send me a message.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 3987 days

#5 posted 02-29-2008 04:51 AM

Hi John, most of the smaller shaker tables didn’t have breadboards as far as I know. The bigger ones had breadboards to help keep the boards aligned. Anyhow, here’s one I made recently. Shaker Table. The legs are a little beefy, but I made it that way because it’s going to have to hold up a fish tank. Also, the top is 3/4” thick and the apron is 4 5/8”.

Karson’s table legs are a little more typical in proportion as far as shaker design goes.

Todd Clippinger made a lovely hall/entry table that could be scaled to your specs. This is the one that inspired my version, but he says he doesn’t consider it shaker. Looks shaker to me, but I’m just an amateur.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View gus's profile


5 posts in 3674 days

#6 posted 02-29-2008 05:03 AM

True about no breadboard edges on shaker tables. I love shaker – clean lines, functional design and more beautiful (to me) than a bunch of gingerbread you see on a lot of furniture.

Keep it simple, strong, built well, and designed for function first. To me that sums up shaker.

View Belle City Woodworking's profile

Belle City Woodworking

353 posts in 3950 days

#7 posted 02-29-2008 04:20 PM

What degree of taper should I use on the legs for a standard height dining table?


-- Formerly known as John's Woodshop

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 3987 days

#8 posted 02-29-2008 04:44 PM

John: The table I made went from 2 1/8” at the top and tapered down to 1 1/8” at the bottom, but like I said I was going to put a fish tank on it, so thats why the larger size. I think Karsons formula of 1 1/2” at the top down to 1” at the bottom should be fine as long as you use a strong hardwood such as oak. It depends on what the load is going to be. If you make it from pine, I’d upsize the legs for a kitchen table. Hope this helps.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View RJones's profile


316 posts in 4089 days

#9 posted 03-03-2008 12:44 AM

I was actually fortunate enough to visit Hancock Shaker Village last October and get a bunch of photos and not to mention learn a great deal about thier furniture. I would agree with what Karson and Carl have mentioned. I too would keep the top @ 3/4” with a 4” apron. I might even go wider on the apron? I have a ZIP file with probably 50 or 60 photos if you would like shoot me an email and I will get them to you. With any luck I will be posting an article in the next couple weeks all about my visit so…



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