Furniture Craft Plans
American Furniture Design Co. has brought together some of the country's best furniture makers to offer their designs in plan form. Participating artists include Del Cover, Garry Knox Bennett, William Ralston, Greg Harkins and AWs own contributing editor, Windsor chairmakcr Mike Dunbar. To order a catalog, send 3 to American Furniture Design Co., Box 300100, Escondido, CA 92030. The American Furniture Design Co. offers furniture plans for the ambitious hobbyist. Projects include a loveseat by Paul Reiber (right) and a desk and chair by Roger Heitzman (below).
Most of the wood chisels sold and owned today arc bevel edge cabinetmaker's chisels (See photo, left). Available in standard widths ranging from Vi to 1 lA in., they can handle a variety of everyday cutting tasks, including cutting mortises and paring tenons. If you're a serious woodworker who appreciates hand tools, you may want to look into a set of mortising chisels, which have thicker shanks and wider, shock-resistant handle butts. Better quality chisels are made with hardened steel that hold an edge for a long time. The main differences are in handle material, size and feel. If investing in a set of quality chisels, make sure the ones you choose feel comfortable and well balanced in your hand.
Iron-on edge banding is a modern cabinetmaker's best friend. Ii quickly covers the raw edges of veneered sheet stock, saving lots of time compared with traditional glued-on solid wood edging. It takes a finish in the same way as your veneered sheet stock does. Its many uses include covering edges of shelves, doors and frameless cabinet components. Edge banding is not, however, a substitute for solid wood trim on edges that can get physical damage, such as on a tabletop. Impact from chair backs, for instance, would damage its thin veneer.
THERE is no miniature furniture that children so delight in as a desk, where they can work like grown-up folks, and have pads and pencils never to be loaned or lost, and a real air of adult industry. Children not only enjoy a small desk, but actually work better at one. To please the young mind it is necessary to make things for work or play along simple lines. Children are essentially primitive, and resent fnssy over-ornamentation which they do not understand. For this reason, it is inevitable that they should like Craftsman furniture, and, as a matter of fact, they always do. A child's Craftsman desk, which is very simple in construction, is a very worth-while desk to little members of the family who would also even enjoy helping to make it.
For those who take pleasure in reproducing and living with Early American furniture, this striking example of an eighteenth-century harvest table will surely prove to be an irresistible project. With both leaves raised, it provides a generous 45 x 72 dining surface yet with the leaves down it takes up relatively little space. Most armless dining chairs will tuck in under the leaves for more efficient storage.
DESIGNS and working drawings for one or two articles of bedroom furniture have been asked for by some of our friends interested in home cabinet work, so we here present two pieces not included among the designs for bedroom furniture already published, but in harmony with them, so that all easily might form one set. The shaving stand shown on this page is a simply-made but substantial little affair, with the usual sturdy mortise-and-tenon construction that is decorative as well as useful. A small cupboard is provided to hold the larger shaving utensils, and a drawer where the razors may be kept free from dust and moisture. The shav-ing-glass is supported on a firmly braced standard, held in place by a stout wooden pin. Knobs of wood are used on drawer and cupboard door instead of metal pulls.
The Fine Woodworking Program at Bucks County Community CoAege b a ful-tkne, two-year program with an emphasis on furniture design and construction. The work you see here was bult by students during the 1990-91 school year. For more information about the program, contact Mark Sfirri, Fine Woodworking Program, Bucks County Community Coiege, Swamp Road, Newtown, PA 18940, (215) 968-8425.
Eighteenth-century English cabinetmakers worked with mahogany cut in the West Indies and Central America. This variety, referred to as Honduras mahogany, is the proper type for reproduction of fine period English and American furniture. Many lumber dealers stock Philippine mahogany, which is not really a mahogany but a type of tropical cedar called Luan or Bataan. This is a lightweight, soft wood, not suitable for most furniture. It is good for shelving, veneering of flush door panels, and boat planking. You may also come across African mahogany, a tough, hard wood, quite handsome with its dark reddish color. This type is often used in boat construction.
FROM the time a child graduates from a crib, this design of a small Craftsman bed is appropriate. It is made after the new spindle pattern which is so popular in other models of Craftsman furniture. Although having the effect of a grown-up bed, it is, nevertheless, enough smaller than the standard adult size to delight a child for years. This bed is planned to be made in the most substantial fashion, and is put together in the same durable way as the finest piece of grown-up furniture. It is made low so that a child can easily get in and out without help. As with all other children's furniture, the home cabinet-maker is advised to finish as carefully as possible to avoid any injury to little nursery folk. The most complete detail for the making of this piece of furniture is given in the working plan on the opposite side of the page.
This particular design is similar to one featured by Lester Margon in his fine book American Furniture Treasures. Our design has been scaled down for use as an end or occasional table, and the joinery has been revised to include the use of dowel pins instead of the original mortise-and-tenon construction. Skilled woodworkers who enjoy the challenge of the more difficult mortise-and-tenon joinery may substitute these joints, keeping in mind the fact that the mortises for the end rails must be cut in at an angle of 84 degrees to the inside face of each leg. This operation can best be done with a drill press. Tenons must also be mitered to butt against the adjoining tenons of the side rails.
Nothing quite matches the elegance of walnut, and (his contemporary serving tray is handsome enough to be displayed on a wall. The project is designed to provide an introduction to the fascinating but often maligned art of veneering. For those who believe that veneer work is a hallmark of inferior furniture, we respectfully submit that the museums of America and Europe arc full of the most outstanding examples of the cabinetmaker's art, and a good deal of it is veneered. An eighteenth-century English kneehole desk completely veneered in walnut burls is a thing of unforgettable beauty.
The fastenings, joinery, and tool marks on this piece date it probably to the early nineteenth century. The nicely turned legs are cherry all other parts are clear pine. We would guess that it was built by a skilled country cabinetmaker. The unpinned mortise and tenon joints are still perfectly tight and the dovetail joints are carefully filled, though the glue has failed on the rear corners of the drawer.
Shaker furniture maker Isaac N. Youngs built six wall clocks. Three of them are in the collection at the Hancock Shaker Village near Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The design looks as fresh today as it did in 1840 proof that the Shakers were correct in their belief that beauty rests on utility.
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Easy to make. Computer generated. Catalog 3. Lake Superior Design. Box 751. Grand Marais, MN 55604-0751. FULL-SIZE PROFESSIONAL PIANS. catalog S3. Over 200 professionally designed plans for building fine furniture. Furniture Designs Inc., CN-17, 1827 Elmdale Ave., Glen-view. II. 60025.
Ninety years after it lirst swept across the United States. merican Arts and (rafts furniture is in a revival that shows no sign of weakening. Hntire magazines and books, as well as the work ot hundreds of furniture makers, are devoted to the style that has come to be known in its various finni-* a Craftsman, Vision Greene and Greene. Arts and Crafts or Stick J ey furniture. The furniture is so prevalent and powerful that it has come to seem distinctly American. But the ideas and forms of Arts and ( rafts were born and bred in England and made their way to America later, in the notebooks of designers who visited there.
Building this a n t i q u e i n s p i r e d table its a faithful reproduction that even our forebears would appreciate
Small, single-drawer tables have been a favorite of furniture makers and their patrons for generations. They range in style from prairie primitives to city sophisticates. It's this broad capacity for variation that attracts many of us to these tables in the first place, not to mention that their compact size fits into virtually every home. This is also the type of project that makes a great gift, because it doesn't take weeks of time to complete, yet it reflects sincerity of purpose. If you have basic lathe skills, you can tackle it in a weekend.
Roger Combs has a BA in Industrial Arts, with a concentration in furniture design and construction. This piece is used as a writing desk for a psychiatrist. The table top is solid zebrawood with wenge ends. The legs are bandsawn veneer with wenge caps and stretcher. All joinery is hand-fit mortise and tenon, with no mechanical fasteners.
Few furniture designers lay claim to inspirations that range from cartoons by Walt Disney, Dr. Seuss and Warner Brothers to architect Frank Gehry and designer Phillipe Starck. Judson Beaumont's furniture designs manage to embrace both form and function. Pieces like his Boom
Many English Arts and Crafts designers moved to the country. Edward Barnsley. a second-generation Arts and Crafts furniture maker, lived in this cottage and worked in the attached shop. Vovscv's furniture, in solid wood, tends toward the simple lines and purity of materials that characterizes what Americans now kn as Craftsman furniture. He eneralh Inuh in Austrian oak and left the wood plain and unpolished. Vovsey relied on subtle detailing such as legs chamfered gradually from square to octagonal. H sometimes used I1' ass strap iing ind pien ed p nels f add inten st to i . ibinet or dresser, but tl o eral forms w r gen i tIK Shak i in their clean simplicity- bottom photo, te u , Voysev took ro heart Morns'insis fence on good craftsmanship, but he didn't get involved with handwork himself. He signed his furniture on papi r and let-cabinetmakers do the building.
I eff I-ohr, a furniture maker in Pennsylvania, uses the space I above his workbench to store wood and furniture parts. Staggered shelves give him great storage flexibility. Because he mounted his shelf racks to the ceiling and wall, the area underneath is unimpeded by support posts.
1 Crescent wrench. 2 Vise-grip pliers. 3 Japanese saw-file. 4 Dowel centers. 5 Dowl-it doweling jig. 6 Mallet. 7 Cabinetmaker's hammer. 8 Sharpening stones. 9 Screwdrivers (slotted- and Phillips-head). 1 Crescent wrench. 2 Vise-grip pliers. 3 Japanese saw-file. 4 Dowel centers. 5 Dowl-it doweling jig. 6 Mallet. 7 Cabinetmaker's hammer. 8 Sharpening stones. 9 Screwdrivers (slotted- and Phillips-head). Hammer A cabinetmaker's hammer traditionally has one .slightly crowned face for nailing and one cross-peened face for starting small brads without hitting your fingers. ( 17 to 20)
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF A CABINETMAKER'S C H E S T Like the sides, the tool-chest bottom was also made from 1 -in. pine, but instead of using a single-width plank (which could shrink and pull loose from the nails), many cabinetmakers chose to tongue and groove the edges and to run the boards from the front to the back of the box. Though these floor boards were simply nailed to the bottom edge of each
Another effective way to build versatility and mobility into a standing tool cabinet is to center the design around the concept of modular construction. In this scheme a large cabinet can be built up from a series of integrated, stacking modules. Remembering how in centuries past, Europeans kept their valuables in stackable fire boxes' so they could be instantly carried out of a burning house, cabinetmaker Reinhold Faeth, of Heiligenberg-Steigen, Germany, created this tall standing tool cabinet from a set of four relatively small chests. To ensure the stability of the stacked assembly, he successively reduced the width of the boxes and angled back their faces. These angled faces take advantage of the force of gravity to hold the doors open at a full 180 .
Even cabinetmaker I know strives to devise techniques and tricks to make cutting dovetails easier and more accurate. I'm no exception. To help me perfect my dovetailing skills. I've made or modified a few hand tools, including sheet metal templates, a spear-point chisel, a triangular cross-section chisel, and a no-set' hacksaw with a custom-made handle.
Now, the traditional cabinetmaker's wisdom is that the optimum slope for a dovetail in softwoods is 1 in 6, and in hardwoods 1 in 8. (The difference in slope stems from the fact that softwood cells compress more easily, and so require a steeper slope.) Let's convert those traditional slope ratios to the bit maker's angles 1 in 8 is 7 degrees, and 1 in 6 is 9 degrees. The standard 14-degree bit works out to a 1 in 4 slope. Pretty steep.
For ten years, furniture maker Andy Rae, of Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania, ruminated on the idea of building a standing tool chest that would be large and complex enough to contain the bulk of his hand tools. Finally, with the acquistion of five beautiful matched flitches of Honduras mahogany and a few prize tiger-maple boards, the time had arrived. Gathering together the tools to be stored, he arranged them in various groupings, measuring them until he finally got the design down on paper. Then the fun began. Rae's cabinet features holly and ebony inlay and ebony handles (left).The Honduras mahogany veneer on the doors is thick enough to create raised panels the coved drawer face (above) mimics waist molding in traditional furniture designs. Photo by John Hamel.
Tim Kimack's tool chest is modeled after traditional master cabinetmaker's chests of the early 19th century. Photo by Vincent Laurence. While for me these experiences are often reason enough to build a period piece, there is at least one strictly practical reason that might entice you to go to the trouble of building a traditional-style tool chest Such a box offers you one of the most secure ways to keep and to transport a cherished set of hand tools. In size, shape, and construction, a traditional joiner's chest is ideally suited to this purpose. And even if you intend only to display your tools, a classic cabinetmaker's or machinist's chest offers you the most authentic manner in which to do so. A Cabinetmaker's Chest Built with Hand Tools Finish carpenter and furniture maker Tim Kimack, of Simi Valley, California, added to the challenge of building a typical early 19th-century master cabinetmaker's chest by using only hand tools to do so. Though he lost track of his hours after...
Roberto Lavadie, a lifelong resident of Taos, is one of the master New Mexican furniture makers active today. His designs are adapted from traditional forms and motifs of the early Spanish and Pueblo Indian cultures of the region, and his work ranges from small, carefully carved jewelry boxes, to furniture, to the largest altar screen in the U.S. a four-story-high extravaganza he built for the St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe.
AA hen cabinetmaker Jerry Hillenburg, of Martinsville, Indiana, set out to make a toolbox to carry his tools and supplies to the job site, he didn't fool around. Instead, he built the utimate rolling tool tote one with a motor in it. Hillenburg's tool box is a 1992 3 i-ton Ford van carefully fitted out to hold an astonishing array of tools, totes and accessories everything, in fact, that Hillenburg's four-man crew needs to run architectural moldings, hang doors and install his custom cabinets and built-in furniture.Yet looking into the doors of the van, I was amazed to see the large amount of open space. There is plenty of room to get around, browse through boxes and occassionally haul materials or a cabinet in need of repair back to the shop. (Hillenburg hauls cabinetry and most materials in an enclosed cargo trailer.)
We n the students of the cabinet and furniture-making program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, Massachusetts, have completed their six-week introduction to the fundamentals of drafting and benchwork, they are given the opportunity to embark upon their first start-to-finish project the building of a tool chest. Drawing on the techniques used in period furniture designs to create hidden compartments. J. Fischer disguised the side trays containing his chisels as pilaster moldings. A drop lid slides open to reveal the drawers.
These early furniture makers used mortise-and-tenon joinery, with square pegs or wedges to keep the joints tight in the arid climate. Carpinteros, as the craftsmen were called, relieved the massive boards of some of their visual weight by carving their surfaces with Spanish and Moorish motifs such as pomegranates, rosettes, shells, lions and scallops. Other embellishments included heavy grooves and cutouts along table aprons and bottom rails, and hand-carved spindles and splats inspired by the window grilles popular in Spain. New Mexican furniture making languished between 1900 and 1920 as the need for furniture was met by factory-produced imports. But interest in traditional New Mexican style arose Chair built for the Museum of Fine again with the con Arts in Santa Fe in 1917 is a fine struction of the Fine example of Spanish-Revival-period Arts Museum in Santa furniture, with its Craftsman-style Fe. in 1915. joinery and proportions. embodied Spanish Colonial and Pueblo Indian motifs...
The m onumental scale of some of the rooms in the house led principal architect Peter Bohtm and me to these furniture designs. We needed sizable legs and cross members so that the furniture wouldn't seem lost agamst me 9-tn. square columns that frame the house. We also designed overlapping and penetrating infections to match the Arts-and-Crafts or Japanese-like joinery seen throughout the home it was clear early on that Erk Keii understood the styles that we were trying to create. A MEETING OF MINDS. Furniture maker Eric Keil (nght) and architect Ro&ert McLaughlin discuss concerns about the sofa table's design.
HARRINGTON is a 1994 graduate of the Cabinet and Furniture Making Program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, Massachusetts. She maintains a furniture studio, where she works on one-of-a-kind commissions and speculative pieces. Her speculative work combines her background as a feltmaker with her more recently acquired woodworking skills. RICH PREISS teaches furniture design and woodworking at the College ol Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he is the Director of Laboratories. A former consulting editor for Fine Woodworking magazine, lie designs, writes about and builds furniture. SCOTT SCHMIDT has been making custom furniture for twenty years. After attending art school, he restored Colonial houses and began making furniture (The Button Factory, 855 Islington St., Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-436-6555).
He Boston Museum of Fine Arts is emerging as one of the strongest forces encouraging the development of handcrafted furniture in the United States. In 1975. the museum began purchasing seating made by practicing woodworkers to be used by the public in the halls of the museum as a part of its Please Be Seated program. This was followed by its 1977 show Contemporary Works by Master Craftsmen. Now the museum has given us New American Furniture The Second Generation of Studio Furniture Makers. For this show, the museum asked 26 furniture makers to make pieces, each using as an inspiration for their design, an historic piece of furniture from the museum's collection. Despite the fact that the new designs were based on antique forms, the exhibition tells us a great deal about present trends in studio furniture making. were Rick W rig ley, Wendy St ay man, Richard Newman. Kristina Madsen, and Timothy Philbrick. An observer unfamiliar with the history of furniture design might very well take...
The Peter Joseph Gallery, a leading New York gallery of American studio furniture, has closed its doors after six years in business. The gallery represented many of America's most prominent furniture makers, including Wendell Castle, Garry Knox Bennett, Rosanne Somerson and Wendy Maruyama.
So why isn't poplar popular with furniture makers The answer is simple The wood is just plain homely. Its color ranges from pale yellowish white to an odd shade of green, and boards are often discolored by dark gray or purplish streaks. To top it off, poplar doesn't stain well with traditional wood stains. In fact it can get ugly really fast because it blotches so easily. About the only time furniture makers use poplar as a primary wood is when the piece is going to be painted. Poplar has too many desirable furniture-making qualities to be limited to paint-grade service. Fortunately, by using a special approach, it's possible to make this ugly duckling glow beautifully. This process will transform poplar's odd green color to any brown wood tone you like. However, dark streaks will still show they'll need to be avoided or placed strategically in the design and called character.
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Several decades ago, furniture maker David Powell, now of Easthampton, Massachusetts, went to work in the renowned workshops of Edward Barnsley in Froxfield, England. Surrounded by master woodworkers who had learned and refined their skills in the Arts and Crafts era that flowered in the early years of this century, Powell received a rich, inspiring education that left him with a lifelong dedication to fine woodworking. Yet when it came time for him to build a chest for his hand tools, he passed over the traditional cabinetmaker's chests that surrounded him. Instead, he struck out on his own to design and build a box uniquely suited to his needs. For Powell, the classic chest wouldn't do-he felt the layered storage
New England is a wonderful classroom for anyone interested in traditional building methods. Visits to the Strawbery Banke Museum, in Portsmouth, NH, Vermont's Shelburne Museum, and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts provided excellent examples of early American furniture. Historical associations like the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (141 Cambridge St., Boston, MA 02114 617-227-3956) also contributed to my education. And I discovered some indispensable reference books, most notably Asher Benjamin's The American Builder's Companion. Wallace Nutting's Furniture Treasury and the series, The Architectural Treasures of Early America. The table's simple, three-board top, held flat with breadboard ends, rests on the base with distinctively broad overhangs at the ends. Its stance is sturdy but also graceful yet another example of the well-resolved proportions used by Colonial furniture makers.
Whether in solid wood or man-made board, joints can only be cut from flat, square and dimensioned stock. But the differences begin with the very first saw cut. Since industrial boards are manufactured oversize, there's no reference edge to use as a guide. The factory edge is not bad, but it's not good enough for furniture making. Industrial users reduce the material with vertical panel saws, sliding-bed tablcsaws, or sliding-bcam saws. Unlike the standard table-saw, these machines can crcatc a straight edge without the use of a fence, so they don't have to refer to the existing edge of the workpiece.
While making the transition from hobbyist woodworker to full-time commercial furniture maker, Eric Smith, of Sacramento, California, set out to create a small, simple, one-hand tote for a selection of hand tools. Two hundred hours later, an impressive case built from Honduras mahogany and trimmed in pao ferro (see the photo above right) emerged from Smith's workshop.
While we know quite a bit about how cabinetmaker's chests were built, we know very little about how they were used on a daily basis. To a modern woodworker (myself included), the chests look clunky. Having to crouch down and grope about in a deep, dark box, sliding the tills and drawers to and fro to get at a single tool, seems awkward and time-consuming. At first I speculated that at the start of each workday, the cabinetmaker would remove the tools he thought he would need for that day's tasks. To maximize efficiency, he would then either place them on his workbench or set them nearby on an open shelf. But after talking to several researchers and to one woodworker who has spent many years working out of a traditional chest, 1 came to a different conclusion. While it's possible that many tools may have been left out in a one-man or a small family-type shop (sec the photo of the Dominy family's shop on p. 64), it seems more likely that most cabinetmakers worked out of their toolboxes...
It's a good bet that the first finish you ever brushed on wood was an oil varnish. For centuries, varnish has been the finish of choice for furniture makers. To this day, it remains a very durable, very beautiful, casy-to-apply coating that holds its own among all the high-tech plastics available for finishing wood. In this column, I'll tell you a bit about this versatile finish and how to apply it successfully with a brush.
Typically, sheet goods are used for casework (boxes and cabinets). Butt joints reinforced with screws, biscuits, dowels, splines or pocket screws are common, although rabbet and dado joints come in handy as well. A furniture-maker works mostly in hardwood with structures that depend on small, fitted joints, like dovetails, mortises and half-laps that need to be both strong and pleasing to the eye.
Though starkly plain on the outside, a cabinetmakers chest when opened often reveals the epitome ol the craftsman's art. This extraordinary example is attributed to an anonymous ship builder who lived somewhere on the Maine coast in the last century. Toolbox courtesy of Stern Spirt photo by Susan Kahn. Enter the Golden Age The Cabinetmakers Chest increasing numbers of experienced cabinetmakers were emigrating from England and elsewhere to set up shops. Workmen offloading a heavy, trunk-like chest from the back of a wagon and trundling it into a new woodworking shop was a common sight along the bustling boardwalks. Unlike the ship's boxes of the early woodworkers or the chests of the itinerant carpenters, the toolboxes of specialized cabinetmakers were so large and heavy that it took at least two men to carry them. Luckily, they weren't moved often. The toolbox normally sat next to the workbench, unless the craf tsman These stoutly built cabinetmaker's chests looked plain, hiding...
O First you need to decide what sort of items you want to turn. Spindle turners planning to make furniture parts will need a machine with a bed at least 36 in. long to accommodate most leg and post stock. A bowl turner will want a heavy machine with at least a 16-in. swing capacity (spindle height 8 in. above the lathe's bed), a minimum ' 2-HP motor, and speeds as low as 200 rpm. A model maker would be well served by one of the new mini lathes. (See AW 52.) Production-oriented pros should consider a duplicating lathe. In short, match the machine to the job.
You can upgrade your bandsaw with an old tablesaw fence. A larger wooden table can l)e made to fit around all four sides of the original table, leaving a slot on the right side for blade changing. Pairs of simple wooden blocks fasten the new table to the old. One block is bolted directly to the edge of the iron bandsaw table. The other block is part of a glued and screwed table support. This block is slotted to allow the wooden table to be leveled. Overhead view of the supports for the new wooden table. Cut and glue-up five sets, then drill holes in the left and right edges of the iron table. Bolt all of the table supports to the bandsaw table. Then, mount the new wooden table on top of the supports and screw the table down from above. Finally, level the table.
Furniture maker Sanford Buchaller. of Freeland. Mich., built this standing chest for his father in trade for a small travel tool chest his father built for him. Nearly every tool in the chest is readily visible and instantly accessible. The box hanging below in the support frame contains a small drawer and woodworking reference books. Photo by Jonathan Binzen.
Seminar rooms were packed with woodworkers getting in-depth instruction on power-tool techniques, furniture design, sharpening, bowl turning, finishing, veneering and more. Leonard Lee, Mark Duginskc, lan Kirby, Mike Dunbar, Ernie Conovcr and Frank Pollaro were just a few of the fine craftsmen who shared their secrets. A Precision by hand. Cabinetmaker Frank Klausz steadies his saw to cut a dovetail.
The Rhode Island School of Design has launched a new undergraduate major in furniture design. It joins RISD's well-established graduate program to form a new Department of Furniture Design, staffed by four leading furniture makers scholars. The new undergraduate major opens this fall. It aims to give aspiring furniture designers the broad range of skills necessary to make a living and advance the craft as a whole. The curriculum will include design theory, technical classes, studio work and professional practice, as well as research projects examining the social and environmental aspects of furniture design and fabrication. Interdisciplinary work will be cncouraged. Well-known contemporary furniture maker Rosanne Somerson, chair of RISD's graduate furniture program, heads the new department.
There is a current trend among furniture conservators and curators to rename American furniture styles to more accurately match the other decorative arts of the same style and era. Elizabeth Gusler, teaching curator at Colonial Williamsburg, explains that styles do not evolve in a vacuum but are influenced by trade, politics, religion, and other factors. She thinks. Using art historical designations rather than monarchs' or furniture designers' names allows us to cross geographic and political barriers and to relate the decorative trends in many media-furniture, ceramics, textiles, metals through In the time line on the previous page, art historical designations such as Baroque and Rococo have replaced more familiar names such as Queen Anne and Chippendale. In the 17th century, however, American furniture cannot be so neatly pigeonholed. Seventeenth-century furniture makers frequently combined geometric and floral carving, as seen on this oak armchair. Typically, carvings of this...
Geoffrey Noden was this year's proud recipient of the Best New Artist in Wood Media award, presented by American Woodworker at the annual Philadelphia Furniture Show. Noden, a New Jersey craftsman, studied under famous English furniture maker John Makepeace. Today he trains his own apprentices, creating a wide range of furniture for a growing clientele. Noden's exhibit featured a number of custom-made chairs, including the arch-top model shown at left.
V Talking through the cabinetmaker's, wheelwright's and cooper's shops of Colonial Williamsburg in Virgina, I was struck by one thing that each of these pre-industrial woodworking shops hold in common the ubiquitous presence of countless hand tools hung or shelved along nearly every square inch of wall surface. When I asked the craftsmen about this, they replied that working exclusively with hand tools demanded that the tools be immediately accessible anything less markedly affected the efficiency of their work. While larger tools such as planes or fragile layout instruments might be stored in their personal chests at the end of the workday, they found it best to leave such tools as screwdrivers, hammers, chisels, saws, and bits and braces permanently set out close at hand on the walls of the shop. And because they worked either alone or among family or close associates (not among strangers in a factory), they felt safe leaving their tools out in the open. The interior of the Dominy...
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In some specialty woodworking trades the classic cabinetmaker's tool chest evolved from a trunk-like box to a considerably larger, though shallower, standing cabinet. In everyday use, a tall and shallow shape has obvious advantages. Orienting the tools along a tall, vertical surface allows many, if not all, of the tools to be instantly accessible. Unlike the trunk-type box, you don't have to lift or slide trays or a till of drawers to get at tools buried in a well below. And, as a blessing to your back, you don't have to scrunch over to get into the box instead you can set the tools at a comfortable height above the floor. To make the most of a standing cabinet's ease of access, you should locate it close to where you normally stand at your workbench. Unlike traditional cabinetmaker's chests, however, standing tool cabinets take up a lot of wall space. In a small shop (say a one
Similar to walnut but lighter in color, butternut is familiar to many carvers and furniture makers. (Sec Wood Facts, page 94.) Unfortunately, this valuable tree is reeling from a disease called butternut canker. Caused by a fungus, the sunken, elongated cankers blacken and destroy a tree's cambium layer, gradually killing
Carolyn and John Grew-Sheridan arc furniture makers who live and work in San Francisco's Mission district. They've made a large number of chairs over the years, but this design remains one of their favorites. We like it, says Carolyn, because it's straightforward and can be made with simple tools and materials.
Page HORTON BRASSES These fine 77 brasses, made in Connecticut, will en-Circle hance the beauty of your work. From 401 pulls and knobs to hinges and casters, we offer a wide, quality selection. A bible for the furniture maker. 4.00. P ge FURNITURE DESIGNS Older your 21 full-size plans from our catalog-200 Circle designs to choose from Plans include 303 Early American, English Chippendale, Queen Anne, Shaker, Spanish. 3.00.
I have always worked toward having a personal and individual contemporary architectural style in my furniture designs. I have never been interested in rehashing the past by reinterpreting bygone furniture styles. I believe my work has been influenced by Scandinavian design and some modern American designers, particularly Walker Weed (another New Hampshire craftsman), whose attitude and approach to woodworking and design really got me going. For a furniture design to succeed it is important that all the parts relate to the whole. The piece must have good proportions and pleasing lines that complement each other, and it must function accordingly. To work these things out, I find it very important to draw the details accuratcly on paper. I also take the material into consideration, using construction techniques and joinery that is appropriate. Attention to detail, high standards of overall craftsmanship and a suitable finish all contribute to the successfully designed piece of...
This plate rack is similar to one designed by Gustav Stickley, the best-known furniture designer and manufacturer of the American Arts and Crafts period. Sticklcy's monthly magazine. The Craftsman. (pub- This Mission-style plate rack is based on a design by Gustav Stickley, the best known furniture maker of the American Arts and Crafts period (1900 to 1916).
David apprenticed with a Spanish master furniture maker and attended Boston University's Program in Artisanry before opening his own custom furniture business in 1980. His style shows clearly the influences of classical and Shaker design. Many new woodworkers have the Impression that to be a good furniture designer one must always develop fresh and new designs, the likes of which have never been seen before. While I believe that designs should be bold and fresh, I also believe in a continuum and evolution of traditions and classical designs. Our work should be informed by elements of traditional furniture its proportion, choice of materials, selective use of detailing, light and shadow, contrast, texture, finish and so on. In traditional furniture, things were done a certain way because the established methods had been proven to work, both aesthetically and mechanically. By studying the work of old masters, we can begin to understand and utilize successful traditional elements in our...
When I visited hina eight years ago as part of a college language program. I absorbed a love of Chinese furniture design that will long outlive my vocabulary lessons. But it was only years later, as I tried to design pieces with the same flavor, that I began to pin down the separate elements about this furniture which joined to uplift my spirit.
Museum-quality conservation, matting and framing Sylvia Sandoval. June 12-16. Traditional water gilding Sylvia Sandoval. June 19-30. Furniture design for use Robert DeFuccio. Sharpening and using Japanese woodworking tools Michael Laine. July 3-21. Furniture in its environment Thomas H cker. Anderson Ranch Arts Center. (303) 923-3181.
Myrtle root burl top and backsplash flame yellow birch drawer fronts and side panels zebrawood frame members and pulls tung oil varnish and wax. Custom furniture making has been my trade for the past twenty-nine years. The dresser was commissioned by an artist who simply gave me basic dimensions and a request for burl to be part of the piece. He chose the rest of the wood from scraps that lay about my shop.
1 have alwavs been drawn to Mission oak furniture because of the heavy, low, stayed-to-the-earth feel it gives. But I was somewhat hesitant when some friends asked me to build a Prairie settle and to give it a finish that would match their other Arts and Crafts furniture. I came to furniture making with a background in art, intent on designing my own pieces, and I was worried that a reproduction would fail to satisfy my creative impulses, I did, however, want to make something for my friends, and I found the piece very attractive. So I agreed.
However, most Early American furniture was made of eastern white pine or punkin pine . It is easy to work with, has little grain, and is easily finished. Unfortunately, the northern white pine (sometimes called eastern white pine) that was used in Early American furniture is only available in limited supply. Once consisting of stands equal to several hundred billion board feet, most of the trees that are standing now are second growth timber and equal only a fraction of the original board footage. When it can be obtained, it's usually knotty and small.
DEEP IN THE HEART ofTennessee, just north of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,AI Hudson has been quietly building exquisite reproductions of classic American furniture for over 70 years. At age 88, he's just finished his masterpiece a double oxbow secretary, based on a number of 18th century beauties from Salem, Massachusetts. Building the secretary took a completely unexpected turn when Al uncovered a secret stockpile of amazing mahogany. Wood is in Al's blood. He's a third generation woodworker-his grandfather was the master cabinetmaker in a large architectural woodwork mill, and his father rose to become superintendent of the same mill. In the hot summer months of the 1930's, Al worked at the mill during high school and college. I apprenticed under the watchful eye of my grandfather, Al said. I learned to use all manner of hand tools, and dearly loved the work. Al wasn't destined to follow in his family's footsteps, however. The top pay for a master cabinetmaker in 1937 was...
(1985, The Taunton Press, Box 355, Newtown, CT 06470) Length 115 m in. VHS and BETA 39.95. The ball-and-claw foot is a classic and distinctive element of 18th-centurv furniture. It can also seem like an intimidating and difficult carving project, even for experienced woodworkers. In thiseasy-to-under-stand video, furniture maker and teacher Phil Lowe takes the mvs-tique out of the ball and claw and leads the viewer through the production of a classic, Philadelphia-style leg.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a period furniture maker to incorporate tombstone doors into your work. The design looks right at home with modern furniture, or it can work with paneling or kitchen cabinets. In fact, you can use tombstone doors wherever you want to dress up an otherwise plain cabinet. Eightcenth-century cabinetmakers used a variety of tombstone designs in their work. Fig. C shows four basic doors, illustrating simple to elaborate designs. 1*11 show you how 1 make a standard arched-top door as shown in Figs. A and B.
Smith's rapid rise to success is no accident. His reproductions are impeccable, and no detail is overlooked. His expertise in duplicating antique paint finishes is uncanny, and I believe his influence has heightened the appreciation of old painted finishes. what tools to use for construction. This forces cabinetmakers to think out the job and select tools they have on hand. When an unusual technique is required, a special know-how section supplements the project. providing information that would otherwise have to be looked up elsewhere.
When steam bending, stock selection is critical. I rive, that is split, my wood directly from the log. Riving is an ancient process. In fact, until the 17th centurv much of the wood used to make furniture was riven instead of sawn. Although more wasteful than sawing and less exact, riving guarantees a straight grain along the length of the piece. More important, it ensures that the layers of annual growth in the piece (the tree's annual rings) are continuous from one end to the other.
Bar clamps need to be heavy and rigid, with jaws that remain square to the bar under heavy pressure. I like Record bar clamps because they meet these criteria (see Sources, p. 81). For making furniture and cabinets, 3-ft. bars will be most useful, and six of them would be a good start. Clamps are heavy and extra length is not only awkward to handle, but also
Gustav Suckley built many fine examples of Artsand-Crafts furniture in his factory. He also left a wealth of information in his monthly magazine The Craftsman (19011916). Much of this information has been republished in two books Craftsman Homes Architecture .n-1 Fumisnmgs of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (available on Amazon.com) and Malting Authentic Craftsman Furniture (available through Manny's Woodworkers Place. 800-2430713). Both are published by Dover Publica tions. 31 E. 2nd St Mineoia. NY 11501.
Uartersawn oak is synonymous with Craftsman furniture. I he wood's wild ray figure is both beautiful and distinctive. Unfortunately, Mother Nature saw fit to put it only on opposing faces of a board. So on a table leg. for example, the sides adjacent to a quartersawn face should be flatsawn and without figure.
When Gustav Sticklcy and other furniture designers developed the Arts and Crafts style almost a century ago, they won praise for their utilitarian furniture with its straight lines and lack of ornamentation. These qualities can also harmonize with a modern interior, as this contemporary coffee table shows. Built by Phil Gehret in the aw Design Shop, our table is made from quartcrsawn white oak, like most of Sticklcy's pieces. It features the rectilinear lines typical of Craftsman furniture, but the construction is simpler. (See drawing.)
Is a third-generation master cabinetmaker and a contributing editor of AW. Nick Clark already had a woodworking apprenticeship and several years of furniture-making experience under his belt when he enrolled in James Krcnov's woodworking program at the (College of the Redwoods. Clark admits to being influenced by the master cabinetmaker, but adds still like to keep an open mind about different furniture styles.
A Cabinet scrapers are great for smoothing, but their large size can be awkward on small jobs. This cabinetmaker's finishing scraper is just the right size for delicate pieces. You can get excellent control of the blade, even with one hand. The 6-in. long, figured maple body has a steel-sole plate. The i Vs-in. wide blade is mounted in the body with a stout wedge. Modeled after an antique scraper, this tool will please anv craftsman. (Price 72.50 extra blade. 17.95)
New miter saw, router, router table, nail gun, planer and a bandsaw. I still keep in touch with the cabinetmaker he gives me off-cuts that are a bother to him, but perfect for me. Lately I've turned my garage-based hobby into a small business, doing woodworking projects mostly for neighbors and friends bookcases, small cabinets, picture frames and such. After I graduate from college, my goal is to have my own shop, outfitted with more tools than I can count. My dream is to save enough money to buy the cabinetmaker's shop where I learned so much. But until then, I'll keep working in my Mom-and-Pop shop. Ever since I was a child, I've been obsessed with building and fixing things. I've taught myself for the most part and I've learned from others. Last summer I got a job working for a cabinetmaker in Waukomis, OK. It was a great experience that added many new techniques to my woodworking skills. And with the extra money I made, I was able to buy a
Cabinetmaker's Triangle Labeling your project parts with letters and numbers works fine when you're dealing with a few pieces. But if your pile of parts gets mixed up it can take a whi e to sort things out again.The cabinetmaker's triangle allows you to instantly identify the location and orientation of each individual piece. Here's how it works Group your frame members face-side up in the same orientation they will have when assembled (stiles are vertical, rails are horizontal, etc.) Mark each group with a triangle that points up towards the top of the cabinet. (With parts like the top and shelves, the triangle will point to the back of the cabinet).The triangle leaves two lines on each piece making identification a snap (See Figs. B and C). If two or more assemblies are identical, like our pair of doors, add an extra line along the triangle s side for the rails and along the bottom for the stiles.
J right into an early 20th-century lawyer's office, filled with leather-bounr volumes and smelling of cigars. Rich walnut and generous moldings give it a luxurious feel, and hidden compartments are perfect for top-secret documents. The glass doors arc as practical today for keeping dust off your books as they were 100 years ago. I've designed this bookcase for a thoroughly modern cabinetmaker, however, its plywood cases are built with biscuits, die drawers use full-extension ballbearing slides and the lipped doors are hung with easy-to-install wraparound hinges. To make this large projec t more manageable. 1 built it in sections a drawer unit below, Lhree separate bookcase units above and a crown molding unit on top. The modular design also makes it easy to move il around your shop and into your house.
Melamine is the professional cabinetmaker's best friend. Build a cabinet with it and you have a complete, durable interior that requires no sanding (yes ) and no finishing (oh, yeah ). Pros often build whole kitchens out of melamine and then dress the boxes with plywood end panels and solid-wood fronts. The bright melamine cabinet interiors are easy to search, stain resistant and tough as nails. Entertainment centers and home office, laundry-room or mudroom cabinets are also made with melamine. Most home centers carry melamine shelving with the edge banding already on. Just buy or make shelf supports and you're in business. Melamine has found a home in many a Still not sold on melamine How about saving money It's about half the cost of birch plywood. Not only that, but you get better yield from a sheet of melamine than from veneer sheet stock. That's because you don't have to worry about grain direction. Better yield at a lower cost you save both ways. Here are some tips on how to...
An article published in the February issue of New York Woman Magazine made public a well-kept secret we woodworkers have known all along. When the magazine polled women in New York City to see which male occupations they found most attractive, carpenters and cabinetmakers came out on top. In the magazine's Loose Lips section, columnist Helen Rogan writes, The ultimate fantasy object of the New York woman is the carpenter, or cabinetmaker, his back muscles rippling as he lovingly hones your bookshelves. Carpenters make strong women weak. 'Gentle with a flannel shirt,' sighs one. 'Capable, rugged, sensitive. Mmm hmmm, just think of all those lovely tools ' You get the gist.
The cabinetmaker's triangle is a straightforward method of marking boards to be joined together. Imagine an old-time shop. The master carefully arranges the boards to make the most pleasing pattern, then scrawls this triangle across the boards and hands them off to an apprentice to glue up. These days, this mark is just a handy reminder of what our intentions were when we laid out the boards last weekend
Cabinetmaker Charles Piatt built this storage station around his 10-in. table saw, entirely replacing its metal stand. Making the most out of floor space that is typically wasted, he was able to create separate areas to store table-saw related tools, sawblades. power hand tools and a removable dust bin. Photo by Dick Fellows Photography.
If your bench is too low, you'll get a sore back from bending over it. If it's too high, you'll get sore arms, because they'll have to do all the work. The best rule of thumb I've heard for establishing bench height comes from Frank Klausz, an accomplished cabinetmaker in New Jersey. Frank, who does a lot of hand work at the bench, says that when you stand next to your bench with your arms at your sides and your palms parallel to the floor, the benchtop should just touch your palms. My bench is about 1 in. higher than this, which makes cutting joints in the vise easier, but it's just a little too high for sustained planing.
John Schmidt, the German cabinetmaker with whom Esherick worked, had a large, homemade bandsaw in his shop, which he later copied and improved upon when Esherick asked for one of his own. Neither man could have afforded the standard commercial equipment, but most of the needed components were scavenged from dumps, junk yards, or auctions.
I have a friend named Rick who's a top-flight cabinetmaker. His joiner ' is tight and he's got a good sense of design. What he doesn't know is how to photograph his work when it's done. Invariably, Rick's photos look like a) he sneezed at the exact moment he snapped the picture, b) he shot the piece inside a dark cave, or c) the electric cords and wall hangings in his house lie in wait, ready to jump into
Covering 500,000 sq. ft. of booth space at the Las Vegas Convention Center, there's everything and anything related to woodworking under one roof, from industrial CNC machines to the latest in sliding-drawer hardware. AWFS attracts woodworkers of all types. Walking the floor, you'll rub shoulders with production managers from a window factory inspecting a sliding tablesaw and professional cabinetmakers checking out door-making router bits. And there's plenty of tools, supplies and hardware for the weekend woodworker, too. Seminars at AWFS cover a wide range of topics, taught by some of the industry's leading experts. You can learn how to be a more profitable cabinetmaker, make the internet work for your business, use veneer for high-end cabinets or take a 10-hr. OSHA general safety class. Categories include business management, cabinet millwork, software- technology, techniques applications, handcrafted furniture, safety and environment, and training...
Build Liie drawers using sliding dovetails (see Modern Cabinetmaker, page 22). All the part dimensions are given in the Cutting List, page 47, and in Fig. H, page 46. Note that the sides and back of the top two drawers are narrower than their fronts, unlike the other drawers. These narrow parts are necessary for the drawer to slide under the screw cleats (J) attached to the top (F). Add bottom guides (HH) to the bottoms of the drawers (Photo 11).
You don't always need to turn on a power tool like a jig saw or band saw to cut curved workpieces. If the pieces are small, a coping saw, or its cousin the fret saw, might be the better choice. Though it's often dismissed as just a rough carpentry tool, a coping saw can be extremely useful in the woodshop. And fine-cutting fret saws have been a mainstay of high-quality furniture making shops for a very long time.
Designs pop into my head at the strangest times, like when I'm going to sleep then I'll get up and start sketching while ideas are fresh in my mind ' says Jonathan Baran. A former finish carpenter who was inspired to do finer work, Baran took a course with woodworker William Saycr and soon plans to start his own furniture-making business. This desk was an anniversary present for his wife, so it had to be something special.
Jere is a full-time studio craftsman whose work has appeared in many major museums. He has been designing and building furniture since 1957 and taught furniture making at Boston University's Program in Artlsanry and at Rochester Institute of Technology's School for American Craftsmen. Furniture design reveals itself to us in three stages. The first stage your first impression of the piece when you see it from a distance is very important. You sec the silhouette and the positive and negative areas of the form. In the second stage, as you move closer, you see the color, texture, and surface quality. You see more of the form and get an understanding of the volume. Finally, in the third stage, you arc too close to sec the form. Instead, you see the fine details carving, inlay, joinery and how they add up to the finished piece.
.A side from practical considerations, there is historical precedent for wall-hung tool cabinets. By the turn of this century, some woodworkers had given up the traditional cabinetmaker's tool chest in favor of tool storage on the wall. These boxes are generally tall and shallow a practical shape for a toolbox that is to be hung on a shop wall. The demand for wall-hung cabinets in the early 1900s was apparently great enough to inspire a number of commercial toolbox makers (such as W. Marplcs & Sons of England and C. E. Jennings of New York) to offer wall-mounted toolboxes in their catalogs. As you can see in the photos on pp. 79-80, the offerings even included an unusual corner-mounted version.
When it comes to building the limbs for a Mook Yan Jong, here are some things to consider. A lathe is by far the simplest way to make an arm. Without a lathe one has to carve out the round arms with a plane or by some similar method. It proves extremely difficult, and usually ineffective. If a lathe is not available, or, if you feel unskilled in the use of one, a simple solution is to find a good cabinetmaker in your area, and showing him the plans for the limbs, ask him to produce a set for you. He will be able to quickly do all the work on the arms and leg, and hand them to you ready for you to do the finishing work. Many times, this is the sensible thing to do. If you, however, have a lathe, you may follow the
Emphasizing your joints can add visual interest to a piece. Here, furniture maker Jeff Lohr of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, extends the couch's breadboard ends beyond the arms and bridges the offset with ebony splines to accent the joint. Now that I've found a name for what I've been doing all these years, I'll acquaint you with all three of these design options, and show you how and where you can use them in your own furniture designs. That said, let's start with the most common type of franked joint the cogged joint. Emphasizing your joints can add visual interest to a piece. Here, furniture maker Jeff Lohr of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, extends the couch's breadboard ends beyond the arms and bridges the offset with ebony splines to accent the joint.
The Cascadia Exhibition highlighted some extraordinary talent from British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Hikmet Sakman's Bubinga and Maple Creclenza is a beautiful blend of Arts and Crafts and Oriental design (see photo top left, page 37). Vancouver furniture maker Cam Russell built an impressive Grandfather Clock inspired by the work of Arts and Crafts designers Greene and Greene (see photo, bottom right, page 39). While most Greene and Greene furniture was made from imported mahogany, Cam tapped local woods such as fir, cedar, yew and aspen. Camosun College, located in Victoria, presented student works from the college's Fine Furniture Program's 2007 graduating class. This exhibit's theme was Look What We Made For Dinner, which inspired sixteen young furniture makers to get creative designing dining chairs that were as different as scrambled eggs and steak. One of those chairs, Sushi Anyone' by Felicity Jones, has a clear Asian influence and is an excellent example of the...
Now, years later and many thousands of miles away from Barnsley's shop, Powell still works daily out of this standing toolbox. Created in a place and time where the traditional cabinetmaker's chest reigned supreme, his standing cabinet has proven to be as easy and efficient to use as he had hoped. And now, having himself become a master craftsman who has overseen the education of many aspiring woodworkers, his tool-storage solution has inspired and engendered the creations of countless offspring.
If your furniture projects haven't been wowing friends and family like they used to, maybe it's time to impress them with a whole new repertoire of joinery. Take a look at the joints shown here. Some of them are easier to make than they appear. Others present a bit more of a challenge. While a few of them are simply crowd pleasers. many have a definite structural value. They're all variants of the basic woodworking joints mortise and tenon, bridle, half lap. splined, dovetail and mitered. At the end of the article, you'll find an explanation of how to make the radial-dovetail joint. I'll explain how to make some of the other joints shown here in future issues. Meanwhile, if you've got an interesting joint you'd like to share, or one you'd like to learn about, let us know. We'll try to feature that one, loo. A
Many woodworkers comc to the craft after exploring other disciplines. Seth Janofsky, for example, earned degrees in literature and photography before one day, it just came bustin' out of me that I wanted to make furniture. He devoured books and magazines on the subject and spent a year studying under James Krcnov at the College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg. When Glen Grant built his own house back in 1962, his thin budget forced him to make his own tables, chairs and other furnishings. He liked the results and continued to make furniture. After turning out a variety of colonial-style pieces, Grant began to develop a style all his own.
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How To Sell Furniture
Types Of Furniture To Sell. There are many types of products you can sell. You just need to determine who your target market is and what specific item they want. Or you could sell a couple different ones in a package deal.