Jeff Jewitt

runs a cabinet shop in Ohio and conducts finishing seminars across the country.

Maple Side Table

Try Your Hand at Traditional Joinery by R.S. Wilkinson

A simple touch of the 18th century.

Fine pro/x)rtions and the beauty of curly maple give this pair of Hepplewhite-inspired side tables their authentic appearance.

A remarkable variety of furniture can trace its lineage to linglish craftsman George Hcpplcwhitc, whose book The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Guide was first published in 1788. (The book is currently available from Dover Publications Inc., 31 E. 2nd St., Mineóla, NY 11501, 516-294-7000.) With some 300 drawings, Hcpplcwhitc's book quickly became a stvlc manual for countless cabinctmak-crs on both sides of the Atlantic.

From the late 1700s through the mid-1800s, cabinetmakers in Boston, New York and Philadelphia turned out a sumptuous selection of Hepplewhite-style furniture—everything from chairs to sideboards. Many of these pieces were made from imported mahogany and featured decorative string inlays and ornate bandings.

Though my side tables lack the ornamentation of the classic Hcpplcwhitc furniture described above, they are no less authentic. In my work as a conservator of period furniture, I have come across numerous examples of unadorned, Hcpplcwhitc-inspircd pieces that were built by rural American craftsmen during the same time period. My table's charm lies in its finely shaped top, beaded drawer front and rich curly-maple grain. As a project, this table offers the challenge of duplicating the proportions, joinery details and even the finish of a project that might easily have been built more than a ccntury ago. 1 dccidcd to build a pair to use as bedside tables.

The Base First

Each table was built in three sections: the base, the top and the drawer. I began by making the base.

First, I milled up four 1 V^-in.-square by 29-in.-long pieccs of stock for the legs. Then I laid out the mortises on the upper sections of the legs for the rail tenons. As shown in Fig. 1, the bottom front rail has a pair of tenons on each end instead of a single tenon. The double tenon provides much better rcsis-


Materiale protetto da copyright


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