Yesterday I went to an antique show in Columbus, Ohio when I stumbled upon this book in one of the booths. When I first saw it, I thought the book was huge so, I browsed through it to see what was in it.
After looking through the pages for a few minutes and seeing the book originally sold for $125.00, I decided the $20.00 the guy wanted for it was too good to pass up.
I’ve had several books on Shaker furniture over the years, but none are as comprehensive as this one. The first 85 of 576 pages in this book goes into detail of how the Shakers came to be, their daily life, the tools and practices they used, and the different types of furniture each community made. There were over twenty different Shaker communities during the 18th and 19th century with a few of them only lasting a few years. The book talks about the different design and building practices the Shakers brought to their community as no one was born a Shaker. When you compare the furniture of one community to another, you can see suttle design differences between the two.
There must be over 1000 pictures of furniture along with the dimensions and descriptions of each piece. If nothing else, it makes an excellent reference book on Shaker design.
The book is so nice, it’s no wonder why it still sells for over $100 on eBay and Amazon. If you can find one that’s affordable, get it, you’ll be glad you did.
Here is the Introduction from the author himself to get a better understanding of the book’s purpose.
Back in the summer, my wife bought a stool for $5.00 at an antique show. I honestly forget which show it was as we go to one every weekend. The stool was in decent shape, it just had a broken rung which is why it was only $5.00. She asked if it could be fixed and I told her I could fix it pretty easily.
The first thing I did was clean out the hole the rung sat in with small drill bits and awls. I then cleaned up a bit of the glue residue with a small wire brush.
I needed a rung that was 3/4″ in diameter so I grabbed my shaving horse and went to work. I hardly use this thing so anytime I get a chance, I jump on it. Shaving horses are a blast to use.
I used my drawknife and spoke shave to get close to the final diameter, then I used a scrap piece of wood with a 3/4″ hole to check final dimension. I could have just bought a 3/4″ dowel, but where’s the fun in that?
I removed the rung from the other side of the chair to determine the length my piece needed to be. I then glued and installed the rungs back into the chair while using strap clamps to hold everything tight while the glue dried.
The seat needed to be reglued a bit as well so some glue and clamps did the trick. When everything was dry, the stool was sturdy as a rock.
I thought Anita might have painted the stool, but she decided to keep it natural. She didn’t even stain the new rung dark to match the other rungs. The stool looks nice as a plant stand and for $5.00, I’m not complaining.
A few months ago I wrote blog post about selling my Pennsylvania Secretary on Facebook Marketplace. Some of you commented that the $1800 I listed it for was way too low, but I knew that these types of furniture are not very popular anymore.
After a few weeks of it being listed and not getting any bites, I lowered it to $400. Even then, I only had one person contact me about it. The person was asking if it was a real antique or not. After I told him I made it, he never responded back. So it just sat out there with very little fews and no likes.
My wife was sick of the piece sitting in the garage so I decided to contact a local online auction company. After I sent them a few pictures, they responded that they would love to sell and I should bring it down to their warehouse.
When I met the owner of the company, he swooned over it. He thought the desk was the coolest piece of furniture he had seen in a long time. He even told me that he was going to feature it as his beauty shot for the auction.
I woke up this morning and checked my email. Sure enough, there was my secretary on the front of his email. I’ll get 60% for whatever it sells for which probably won’t even come close to the amount it cost me to make back in 2004.
Here’s the link to the auction. The desk is lot No 27. My guess is that it will sell for under $500. What’s yours?
A couple years ago I wrote a blog post about building this huge display cabinet for my wife. She wanted it to use as a backdrop for doing shows. Being 7′ long, it was long enough to stick in the back of a 10′ x 10′ booth with a little room on the sides.
She was hoping to use it for a show in the spring, then Covid hit and the show was cancelled. We waited for everything to go back to normal, but the further things went, Anita decided not to do the show anymore. In the end, we never ended up even using the piece.
It sat in our garage over the months so Anita decided to get rid of it and told me to post it on Facebook Marketplace for dirt cheap. One of Anita’s customers saw the post and came by the next day to buy it. She owns a specialty shop and was planning on painting the piece gray and using it in her store.
Anita stopped by her shop this morning and saw the piece painted. It looks amazing in her store. At least someone got use out of it.
I’m thinking now that I should make these display pieces and put a big price tag on it instead of the garage sale price this lady got. What do you think?
The ash display cabinet I’ve been building for Anita is finally done. Took longer than I wanted but, working full time, restoring and selling antique tools, and doing honey-do lists around the house has eaten up all of my time. Anita will eventually put handles on the doors once she figures out which ones she wants, but for the most part, it’s done.
The cabinet is 48″ x 66″ x 16″ and is the first piece of furniture I made without using a single piece of plywood. I would have at least liked to have made the shelves out of 3/4″ plywood but my lumber supplier doesn’t carry it. The piece is extremely heavy and cost me about $500 to build. But, it’s still way cheaper than the $1600 price tag that was on the one at Pottery Barn. Plus, this is made from American hardwood and not some junky looking Chinese lumber.
To help speed up the build, I went out and bought a Festool Domino. I waited ten years to buy one until the day I could afford it, but that day never came. So, I bit the bullet and bought the tool as well as the Domino kit with the extra drill bits. So far, I love the tool. I was told by the sales rep at the store that you set the tool on the first setting one one side of the board, then switch to the second setting for the other side of the board. The wider slot gives you a little bit of play when aligning the boards similar to using a biscuit joiner.
I used the machine for the case as well as the joinery on the glass doors and it performed wonderfully. The Domino is one of those tools you wished you would have bought sooner.
The other thing I did differently on the piece versus others I have built was to put feet on the cabinet. In years past, when I built something, the sides of the case would be the feet of piece of furniture but, after studying antiques over the years, I noticed that the well built pieces would have feet glued to the bottom. This helps protect the sides by lifting them off the floor by a 1/16″. Having square feet also makes sticking furniture pads on the bottom a lot easier.
I already wrote about the wooden shelf supports a few weeks ago here. They work exceptionally well and can hold a massive amount of ironstone. I can’t even imagine all that weight on little brass pins.
Anita loves the cabinet, I love the cabinet, her friends love the cabinet, people on Instagram love the cabinet. It’s been a big hit and the money I saved building it, paid for my Festool Domino.. (see what I did there?)
The past few weeks I’ve been building a display cabinet for my wife out of ash. Things have been going well with the build and when it came to adding a way to hold the adjustable shelves, I wanted to use an old method that I’ve seen numerous times on antique furniture.
It starts with a couple of pieces of 1 1/2″ wide wood laying out 1″ diamter holes down the middle. The holes are 3″ apart on center. I taped the two pieces together so that when the holes are bored, the pieces mirror eachother.
I then ripped the pieces apart in the middle giving me four brackets that are similar to one another. I then installed each piece in the corner of the cabinet with glue and a few 23 gauge pins. This gives me perfect alignment when I install the shelf brackets.
The brackets are nothing more than a 1″ wide ash with a roundover on each end. I decide to add another 1″ piece of wood onto the stretcher. This gives me the opportunity to adjust the height of the shelf inside the cabinet by one inch. It’s helpful if the shelf needs to be a little bit higher, but I don’t want to move the stretcher three inches to the next notch.
Overall, I love the look of the wooden shelf dividers. I’ve done the 1/4″ holes drilled up and down the sides with brass pins for years and was never a big fan of them. To me, this looks a bit more authentic.
Last weekend while I was repairing the oak dresser we bought at the Springfield Extravaganza, I was working on this drop leaf table as well. The table was in bad shape with both drop leafs broken off. We bought the table to use in Anita’s booth so all I had to do was remove the two swing out legs and make it presentable.
I flipped the table over and started to unscrew all the hinges that were attached to the top and sides. Then I popped off the extra pieces of wood so that the sides would be one single piece of wood.
Taking all the hardware off, I made sure that I saved it all in case I need it for another project or even sell on eBay. If I sell the hardware, it will help offset some of the cost of the buying the table. If I’m lucky, I’ll sell it for enough to make the table free.
After a few minutes, the table was in good useable condition.
Anita bleached the wood so it would be lighter in color and stuck it in her booth. No paint this time. Really simple project and it makes her booth look nicer.
My wife, Anita, and I went to the Springfield Extravaganza Antique Show last weekend looking for some things to buy. Me, it’s always antique tools, and for her, it’s modern farmhouse decor items for her to sell. We bought this old beat up five panel oak dresser for $20. For some reason during its life, the legs were cut off to make it shorter. The problem with that is it made the bottom drawer completely useless.
So, once we got it home, I took a look at it and saw that the bottom drawer was trashed so I took it over to my fire pit to burn. I did take the wooden knobs off the drawer just in case we could use them someday.
I knew I wanted the dresser to have legs again, so I took my sawzall and cut out the panels on the sides and back and then removed all the wood in the grooves.
Since the panels I cut out were already the perfect thickness, I ripped them into thin strips and used them to fill the gaps. A few clamps and glue did the trick.
After the glue dried, I trimmed and sanded the legs and threw the dresser upright. Boom! Now the dresser had legs again and didn’t look so pathetic. I then worked on the drawers to make sure they opened and closed well. I even rubbed paraffin wax on the bottoms of the drawers to make them slide easier. After a little bit of work, this dresser was useable again.
Now the part you hate! Anita painted the dresser white with milk paint and turned into a piece of shabby chic furniture. You may hate it, but some farmhouse decor lady will love it.
I built this Pennsylvania Secretary back in 2004. It was an article in Fine Woodworking Magazine by Ronnie Bird. I fell in love with the idea of making a piece as complicated as this with it’s intrical cubbies and drawers.
The door panels and desk lid were all sliced from a single piece of 2″ thick walnut. I sliced the wood by hand with my hand saw because the 13″ width of the wood was too wide for my band saw that could only rip stock 12″ wide. I remember it being a major pain the ass.
I used a bread board edge on the lid so that it wouldn’t warp. The joint works well because seventeen years later, the lid is still perfectly flat.
I cut the curvature of the drawers on a band saw and smoothed them with my oscillating drum sander. The panel on the small door was a piece of crotch walnut.
There are a few hidden compartments inside the desk where I kept my silver dollar coins that my Mom gave me before she passed away. The columns slide open to keep important documents but I never stored anything in them.
The drawer fronts were sliced from a single piece of curly walnut that I laminated onto a walnut substrate for each drawer. I cut the cabriolet feet on the band saw and then glued each side together.
The lid opens up to act as a working desk but it actually sucks as a desk. The lid is too high off the ground for my liking.
I built the sides and case with 7/8″ thick walnut with red oak secondary wood. I used red oak because I had a boatload of it when I bought a bundle of it from the company I used to work for. They sold it as oak fence boards so the quality of the wood was not the best. I didn’t care because it was seconday wood but it made the piece extremely heavy. I should have used white pine or poplar instead.
I used plywood on the back and drawer bottoms because the expense of making it was getting out of hand. I paid over $600 for all of the brass hardware and the walnut cost me over $800.
As nice as this piece is, it’s been used as a junk drawer all these years as we just store a bunch of crap in it. I used to store my cd collection in the top cabinet but I sold a lot of them a few years ago on half.com when I was uploading my collection into a digital format.
The secretary has been sitting in our garage ever since we got hit with the tornado last year. After the tornado, we had to take all of our furniture out of the house and into pods in our driveway while our house was being put back together. When everything was done, we never brought it back into the house because it’s too big and heavy to move.
I currently have it for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $1800 but I’ll be surprised if anyone buys it. It’s not an antique so it doesn’t have any value in that way and no one buys big pieces of furniture like this anymore. I may have to donate it or just keep it in the garage.
The secretary was fun to make, but I wouldn’t make it again. All it’s good for is to take pictures and show people “look what I made.”
UPDATE 7-16-21. After zero bites on Marketplace for weeks, I lowered to $500. We’ll see if it sells.
I made this table for my wife last year but never blogged about it. Kind of stupid to call yourself MVFlaim Furnituremaker if you never blog about making a piece of furniture. While I was building it, I took a bunch of pictures of the process and intended to show all the steps, but apparently a bug crawled up my ass and for some reason, I deleted all the photos I took. I guess I was having a bad day. So, I had to search my Instagram account to find some pictures to load here.
The five foot long table is a common table you’d find in any furniture store. The table is really nothing special. In fact, the most unique feature of the piece is the drawer fronts with chair caning panels.
I simply made three drawer fronts with a rabbet in the back. I then glued chair canimg on a plywood panel and stuck it in the rabbeted recess. Since the drawer fronts are stuck to the front of each drawer box, the plywood remains stable inside the rabbet and doesn’t move around. I had photos of the entire process but that bug was in my butt pretty far up so they’re gone forever.
I fitted the carcass together and glued and screwed the bottom rails and shelf.
Joinery I used was mortise and tenons I cut on the table saw and chopped with a 3/8″ mortising chisel. The top rail was joined with a hidden dovetail.
Legs were cut from 2″ square poplar boards I glued up and tapered on the band saw. I then cleaned them up with my smooth plane.
This is the table before Anita painted it dark gray and applied the gold handles. Maybe the next peice of furniture I make I’ll be in a better mood and won’t delete the pictures of my progress.