When I first saw a drawing of
this table 20 years ago
in a book by Thomas
Moser, I knew I had to make it. It perfectly captures
the essence of classic Shaker design. Taut,
lean and elegant, Moser’s reproduction
has become an American icon.
Here’s an up-to-date version that retains
the Shaker spirit. They used mortise-and-tenon
joinery, but I’ve substituted biscuits.
For this table, the biscuits are just as strong
and can be made much faster. The Shakers
planed their wood by hand. For my version,
you can machine all the parts and then give
them a few licks with a hand plane. The
Shakers also hand-dovetailed their drawers.
You can make machine-cut dovetails if you
wish, but I prefer the look of the hand-cut
dovetails shown in this story.
If you’ve never planed wood by hand
before, this project is a great way to get
started. I built this table in walnut, a
wood that is easy to work with hand
tools. Cherry, mahogany, red oak or other
woods of equal density would also be good
choices. The pieces are small and easy to
handle. I used a No. 4 smooth plane, a No.
5 jack plane and a No. 6 fore plane, but all
three aren’t necessary. A single No. 4 or
No. 5 is OK.
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