Pleasant Hill Shaker Saturday Table

A sharp eye and smart jig help you build this reproduction.
By Kerry Pierce
Pages: 76-80

From the April 2006 issue #154
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Last summer I had the pleasure of visiting the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Ky. During my stay there, the volunteer who showed me around explained that this piece is an example of something called a “Saturday table” – a table made on Saturday from bits of wood left over from the workshop’s weekday labors.

I like to work in the presence of a certain amount of aesthetic risk. While I do use jigs and fi xtures, I also try to preserve the need for manual skill and an educated eye. In the case of this particular piece, my original intention was to execute the legs as a high-wire act, forming their eight-tapered swelling facets completely by hand using a drawknife. However, after experimenting, I realized that – although I could produce clean surfaces with a drawknife – I might not be able to define the underlying form of each leg with enough clarity using only that one tool.

That’s when I decided to build a cradle that would allow me to use the band saw to rough in the eight surfaces of each leg, surfaces I would then finish with planes, chisels and sandpaper.

From the April 2006 issue #154
Buy this issue now