Don Williams

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‘The Shellac Archive’ from Don Williams

Don Williams – conservator, historian and woodworker extraordinaire – was in town a couple weeks ago to shoot a video on historic transparent furniture finishes, for which he brought a truckload of examples and props (the video will be available in mid-August). He was kind enough to leave some of his stuff behind for...

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Woodworking in America Makes History

You may not really think about it, but much of woodworking is history. Today we use tools from centuries back, we assemble projects using joinery that has stood the test of time and we reproduce furniture styles from as early as 1650.That’s history. The photos to the left were not taken from my local...

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Woodworking in America: Classes I Plan to Attend

Woodworking in America is just around the corner. It will be upon us in no time – that’s great news for you because now is the time to register (click here) and make travel arrangements, if necessary. For me, however, this means that I have got to get started on the outline for my...

From the September 1995 issue of The Magazine Antiques (Vol. CXLVII, No.3)

Shagreen: Sandpaper of the Past

With the growth of hand tools in woodworking, or should I say the return to hand tools in woodworking, many up-and-coming furniture makers think that the final pass on a panel or surface is always with a smoothing plane or scraper. If you think that you may be wrong. Furniture makers in the 18th-...

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Don Williams Replicates the Gragg Chair

Of all the furniture of the 18th and 19th centuries, the work of Boston chair maker Samuel Gragg (1772-1855) is some of the most shocking to modern eyes. His elastic, steam-bent chairs are based on the ancient Greek “klismos” chair,” yet they have unexpected curves and a lightness that is contemporary. There aren’t many...

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The André Roubo Dinner at WIA

For me, the highlight of 2010’s Woodworking in America conference was The Feast of André Roubo, a dinner held high above the city of Cincinnati. And I was not alone. One attendee stopped me as I was leaving the feast to tell me this: “I’m not interested in history, old stuff, André Roubo or...

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Royal Flooring in Appalachia

Paris parquet finds a new home in a rural Virginia woodshop. By Don Williams Pages 54-55 The convergent threads of life are sometimes amazing, coincidental things. My earliest and most important mentors in the restoration arts were Pop and Fred Schindler, the remarkable father and son of an eponymous shop, who first introduced me to Monsieur André Roubo...