In November 2009 #179, Popular Woodworking Magazine Article Index

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Oval boxes with handles were traditionally used as sewing baskets.
By John Wilson
Pages: 48-53

From the November 2009 issue #179
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The craftsmen of the Shaker community were known in their day for quality workmanship of utilitarian designs. This project represents one of their adaptations of the oval box in a size commonly referred to today as a #4. (See Popular Woodworking August 2003, #135; it’s also available online at

During the period from the 1890s to the 1930s, large quantities of carriers were made and sold in the Shakers’ “fancy goods trade,” or what we would call a craft or gift store. Such carriers, which they called “work baskets,” were lined with satin and fitted with sewing items including a pincushion, needle holder, beeswax for waxing button thread, and an emery ball for sharpening pins and needles. One famous photograph taken at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in 1923 shows Brother Delmer Wilson and his output of 1,083 carriers.

For more information on fitting the inside of the carrier as a sewing box, send an e-mail to Dave Coleman at

From the November 2009 issue #179
Buy this issue now

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