The ‘Wright’ Shaker Counter
You don’t need symmetry to build a period piece that pleases the eye.
by Glen D. Huey
If you joined the Shaker Hancock Bishopric in the early part of the 19th century, you may have had the opportunity to work with an outstanding craftsman named Grove Wright (1789-1861). Wright, along with his long-time apprentice, Thomas Damon, built the counter from which this piece was adapted.
In designing the counter, Wright chose an asymmetrical layout that differed greatly from the symmetry found outside the confines of the Shaker villages. Of particular note is the drawer arrangement. The counter front is divided into thirds. Four small drawers occupy one-third, while three wider and taller drawers fill the remaining two thirds. To my eye, this arrangement visually balances the two banks of drawers. The narrow section, busy with the four drawers, is equally weighted to that of the wider right-hand side with its three taller drawers. Also, this design, with no two drawer blades (also known as drawer dividers) meeting at the same location, allows each blade tenon to be long enough in length for added strength.
From the June 2012 issue #197.
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