A furniture maker visits the Pleasant Hill, Ky., community and unearths a fair number of surprises (nails!) about Shaker joinery.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the December 2005 issue of Popular Woodworking.
If you’re planning to stay at the restored Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Ky., I have some advice: At dawn, after spending the night in a building designed, built and once occupied by the Shakers, walk out onto the lawn. At that moment when the gathering heat of day is burning away the last smoky tendrils of nighttime fog, look across the hills surrounding the village. Scan the horizon to the early morning music of birds and distant livestock. If you do this, I think you’ll know something about how it felt to have awakened there 150 years ago when Pleasant Hill was a thriving community of 500 practicing Shakers.
I know. This past summer I did it on three consecutive mornings during a visit I made in order to study some of the Shaker furniture in the Pleasant Hill collection.