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A rim and field in contrasting species is a sublime eye-catcher.

Open containers, as helpful as they’re enticing, weren’t made to carry sweets for the desk. Instead, they had been for one thing that makes me wince: expectoration of chewing tobacco. These spherical open containers with rims had been full of recent wooden shavings for chewing brethren and guests, to maintain the tobacco customers from fouling the pristine flooring.

That we hardly see this manner besides in image books attests to the aversion that such a use fosters. My refusal to call it within the historic manner is my hope to vary this aversion; “round open box” will do fairly properly to explain this sleek and helpful field.

I bear in mind seeing this manner with its enticing rim at Hancock Shaker Village, in Hancock, Mass., 25 years in the past. And we all know they had been made on the Mt. Lebanon Shaker Village, in New Lebanon, N.Y., by Daniel Crossman.

Finger & rim element. The rim is the defining characteristic on a spherical Shaker field; it’s accentuated by brass escutcheon pins and a maple band to distinction with the cherry of the field band. Note how the rim begins within the curve of the highest finger and is feathered on the finish for a clean curve.

The sample of the finger lap and building are within the oval field custom, however the rim is completely different. Added for power wanted on an object supposed for flooring use, the rim is a pleasing crowning glory on a field with out a lid or a deal with. The inside finish of this rim band will not be feathered; moderately it’s fitted into the sting of the highest finger curve. The band will be ended straight and feathered, or have a single slim finger. The fastenings are brass escutcheon pins snipped and peened on the within.

Renaming this historic kind for brand spanking new use within the modern house is a becoming strategy to re-introduce this Shaker traditional.


No. 11 • No. 22 • No. 33 • No. 44

Diameter 7″ • 8 14” • 9 12” • 11″

Band (l, w) 3 14” x 29″ • 3 38” x 33″ • 3 12” x 39 12” • 5 14” x 43″

Band thickness 564“-332” • 332“-764” • 764“-187• 64“-18

Rim 38” x 2 712” • 38” x 31″ • 716” x 35″ • 716” x 40 12

Fingers 3; 2 14” lengthy • 3; 2 38” lengthy • 3; 2 12” lengthy • 4; 2 58” lengthy

Circumference 22 12” • 26 14” • 30 14” • 34 34

Tack Size #214 #214 #214 or #212 #214 or #212

Source Grasselli1 Wilson2 Myers3 Sprigg4

1Steve Grasselli, oval field craftsman, Syracuse, N.Y., from instance in Hancock Shaker Village assortment.

2John Wilson, the Home Shop, Charlotte, Mich., supplies an intermediate dimension in a nesting collection.

3D. Clifford Myers, “Oval Boxes” in “Simple Gifts, 25 Authentic Shaker Craft Projects,” by the Editors of Garden Way Publishing, Storey Communications 1990.

4June Sprigg, description of object #53 (not photographed) in “Shaker Design,” Whitney Museum of American Art 1986, p. 185.

The Project in Four Sizes

The “Proportions” desk (beneath) supplies three examples (Nos. 1, Three and 4) from the literature based mostly on historic requirements, in addition to one dimension (No. 2) to finish a set for these disposed to graduated nestings. Nos. 1, 2 and three will represent such a set. The largest spherical, No. 4, has taller sides that match its proportions.

Fingers & Bands

The finger form and size are just like these of oval containers of a comparable dimension with one modification: The prime finger begins 316” farther again (as proven within the drawings on the following web page) to supply the start line for a rim. Without this, the smaller sizes specifically seem crowded as soon as the rim is in place.

The essential dimension in any bent-wood challenge is the band thickness. The ease of bending, and even the success in finishing the challenge, depends upon it. The thinner the wooden the simpler and extra dependable the bend, however the thicker it’s the stronger the challenge. In each circumstances the visible look is affected.

The historic vary is from 564” for the 7″-diameter No. 1 field, to 18” for the 912“-diameter No. Three instance (see “Proportions”). (Note: An common band thickness of 110” would work for all 4 sizes; use #214 copper tacks to safe a band of that thickness.)

Note that the highest finger begins 3⁄16″ farther again than the others. The inside finish of the rim will tuck into this area, so make sure to not flip your sample the other way up. (See “Add the rim” on web page 32.)

Box makers perceive what a wide selection that is, with two completely different lengths of copper tacks required, relying on thickness.

Bending & Tacking

Fingers. Use a band noticed to take away the waste and lower to tough dimensions. Now drill holes within the marked areas for the copper tacks.

Shaker bentwood containers have the within finish of the band’s thickness feathered about 2″ so it can mix easily. The outdoors finish is lower in distinctive fingers with sleek curved edges which can be Gothic in look.

After selecting which dimension field you want to make, prep your materials. Then observe the “Finger Patterns” (beneath) for the finger form and trim the lower edges with a knife to create a slight bevel.

Carving. I exploit a utility knife with a fastened, heavy-duty blade to trim the fingers to closing form, and to chop a slight bevel on the perimeters.

Drill 116” pilot holes for the tacks within the areas marked on the sample, then skinny the finger finish about 1″ again on a sander to scale back the tricks to about half-thickness; that can permit the ends to adapt to the curved floor.

Feather. Use a belt sander to skinny the band inventory on the straight finish about 2″ again that will help you extra simply bend a honest curve.

Feather the band’s inside straight finish and outdoors finish again about 2″ to nearly a knife edge. Shape the rim’s inside finish to nestle into the band’s finger.

Now mark the circumference size on the band. Measure this from the feathered inside finish and make a pencil mark close to the finger finish. After soaking and bending, this marks the place the wrapped band will finish.

In scorching water. My copper water tray sits on a scorching plate, with wooden blocks below every finish for stability. A full boil will not be essential; 180° F will soften the lignin sufficiently for bending in about 10-20 minutes.

But earlier than you soak the wooden, you need to put together a kind and shapers in your chosen dimension of spherical field. The kind is just a 1″-thick foam (or wooden) core, lower in a circle the diameter of the field.

Shapers, typically referred to as followers or formers, are spherical wooden corks, 34” thick with a 10° beveled edge and two to 4 1″-diameter holes for air flow and finger holds. You’ll want two shapers for every field.

Bending. Remove the band from the new water and bend it across the kind. You’re aiming just for the approximate form, so don’t fuss with wrapping it tightly.

You are actually able to soak the band and rim in water to make them pliable. Both water and warmth have an effect on the flexibleness of the wooden. You’re most likely accustomed to how soaking makes wooden limber, however warmth above 180° F makes lignin smooth, which is efficient, both alone as in some musical instrument building, or together with soaking. Both scorching water and steam-bending are efficient for this function, with a soaking time of solely 10 to 20 minutes. Soaking the items within the bathtub additionally works, however the time is hours, not minutes lengthy (a closing rinse with a teakettle of boiling water may assist).

Forms & Construction

The proper dimension. Remove the shape, then match the feathered finish to the penciled circumference mark. Use a scrap of wooden and spring clamps to carry the fingers in place.

Bending the band across the kind will yield an approximate form. Have the shape on the prepared as you take away the band from the water. Bend it across the kind whereas scorching.

Clinched tacks. Copper tack heads are a part of the attribute look of any Shaker field. Hammer the tacks in place, then clinch the backs on the moist band to make a everlasting fastening. If you don’t have an anvil, a quick size of iron pipe makes an efficient floor for driving and clinching. Insert shapers in each side.

Remove the shape and match the feathered finish to the pencil-marked circumference line. A scrap wooden and spring-clamp association for holding the finger ideas will assist as you progress to the anvil to tack and clinch the fingers.

Now insert the wooden shapers on the prime and backside.

Rims & Pins

Add the rim. The rim will get tucked into the curve of the highest finger and ends with a 4″ lap that can challenge about 1″ past the fingers. After bending the rim in place, take away the highest shaper and maintain the rim in place (a spring clamp may assist) as you drill 1⁄16″-diameter pilot holes each 3″ for the escutcheon pins (with three holes 2″ aside on the lap).

With your escutcheon pins on the prepared, bend the rim across the prime of the band. It begins by neatly tucking into the curve of the highest finger. Add a drop of glue below the feathered finish earlier than driving the escutcheon pins.

Escutcheon pins have a small half-round head and owe their origin to medieval heraldry objects displayed on a defend (escutcheon) hooked up with roundhead nails. They are bought within the trim {hardware} part of shops in numerous gauge sizes such because the #16, which is 116” diameter, and in numerous lengths from 12” lengthy. Any size will work, however you should definitely purchase strong brass moderately than brass-plated metal.

Snip, file & peen. Snip the tip of the escutcheon pins as shut as attainable, then file them near flush earlier than peening.

The escutcheon pins are among the many defining options of this challenge. The query stays the best way to work them. They are too thick to clinch and too lengthy to peen. So – after eradicating the highest kind – drill 116” pilot holes each 3″ alongside the rim band, with the ultimate three 2″ aside on the feathered finish.

Drive pins by means of the moist band and snip them off inside as shut as attainable to the wooden – nearer than diagonal cutters will sometimes permit. So you’ll probably must file the ends almost flush after clipping.

Mark a circle. Once the band and rim are totally dry, the field will maintain its spherical form. So you need to use it because the template for marking the underside board.

Then faucet the snipped pins on an anvil or on the within with a ball peen hammer to barely peen them.

Reinsert the highest kind and set the field apart to dry for a few days.

After the field is dry, a drop of glue and spring clamp could also be wanted to shut any hole the place the rim begins within the prime finger curve.

Bottom Boards

Secure the underside. I exploit toothpicks to safe the underside, drilling 5⁄64″ pilot holes each 2″-3″ across the field, centered within the thickness of the underside. After tapping the toothpicks in place, I exploit facet cutters to snip them off, then sand clean.

Traditionally, Shaker field backside boards had been 38“-thick quartersawn white pine (quartersawing minimizes dimensional change with humidity). If you like a hardwood backside, it’s higher to make use of a veneered plywood board for dimensional stability to keep away from future gaps and breaks. I discover that 5-ply 14“-thick birch plywood works nicely and enhances no matter species you choose for facet bands.

Mark the form of the spherical backside from the dry band itself utilizing a sharp pencil, then lower it on the band noticed.

Sand as much as your traces, giving the sting a 2° bevel angled towards the inside; this can make the underside wedge into place for a tight match.

You have a number of selections to lock the underside, from wooden pegs (drill 564“-diameter pilot holes), to copper shoe pegs, to #16 brass escutcheon pins (the latter two each require 116“-diameter pilot holes).


Nesting set. Three open containers (these are Nos. 1, 2 and three sizes) represent a set.

Round open containers with rims will be completed equally to lidded containers of their day, with milk paint, a coloured wash coat or a clear end. The alternative is yours.

My choice is an oil-based polyurethane varnish as a result of it provides heat to the wooden tone and is sturdy for the vary of makes use of that the challenge invitations. And, as a result of these containers don’t have any lids, I end in and out. (Finishing the within of a lidded field traps end odors, typically for years to come back. So these I go away unfinished on the inside.)

Use a wipe-on poly or make your personal from normal varnish thinned 4:1 with a VMP Naphtha thinner. Keep the challenge and end heat (75° F) so skinny coats go on simply. Rub the ultimate coat with a brown paper bag to burnish the floor clean.

This completed challenge is nothing to spit at. Display it proudly. 

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