Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 147, November 2017Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
The Down to Earth Woodworker
By Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

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Peculiar Grace

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

"The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it."

Figure 14 - Thomas Merton commemorative sign in Louisville, KY
With those words, Thomas Merton served a feast of insight to a young man dabbling in woodworking, and my love for Shaker furniture was cast in stone. While it is true we have a ways to go on the newest Down To Earth Woodworking shop project (Under The Tablesaw Extension Combination Storage, Infeed, and Outfeed Cabinet – be sure to check out this month's video by clicking here), I am busy designing my next furniture project, a Shaker inspired desk. I hope to start on this project just as soon as the snow gets too deep to continue working on the barn… oh, if I can just get the roof on!

My new desk will be made, in a nod to one of the classic mediums, of cherry, but will be modernized to reflect how we use desks today. No longer do we dip pen in ink and write or draw by candlelight. Instead, we do everything on a computer using a keyboard and a touch pad or mouse. Most of us no longer keep paper so files, and thus file drawers, are not necessary. In fact, all drawers are somewhat superfluous, since little more is stored except perhaps a flash drive or a leftover cord or cable. And speaking of cords and cables, what could possibly be more ruinous to the clean lines of a Shaker piece than cables dangling all about? I will need to do something about that, too. Many challenges in this design, and as of right now, no real good answers, but perhaps if I continue to believe that an angel might come and use my desk, the inspiration will flow. See you next month, and thanks for reading!

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Steven Johnson is retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life). Steven can be reached directly via email at sjohnson@downtoearthwoodworking.com

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