Shaker Furniture and Windsor Chairs
Every piece of furniture that leaves my shop I build myself. From the choosing of the lumber to the final hand rubbed coat of finish, I control every aspect of the construction. Because I work alone, I am able to take the extra time to do the little things that separate the average piece from the truly special piece.
My case pieces (i.e. a dresser) are built with solid wood, carefully selected for color and grain. The finished surfaces are hand-planed ensuring the best clarity of the wood. The drawers are dovetailed and carefully fitted, ensuring years of effortless use. Even the drawer bottoms are solid wood, cut much like a raised panel. The drawer dividers are dovetailed into the side, ensuring a joint that will hold for generations. All of these methods add up to a superior piece of furniture.
The Windsor chairs are built with the same attention to detail that my case pieces are. Different woods are used for different purposes—maple is used for the turned parts, owing to its strength and ability to hold crisp details. For the steam-bent parts and the spindles, oak or ash is used, as they work easily and can be bent. The seat to which all these parts anchor is pine, due to the ease in which it is worked with hand tools. With the exception of the seat, which is sawn, all parts are split, or riven, in order to ensure the strength is not lost, for example, the grain runs from end to end, ensuring maximum strength and flexibility.
The seat is carved by hand, using hand tools with good Scrabble names like scorp, travisher, adze, and compass plane. The edge of the seat is eased with a drawknife, not a jigsaw. The holes for the legs are tapered by hand, creating a wedge socket, which joins with the leg, ensuring a joint that will last for centuries.
Factory chairs feature a straight hole, which holds for a while, after a few short years, the leg then loosens and becomes weak. The legs are hand turned, giving each piece details that simply cannot be replicated by a factory made piece. Another advantage to hand turning is that any pattern can be made to match an existing chair.
The finish I apply is milk paint, usually a three color layering—Lexington green, followed by barn red, finished with black. This finish is hand rubbed and top-coated with a wiping varnish. The finish will be worn away in areas with the most contact (the arms for example) creating a wonderful patina. The finish can be antiqued (distressed), although some customers will prefer to let the chair write its own story.
I stated some of the reasons about why the various methods I use in my pieces will give value for your investment, but rest assured that this is furniture to be proud of. I'm confident and proud of the work I produce and know you will be as well.
Please visit my website at www.TKellyFurniture.com