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Self-portrait, Lewis Miller (1796-1882) - Collections of York County History Center, York, PA


"When a man makes something he not only does something to the wood of which he makes it: he does something to himself... The hours of patient endeavour leave their mark on the man as truly as on the work he does.” 

From The Woodworker - Volume 53, 1949

My projects are mostly the result of seeing something I liked and wanting to reproduce it. When possible, I try to incorporate at least one learning activity in each project - be it a new technique, finish, or style - in order to grow as a craftsman. Everything you see here was made using only hand tools.


Please check back occasionally. I'll be adding more projects as time goes by.


Chippendale Looking Glass

I really like the form of these old mirrors. The thin molding applied over a quartersawn frame provides a stronger housing than a mitered one. And the exuberant scrollwork is a treat for the eyes. I made this one based on an example shown during the Working Wood in the 18th Century - Bedroom Furniture symposium in Colonial Williamsburg, and another by Steve Latta in Fine Woodworking magazine.

Shaker Sewing Stand

The Shakers, a communal religious sect that thrived in the 17th and 18th centuries, made sewing stands in a few different configurations. I particularly like this later form with two drawers that open from either side. I made this one in cherry, using pine for the drawer sides, which highlights the dovetail construction. 

Shaker Oval Boxes

Bentwood boxes of various forms are made throughout the world. With their oval footprint, swallowtail cutouts and copper tacks, those produced by the Shakers are wonderfully elegant and instantly recognizable. Originally used for storing everything from herbs to nails, they are lightweight, amazingly strong, and nest for storage.

I've made dozens of these boxes - mostly for charity auctions. While many box makers use "pretty" woods like cherry, I prefer the Shaker tradition of maple sides with pine tops and bottoms.

18th Century Tavern Table

Tables like this were common in taverns and homes of the late 1700s. While varying in size and and style, they all have certain distinctive features: turned legs, a stretcher base, and simple boarded top. Mine is not a reproduction per se but follows the basic design parameters. I made the base of poplar, using pinned mortise and tenon joinery for structural integrity, and finished it with milk paint. I decided to use curly maple for the top to give an otherwise large, flat surface some visual flair.

c1790 Shelf Clock

Currently in the drawings stage, this clock is will be a close reproduction of one made for an early governor of Pennsylvania by Daniel Rose. It is certainly my most challenging project to date. Not only does it require carving and inlay, the original is in a private collection so all I have to work with are two front view photographs, the overall height, and some input from a gentleman who did restoration work on it over twenty years ago. This means I have to extrapolate most measurements from the photos and base the sides, back, and internal construction on other clocks of the same period and geographic area. I will start posting progress photos once the working drawings are finished.

Tools and Shop Stuff

I occasionally make my own tools and shop necessaries. 

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I made the frame of this bow saw out of maple. The handles and blade were purchased from Gramercy Tools.

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Using hand saws requires saw benches. Unlike 'saw horses', which are about 29" tall, saw benches are knee high. I made these of southern yellow pine and beech.

winding sticks.jpg

Winding sticks and a straightedge are neccesary when flattening boards with hand tools. I made these from rift sawn walnut. The inlays are maple.

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