Build a Classic Shaker Counter

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This shallow chest of drawers is a catalog of traditional joinery details. 

Of the many reasons I am drawn to Shaker furniture, the one that stands strongest is this: designing and building Shaker pieces affords me the opportunity to explore the basics of a form without being distracted by unnecessary design elements. Most folks would call this piece a bureau, but the Shakers called it a counter, probably because many such pieces were built to serve as a work areas for sewing and other tasks. 

The design for my counter was inspired by an antique example built by Grove Wright, in Hancock, Mass. Like many Shaker cabinetmakers, Wright placed a high value on balanced form, pleasing proportions, subtle ornamentation and excellent craftsmanship. Building my own counter was an opportunity to apply these high standards and create a new classic piece. My wood choice (curly maple) was guided by the original, but other domestic species would be just as suitable. I think the counter would look stunning in madrone or white oak. 

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