GARY A. LEAKE WOODWORKING

 

Shaker-Style Sideboard

Adirondack Black Cherry with Aromatic Eastern Red Cedar

In accordance with their faith and the strict laws that governed all aspects of their society, the Shakers believed that functionality ruled over fashion and that simplicity kept superfluous embellishment and therefore vanity at bay. Thus guided, these same Shaker craftsmen designed and produced some of the most beautiful furniture in the world. Shaker furniture is well known for its design simplicity, clean lines, wonderfully proportioned dimensions, and superb craftsmanship. The hand-turned post (leg) whose diameter almost imperceptibly decreases as it gracefully sweeps downward toward the floor epitomizes the Shaker design philosophy and represents the pinnacle of Shaker art.

The sideboard has been lovingly fashioned from black cherry (Prunus serotina) sourced from the Adirondack area of upstate New York. The oval growth ring centered within the top provides the focal point for this functional sideboard. The arched backboard (possibly originating from the New Gloucester, Maine Shaker community) supports the theme above while the under-arched drawer subtly adds continuity below. Hand-cut bevels that encircle the top and the lower shelf soften the effect of these rather substantial planer surfaces and also provide a hint of how the grain develops beneath the surface. The design features a sweeping under-arch and utilizes the hand-turned legs to integrate the curves with the rectangular top.

The inner drawer liner has been crafted from aromatic eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) planks originating from the Ozark Mountains. This timber is unique in its marvelous 'cedar chest' aroma that permeates the senses. The pieces of cedar have been specifically selected for their grain, book-matched knotty pattern, and color.

The joinery for the sideboard includes hand worked exposed dovetail, traditional mortise-and-tenon, rabbet, and butt joints.

The sideboard has been hand finished with a durable oil-varnish to highlight and protect the unique character of the black cherry giving it a warm feeling to the touch. Note that the drawer liner has been left in its natural, unfinished state to allow the aromatic charm of the red cedar to perform its magic.

Dimensions: 36-5/8 inches in length, 16-1/2 inches width, 36-3/8 inches in height