Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Period Furniture Details

Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Period Furniture Details

SKU# 070708

Building, Carving, and Turning Techniques for 18th-Century Furniture

Lonnie Bird


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Other Formats
  • Product # 070708
  • Type Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-56158-590-8
  • Published Date 2005
  • Dimensions 9-1/4 x 10-7/8
  • Pages 144
  • Photos color photos
  • Drawings and drawings

This new paperback expands on the techniques covered in Shaping Wood. It covers joinery relating to 18th-century furniture styles, as well as the demanding techniques required to complete ornate period pieces. Turning and carving, as well as building accurately, are all included in a highly visual format. Over 400 photos and drawings illustrate the methods -- from half-blind dovetails to gooseneck moldings. If you love period details and long to create them, you will want this book.

You'll learn about:

  • Casework techniques
  • Moldings and edge treatments
  • Carved and turned legs
  • Period chair components
  • Finials and applied carvings

About the author
Lonnie Bird is a professional woodworker, teacher, writer, and tool designer whose work has been featured in Fine Woodworking. His books include Shaping Wood, The Shaper Book, and The Bandsaw Book. He lives in Dandridge, Tennessee.


Preview a sample of this book below

Table of Contents

SECTION 1. Moldings
Crown Moldings
Dentil Moldings

Knee Blocks
Cabriole Leg

SECTION 3. Tabletops
Scalloped Top
Dished Top
Rule Joints

Pad Foot
Trifid Foot
Ball and Claw Foot
Flat Base
Ogee Feet

SECTION 5. Bedposts

SECTION 6. Chairs
Arm and Post
Chair Legs
Chair Shoe
Side Rail

SECTION 7. Casework
Template Shaped Components
Gooseneck Molding
Arched Molding
Flutes and Reeds
Base and Capital Molding

Furniture from 18th-century America continues to be among the most popular styles of all time. While other forms of furniture come into style and soon appear dated, period furniture continues as a best-selling classic.

And for good reason -- period furniture is rich with detail. It was produced during a time when there was a broad separation between classes of people. Those with means, just as with people today, sought ways to display their wealth and status in society. One of the primary ways to display opulence in the eighteenth century was through finely crafted furniture. In large, wealthy cities, such as Philadelphia, Boston, and Newport, Rhode Island, furnituremakers crafted highly developed furniture artforms. Embellishment became the norm as artisans pierced, carved, sculpted, inlaid, and gilded what is recognized today as some of the finest examples of furniture ever produced.

As a furnituremaker for over twenty years, I enjoy the challenge of reproducing American period furniture both for its level of technical difficulty as well as its timeless beauty. As you study, draw, and reproduce these classic examples of Americana, you can't help but to be immensely impressed with the period craftsman's sense of design and proportion, as well as his tremendous skill with a few relatively simple tools.

As a woodworker, if you're not accustomed to using hand tools, then I encourage you to begin by accumulating the essential edge tools such as planes, chisels, and a dovetail saw and enjoying learning to use them. Furniture produced entirely with machines is void of the fine details that define period furniture. Quite simply, machines for all their sophistication can't duplicate what's created by a trained eye and a skillful hand. In other words, while it is acceptable and desirable to use machines to saw curves, shape moldings, and even cut some types of joints, hand tools are still required for many of the details. In the process you'll experience the delight of cutting a dovetail by hand and hearing the unique sound of a sharp plane as it slices the surface of a board.

No book or even several volumes of books can contain the wealth of furniture details created by America's colonial craftsmen. But, it is my hope that this book will inspire you to deeper study and appreciation of period furniture, and, most importantly, to develop your skill in building it.

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