When I began building furniture, I was, as are many new-to-woodworking furniture makers, into Shaker pieces. I enjoyed the simplistic designs and straight lines the Shakers put into each piece. If you sent me into the shop to build anything I wanted, it would be a Shaker project.
One of my first furniture books was John Kassay’s “The Book of Shaker Furniture” (University of Massachusetts Press). I thumbed through that book for countless hours trying to find a project to build. Not that there were not enough choices, I was working to whittle down the number of pieces until I arrived at “the one.”
On one of those searches, I found a three-drawer sewing table that became the last project standing at the end – it was the one. I’ve since built that design many times. While snooping around an antique Shaker furniture auction recently, I discovered a similar two-drawer version. The two-drawer sewing table presents a cleaner line, and is more table-like. Plus, it fits into many more areas in today’s homes.
As is most often the case, work on a table-like project begins with the legs. The tools we use to work on projects sometimes guide our building processes. Because I’m going to plunge-rout the mortises for this project, I’ll leave the legs square until after I get all the mortises cut. Tapering afterward allows more support for my router as I work. Plus, after the mortises are plowed, it’s easy to determine just which faces of the legs need to be tapered.