Hancock Candle Stand DVD

It’s funny how something can look so easy and end up being so daunting. It is also surprising to me that one of the most famous pieces of Shaker furniture has gone so many years without being properly measured and documented. I am referring here to the candle stand in the collection at Hancock Shaker Village. There are plans for this table in many books; many claim to be measured from the table in Hancock’s collection, but I have yet to find a published plan that has the correct dimensions and shapes.

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Original table at HSV, photo by J. Farnsworth

After numerous attempts to build a table that had the elegant flow of the original using the published plans from several different books and photos of four different original tables, I failed at every attempt. I ended up contacting the folks at Hancock, and they were gracious enough to let me document the table in their collection.

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Magic legs!

I also managed to wrangle Joshua Farnsworth into doing a video on the candle stand. He and I traveled to Hancock to measure and photograph the original table, as well as a couple other projects. A short video about our trip is available here.

The video on the candle stand just went up for sale at Wood and Shop store today. It is 244 minuets long and includes footage of our trip to Hancock, an examination of the original piece and detailed step by step instruction on how I reproduce this epic piece of Shaker furniture. The measured plans I made from the original table are included on the DVD as well. And yes, I really did measure the original!

Below is the link to the preview of the candle stand video.

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A reproduction table I made using the patterns from the original.

Of all the things I have made, these tables generate the most comments from folks; almost everyone likes them. I’m not completely sure why that is other than the fact that it is minimalistic but not plain. No bull$%&*. “It is what it is” type of thing (I think). For me it has been one of those projects that when I sit back and look at what I have done, it simply makes me happy.

— Will Myers

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18 Responses to Hancock Candle Stand DVD

  1. It is a thing of beauty. I hope you also enjoyed the pleasure when making it.

  2. tpobrienjr says:

    “Timeless” may not be the word to describe that table, but “graceful” certainly is.

    • Will Myers says:

      In my opinion this is a truly timeless piece. Well made, appealing to the eye and as functional in 2016 as it was in 1830.

  3. charlie says:

    Shop drawings of Shaker furniture by Ejner Handberg? I would think his drawings are trustworthy.

  4. tmsbmx says:

    A beautiful piece simple looks with a awesome presentation. Thank you 😊

  5. azezo1 says:

    Order placed.

  6. Why do I have to create an account just to buy the disc? Just sell me the disc.

  7. ptross says:

    I’d be interested to hear of some of the faults in the earlier drawings. Do you think it was lack of time or access? The author’s “improvements” on the original? Its always curious that different people can measure the same object and come up with such different data.

    • Will Myers says:

      I think it is probably a combination of all those things. Maybe the powers that be at Hancock in the past did not want exact copies being made. A lot of the books on Shaker furniture have many pieces featured in one volume, the authors may not have spent much time with the individual items. Took a few photos, basic measurements and drew up plans later. Could be they thought they were improving the table by adding and taking away details. Might be like the old saying “the worst enemy of good is better”. In the end I really do not know for sure.

  8. martin says:

    I wish there were a digital of this. I really want to watch this. I do not own a DVD player… thanks for all your hard work Will. Always impressed with your work…

  9. Paul Murphy says:

    The elegance is undeniable. The main spindle looks just like a wine bottle. I guess I just never thought about how elegant those were. The curve of the legs (claws) is also quite pleasing. Slender and elegant; they ravish the eye without adornment. A very pleasing Shaker composition.

  10. Luke Maddux says:

    You mentioned it was “daunting”. Why do you view this as a daunting build? Is it because of the actual woodworking, or just the prospect of being disappointed with it if you get the dimensions wrong?

    • Will Myers says:

      The joinery is not so much the problem, the sliding dovetails are a bit of a challenge but manageable with good layout and a little practice. The problem lies in the shape of the legs in particular more so than the spindle. If the profile of the legs are wrong you lose the overall look of the piece in my opinion. Plus there are a lot of details not mentioned in most previous publications, the tapered toes on the legs, the shaping of the top support board, radius on the top of the legs and etc. It is a simple looking piece but it really is not.

  11. dkdrew79 says:

    I always enjoy Will’s blog posts. Does he have a place of his own that he writes to on a regular basis?

    • Will Myers says:

      Thanks! I post stuff here and WK Fine Tools. I think that is about all of my drivel the world can handle!

  12. tsstahl says:

    “…when I sit back and look at what I have done, it simply makes me happy.”

    I love it when that happens. A simple shoebox and a book case made from leftovers are what did it for me in 2016.

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