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Shopkeep.

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This is the shop and warehouse of Duncan Phyfe, on Fulton Street in New York City c.1816. I think that must be his home on the right, otherwise why have it in the painting? Duncan Phyfe was a very successful cabinet maker in the early 19th Century and the first American to have a furniture style named after him, though not in his time. I’d love to have seen the City in this time period–look at all that sky! I also love the person peering out of the attic window.

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This is the house, shop, and warehouse of David Alling on Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey c.1835 (attributed to Johann Jenny). David Alling was a tremendously prolific “fancy chair” maker (yeah,that’s a thing) and exporter who made tens of thousands of chairs and shipped them all over the south and mid-west. I love the bare trees in this painting, and all of the details.

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And guess what, here’s my house and showroom in Lambertville, New Jersey c.2013. The sign is hidden by the still-leafy tree. It makes me happy to share something with these craftsmen and shop keeps of the past, who lived and worked and made furniture right there in the same place. It’s a rare thing these days for furniture to be designed, made, and sold by the same person in one place.

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Ellie’s Trunk

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This is a keepsake box for a new born named Ellie. It is a copy of a box made in the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts between 1695-1725. Wallace Nutting calls it a trunk in his book Furniture Treasury.
I painted it green to emphasize the symbolism of the the growing vine, and a new life.

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The pattern of the carving is an expanded version of the pattern on Hadley chests. In fact, I used the same pattern that I used for Ellie’s parents wedding chest, and it fit the boxes measurements perfectly. I just “grew” the vine to fit the height of the box.

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I made the box out of a wide board of sassafras that was re-sawn into half inch thick sides. Sassafras has a wonderful smell and carves well, the original was made from riven oak with a pine lid and bottom. Ellie’s box is joined by half blind and through dovetails. I made another box joined with nails and a rabbet like the original.

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The carving on this box is more “developed” than most Hadley chests because it is carved partially in the round, it is still charmingly naive and child like. The ground of the carving has been dressed with punch-work.

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Here is a bible box I made in comparison. Ellie’s trunk is 25 1/2″ long, 16 1/4″ wide, and 9 1/2″ high


A place for everything.

Earlier this year I made this “Welsh dresser” for a person in Philadelphia. A Welsh dresser is kind of a catchall phrase here. It usually refers to any number of designs for kitchen storage, work, and display above and bellow. This design has a plate rack, three lockable drawers, two lockable doors and a center opening, sometimes called a kennel.

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 The monolithic piece is made of curly maple, a grain which causes the wood to shift color from dark to light depending on how the light is shining. Here it has been stained to a warm amber color. The effect is quite beautiful as the sun changes the light in the room throughout the day.

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The lower section is a frame and panel construction with pegged mortise and tenon joints. The lipped drawers are made with hand cut half-blind dovetails . Hand carved  tombstone panels liven up  the doors.   Grain and color of each board was carefully considered to give a unified facade. On top there are gently shaped shelves for plates and glasses. It is held together with hand cut dovetails and through wedged mortise and tenons. A carefully matched scalloped valance and crown molding top it all off.

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Looking back at 2012

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It’s been a long old year here at Antick. It all started with a new customer Mr. G—, an interesting fellow who likes to turn discarded lumber into unusual antiques. This is the first piece, a tall case clock made of old pine book shelves. He then paints or otherwise finishes them himself.

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Reproducing a reproduction, again using reclaimed lumber, and a riff on the same form.DSC09635

I also made a new stick for a cane, it’s ebony carved to resemble blackthorn.

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I’ve already posted about this double sided bookcase. Then I made tables in cherry and curly maple.

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Another reclaimed lumber chest and a thoroughly modern nixie tube clock out of a solid block of walnut.

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A miniature blanket chest with drawer made of reclaimed pine.

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Two compound angle dovetail projects in cherry.

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A Queen Anne mirror in curly maple, and a Pennsylvania German bench.

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This is an architectural model that is also a box, it’s a very cool design and was the first time I have cut a dovetail in plexiglass!

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A ship model weathervane and solid wood skull made of bass wood.

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More weathervanes, the top one is based on Albert Pinkham Ryder’s painting “the Racetrack”.

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More architectural models.

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This is a bathroom vanity made of white oak in an old english Elizabethan style. It is almost eleven feet long.

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It will be stained quite dark. I love the rhythm of the scrolled cuts at the base and the many levels of mouldings and carving of the facade.

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We are wishing for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year for us all.


Double Sided Cabinet

This is a commissioned book case that I’ve just completed. It is made of cherry, with an oil, shellac and wax finish. It was designed to divid the space between a kitchen and great room and be accessible from both sides, one side is open and the other has doors. The case is quite large, 54″ long 36″ high and 22″ deep.

The case is a good height for a serving station during parties.The shelves accommodate most art books.

Hand cut half-blind dovetails join the sides of the case which sits on a frame supported by ogee bracket feet.


Stool, Coffee Table, Bench?

This is a stool I had been wanting to make for a while. It is based on a stool possibly made in Philadelphia between 1680 and 1720. I just love the square structure and simplicity of the doric columns. The original piece is quite small so I scaled it up a bit for a more comfortable seating height.
I upholstered them with jute webbing, burlap, horse hair stuffing and muslin. they need a layer of cotton batting when the fabric goes on. I think a solid color would be best, maybe velvet? maybe tacks?

Once I began making the parts for the stool, I realized how great it would be to make a set. They could be used a number of ways and they don’t take up much space. Arrange them in a square and they become a coffee table, though they could still be used for seating during parties (or for tying your kids shoes). They can be used as a window seat or set up in tetris shapes as room dividers.


I had a lot of fun making the columns. I lined them up in group of 18. It was cool how light and shadows changed inside as you move around. It would make a great lamp base.

The stool’s legs and stretchers are made of walnut and the rails are made of ash. It is held together with pegged mortise and tenon joints. There are sixteen joints in each stool.

They can be used around a table, like this one or something more modern. This is a curly maple tea table based on examples made by John Townsend in Newport, Rhode Island c.1760-1790.

I made a double seat one too!


Bible Boxes for Baby Books

This is a box I made for my son Isaac’s Baby Book. It also has lots of room for keepsakes. It is based on a box pictured in Wallace Nutting’s Furniture of the Pilgrim Century. The box in the book is from 1670-1690 and held together with nails. I decided to use half-blind dovetails to join the front of the box and through dovetails for the back. Half-blind dovetails can only be seen from one side, so they don’t interfere with the carving on the front.

Inside the box is a till with its own lid, which can be used to prop the top open. There is also a secret compartment. This box belongs to my oldest son, Malcolm, and is pretty much filled up already. I tried make the boxes unique while keeping the design identical. The difference is all in the finish. Isaac’s is painted green over red milk paint with a coat of shellac, and Malcolm’s is red with most of the paint sanded off and a coat of linseed oil. Both boxes are made of sassafras, a local hardwood that is light, aromatic and closely resembles chestnut.

The carving is of a tulip vine, which for me symbolizes new life and continuing growth.

So, here’s a funny thing…you may have already seen this box. It was used as a prop in the John Adams mini-series on HBO! Here it is with Abigail Adams (Laura Linney) and George Washington (David Morse).