Upcoming in Issue Three: “Making a Stand: Form and Function for $1.50” by Michael Updegraff
Most woodworkers today admire the form of the period candlestand. From the graceful, sinuous legs to the seemingly intricate sliding dovetails that secure them, from the details of the turned standard to the beautiful grain exhibited in a tilting top, these pieces sometimes seem to be more sculpture than household mainstay. But this type was possibly the most common piece of furniture around in the 18th or 19th century, and was often present in every room of the house. Consequently, makers of the day built these stands not only in great quantity, but fast. After all, a single candlestand typically fetched from $.50 to $1.50, less than a day’s pay at the turn of the 19th century. Speed and efficiency were necessary to turn a profit.
I begin by felling a tree with an axe, and work through the riving, resawing, and ripping necessary to generate the stock required. The top is glued up from a rough-sawn piece of cherry that needed a good home. The standard (or pillar, or column, depending on whom you ask) is laid out from photographs of a historical piece and turned on a spring-pole lathe.
The legs, also patterned off of a period example, are secured to the standard with sliding dovetails and by a “spider” fashioned from a piece of scrap metal. We’ll be keeping an eye on the clock throughout this build, and looking at various ways to improve efficiency in the process. After all, the kids are hungry, the barn needs a new roof, and $1.50 only goes so far.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s announcement of the next article upcoming in M&T Issue Three...