View Full Version : Project: Shaker Style Candle Stand (Updated)

Jim Becker
03-05-2006, 9:48 PM
A few years ago I made a nice Shaker style candle stand out of cherry...we enjoy having it in our home as it's just the right size for so many uses. Accordingly, I decided to use a nice tiger maple board I acquired awhile back to start another one...same design; different look. Here's my first one in case you've not seen it before:


Speaking of the design, it's one by Chris Becksvoort that was originally published in Fine Woodworking. I work from the same article as published in Taunton's In the Shaker Style on page 54. (ISBN 1-56158-396-0) I like the simplicity of this design as well as the fact that it provides a good opportunity to combine flat work with turning. I also like some of the subtlties that Becksvoort put into this piece, such as the slight taper of the legs from 3/4" at the "root" down to 1/2" at the tips. This brings them into wonderful proportion to the 1/2" thick top. Unlike Becksvoort, I wouldn't never do that tape on the jointer...I prefer a belt sander for this...'much less of a "raise the hair on the back of the neck" operation! ;)

At any rate, I got started on this project today by milling the lumber for the top and legs at the jointer/planer. I also cut out the legs at the bandsaw as shown here.


The top was glued up and allowed to set for a few hours while I and the family enjoyed a nice birthday dinner and desert.


The top was leveled in the drum sander and then worked over with the ROS up through 180 grit.


And this is the result...a very nice blank to form the top from as continued in the next post.


Matt Meiser
03-05-2006, 9:55 PM
I really like the original, and the new one looks like it will be even more stunning. One of these has always been on my project list, but I've never gotten to it.

Jim Becker
03-05-2006, 9:56 PM
I broke out the MicroFence setup to cut the circle with a router and since I couldn't find the attachment for my Dewalt DW618, I opted to use the old PC 7129 that I did have the attachment for. This setup does a great job and leaves a reasonably nice edge for finishing later.


And here is said top...I'm really happy with the figure. It's nice working with one board for the whole project (other than the turned spindle) as everything matches in grain and color. I wiped a little mineral spirits on this to get a look at what is lurking in that wood.


Next, I began the refining of the legs which were rough cut at the bandsaw. All three legs were stacked using some double-stick tape so they will end up "identical". The first step was at the table saw truing up the edge that will engage the spindle and the bottoms of the legs that will sit on the floor.


Next, the stacked legs were taken to the OSS to smooth the edges and bring all the contours even over all three legs.


And a little hand work paring with a sharp chisel finishes off the legs.


Jim Becker
03-05-2006, 9:59 PM
So here is today's work...a table top, three legs and (not show) the under table support that engages the spindle.


The next steps will involve turning the spindle to spec from a yet-unbought billet of tiger maple, cutting the sliding dovetails in the spindle and fitting the "male" dovetails on the legs, finishing the edges of the table top, and final assembly. That will have to wait...my work will keep me out of the shop until sometime next weekend and I may not have the opportunity to source the spindle billet before then.

Ken Fitzgerald
03-05-2006, 10:24 PM
Jim..........Thanks for posting! It gives me some idea on how to continue with a similar project. I personally like the the shaker style spindle. SWMBO likes something a little more ornate, unfortunately. Thus my project will be a whole lot less like the original shaker table.:(

Keel McDonald
03-06-2006, 7:08 AM
Very nice Jim! The step-by-step tutorial helps many of us, not to mentions it makes for good reading. Please continue to post progress and pics of your stand.

David Duke
03-06-2006, 4:23 PM
Nice work Jim, while your original is very nice I can't wait to see the tiger maple.

Alan Tolchinsky
03-06-2006, 9:16 PM
Very nice Jim. I couldn't think of anything better to do on my birthday than ww'ing. It looks like you had a fun b-day to me. Thanks for the great tutorial.

Martin Shupe
03-06-2006, 10:16 PM
Nice tutorial, Jim.

May I ask about the notches at the top of the legs? Is that your idea, or CHB's?

Can't wait to see the rest of the story, as I have this project on my list of "things started, but not finished".:(

Are you going to keep it light or stain it to pop the curl?

Corey Hallagan
03-06-2006, 10:33 PM
Great looking project and great photo story you are putting together. Going to be a looker when done. Jim, is there a circle cutting jig made by dewalt to fit the DW 618?


Ken Fitzgerald
03-06-2006, 10:37 PM
Martin....I'm betting that notch is to hide the dovetail in the spindle.

Von Bickley
03-06-2006, 10:47 PM

I think this is the perfect style of table for the woodworker. You get flat work and round work on the same project.
Thanks for the pictures...;)

Jim Becker
03-06-2006, 10:49 PM
May I ask about the notches at the top of the legs? Is that your idea, or CHB's?

CHB's design. They allow you to fair the legs into the spindle cleanly since the dovetail is cut with a router...you have to make the male dovetail "short" unless you want to chop out the round dovetail mortis and make it square. No point in that...it's buried in the piece...unless you just want to do the work.

Are you going to keep it light or stain it to pop the curl?

Undecided. I have a little scrap to experiment with. This will be new for me.

Jim, is there a circle cutting jig made by dewalt to fit the DW 618?

I don't know if they have one or not and the so-called "high speed" Internet in this hotel is, um...glacial...so I hope you'll pardon me for not searching it out. That said, it's REALLY easy to make a circle cutting trammel for a router and pretty much every router book has one or more of them to choose from. It can just be a piece of 1/4" hardboard/plywood screwed to the router base and a small hole for a short screw or nail to act as the center pivot point appropriately placed at a distance from the cutter edge/center.

Corey Hallagan
03-06-2006, 10:53 PM
Thanks Jim, very true and I forgot, my Pat Warner base has can be used to make circles but not that large. Again, can't wait to see that grain come alive!


Jim Becker
07-03-2006, 7:41 PM
Sunday I actually got the opportunity to work in the shop and chose to turn the spindle for this candle stand project...finally. Thanks to Andy London, I had some very nice figured maple stock to work with. Next step will be to form the dovetails on the three legs and mill the dovetails in the spindle...the latter operation is done on the lathe using the indexing in the headstock and a router on a jig that fits to the ways.

Billet mounted and ready to turn...I skimmed it on the jointer to be sure I had the figure mounted the way I felt it would best serve the project.


Billet turned round and ready to form into the shapely curves


And here we have the spindle fully turned and ready for the sliding dovetails. It will be reversed on the lathe for that as I wanted the heavier portion of the project closest to the headstock while turning it to shape. I wiped a little mineral spirits on to show the figure...which is pretty darn close to what is on the top and legs. Thanks again, Andy!


Corey Hallagan
07-03-2006, 7:49 PM
Nice work! That's a big spindle! Can't wait to see more!


Jim Ketron
07-03-2006, 8:14 PM
Nice Piece of Maple!
can't wait to see it finished!

Robert Tarr
07-03-2006, 8:21 PM

About time you got back in the shop! Seriously, looking very good and I can't wait to see the final piece. (Please, don't show my wife, or she will add more stuff to my already full, to-do list. :D (or "encourage me" to finish up the shop so I can crank out projects for her (I love that lady.))

Robert (Sitting far away from his shop in Mexico City..)

Ken Fitzgerald
07-03-2006, 9:14 PM
Keep it coming Jim! Great work!

Sam Chambers
07-03-2006, 10:56 PM
Very nice, Jim. I'm a sucker for nicely figured woods, especially maple, and you found some really nice stuff there. Can't wait to see the finished prouct!

Peter Mc Mahon
07-04-2006, 8:57 AM
Hi Jim great looking project and great looking wood! I was taught that when you are turning that whichever end was getting more wood removed from it was the end to put and the headstock. This was because that is the end that will cause the most vibration while you are tooling it, and the end that is not being tooled is not causing vibration because it is round. The end causing vibration goes to the headstock because mass absorbs vibration and the headstock is beefier. What are your thoughts on this? Peter

Jim Becker
07-04-2006, 12:02 PM
Pete, what you say is generally correct. That said, I turned this the opposite way as it made for easier access when cutting the top of the spindle when it was towards the tailstock. I also didn't turn the 3/4" tenon on the top until the very last step to keep a lot of mass which also reduces tendency for whipping. (I don't get any "vibration" on this 900 lb lathe... ;) ) If I did have any kind of whipping issue, I would have brought out the spindle steady to provide intermediate support.

Jim Becker
07-04-2006, 10:54 PM
So I managed to get a few minutes in the shop late this afternoon before the daily tantrum. It was time to put the sliding dovetail mortises into the spindle that I turned on the weekend.

When I made my previous cherry version of this piece, I constructed a jig that would fit on the lathe's ways to support and guide a router...said router being the appropriate power tool to cut the dovetails that would hold the three legs to the bottom of the spindle. This is pretty much a simple open-ended MDF box with a 3/4" wide slot on the center line of the top that accepts a 3/4" guide bushing.


Of course, that was for my previous lathe, a OneWay 1018 with only 10" of swing. My Stubby 750 as 16" of swing over the bed. (30" with it pulled back...) Rather than construct a whole new jig, I chose to stick with the Yankee tradition and make the existing guide system work by adding 3" in height with some scrap MDF.


Accomplishing that in a few minutes (and using a few power tools so they wouldn't forget I still loved them...), I placed the jig on the lathe and re-mounted the spindle with the appropriate area under the guide slot. I had previously marked the three centerlines for the legs, so I used the indexing lock on the lathe spindle to hold things in place and lined up the first cut line by eye under the slot by releasing tension on the tail stock so I could "slip" the spindle around on the centers.


After tightening everything up, I prepared a router, in this case my Festool OF-1400, by mounting a 3/4" guide bushing in the base and a 5/8" straight cutter. Most of the stock removal is done with a straight bit in about 1/8" depth increments since it's a stronger cutter physically. After setting the depth to the required 1/2" from the surface of the spindle, I cut the first slot in stages as mentioned. The other two slots were cut after unlocking the spindle, rotating it to the next position and re-locking it. Since the spindle lock is indexed, it was no problem getting each cut exactly where it should be radially from its neighbors a third of the way around.


As you can see, you end up with some nice clean slots with only a little more material to remove to form the dovetails.


Jim Becker
07-04-2006, 10:58 PM
Using the same technique after mounting a 5/8" dovetail bit in the router and setting the max depth, a single pass on each slot completes the work. Again note that the indexed spindle lock insures that the centerlines remain exact.


And when you are done, it will look like this:


At that point, the dovetail cutter is relocated to the router table to form the "male" portion of the joint on the legs...which I'll show after I get to it. I was interrupted by a bit of a, umm...family matter...and couldn't get beyond the first test piece for that operation.

One thing to know...this is a very strong joint when you do it with some precision. You want the dovetails on the edge of the legs to be "close to snug" with just enough room for glue so you can slide them home. Therefore, you spend a bit of time machining test pieces until you have the router table set "just right" to do your legs...remember, you only have three of them and it's best to screw up on the test pieces! ;)

Jim Becker
08-26-2006, 9:43 PM
Ah...some rain finally fell, which meant...I GOT TO SPEND SOME TIME IN THE SHOP! Hallelujah!!
At any rate, today was spent doing mostly Neander work outside of a few passes on the router table. Here's a bit of a pictorial of the day's work:

I started out by rectifying something I forgot to do when I originally milled the spindle for the sliding dovetails...providing a "flat" area for the leg to mate to the spindle. A little work with a sanding block...


...and a chisel fixed that oversight.


Then, it was off to the router table to mill the corresponding profiles on the three legs after a few more test cuts on scrap to get the fit right. It needs to be snug enough to be strong and lose enough to be able to slide the legs home when glue is applied.


A final test fit is made before taking the legs to the bench to complete the fitting work by hand.


A small saw, a rasp and a sharp chisel are used to finish up the "male" part of the legs so they fit to the spindle correctly.


Jim Becker
08-26-2006, 9:49 PM
Next, the bottoms of the legs are marked for tapering. This design has them slim down to 1/2" at the very base which results in a subtle "lightening" of the piece as well as providing an aesthetically pleasing compliment to the 1/2" thick top.


Each of the legs is tapered at the sander...the last time I did this, it was with my Bosch 3" x 21" belt sander in the bench vise. This time, I have the combo sander available and put it to good use.


The end result is this...a nice taper. (Please ignore the blue tape...it was necessary for the auto-focus to work with "no edge" to sight on)


At the end of the day, I glued up the legs to the spindle and did some final sanding on the top...the dog holes in the bench came in handy as the spindle has a 3/4" tenon on the top. ;) I also played with some dyes on scrap so that I can hopefully start the finishing process tomorrow. The finish will be water soluble dye followed by BLO and shellac. The top will also get a few coats of water borne clear...I don't really like to top coat shellac, but from a practical standpoint, it's a good idea with the kids around.


Corey Hallagan
08-26-2006, 11:38 PM
Looking good Jim, that is going to be a beautiful table. Enjoyed the pics showing how you routed the dovetails!


Martin Shupe
08-27-2006, 12:00 AM
Excellent tutorial, Jim.

Thanks for posting such detailed descriptions and explanatory pics.

I sure wish I had an indexing lathe!

Well done!

Bruce Page
08-27-2006, 12:04 AM
Jim, donít ask me how but I managed to miss all of your previous posts on this.:confused: Sure glad that I finally woke up! The table is going to be stunning!

Jim Becker
08-27-2006, 10:17 PM
It rained again today!! :D :D :D

So...I was back in the shop for a substantial amount of time today and got a lot more work done on this project. I can see the light at the end of the, umm...well...ok...lumber rack!

Anyway, I got started by a quick final sanding with "very fine" paper and applied the dye I chose to use for this table. Strangely enough, it's the same "batch" I haphazardly mixed for my armoire project a long time ago and my experiments on some scrap of this curly maple were quite pleasing after using the dye, BLO and shellac planned as a test case.


I wasn't totally happy with the top, however, so I sanded it back with the intention of re-applying the dye. You can see here that the remaining dye has the figure going pretty nicely.


So I reapplied the dye and was almost happy with the top as you see here. Until I looked at the edges and found way too much "imperfection" in the surface. We'll get back to that in a few minutes as I had to let the dye dry before doing anything with it...


...so, I oiled up the base with a liberal coat of BLO. Ooh...I'm gonna like this! I got some help from Andy London sourcing the material for the spindle. He called this "mild" figure. Sheesh!


And here's the end result with just the oil. Nice!


Jim Becker
08-27-2006, 10:26 PM
In the previous post, I mentioned I just was not happy with the edge of the top. So I fashioned a little jig to use at the spindle sander and carefully worked the edge smooth and even...the way it should have been originally. (I failed to really pay attention to this area and it's critical since it will be so visible)


Again, I sanded back the dye on the top and re-applied. Wow...now this is what I was looking for! (Please note that this picture does not do the piece justice...hopefully, the pictures after the oil and shellac will impart a better impression)


While that was drying, I took the piece that will support the top and drilled the necessary countersunk screw holes. The two outer ones were re-bored with a much larger hole to allow for seasonal wood movement


Next, I worked the support piece onto the base so I could trim back the tenon. The original design of this table had the support piece at 3/4" thick with tapered ends, but I "decided" to make it 1/2" thick. In other works, I screwed up when I was milling the stock. :rolleyes: No matter. 1/2" is plenty thick for the job!


And the final picture for today is the first coat of shellac going on the base. This is really going to be a beautiful table...enough so that the mistakes will "disappear", as it were... :o


I did get the top oiled before heading in to cook dinner and it's really jumpin' with the combination of the warm dye and penetrating oil. It really shimmers. Next weekend, I should be able to complete this project...which has taken too long, despite the fact that the actual shop time was not all that much. It's a great project and one of my favorites to-date.

Corey Hallagan
08-27-2006, 10:58 PM
Excellent Jim. Man that has some awesome figure in that maple. Nice work!


Martin Shupe
08-28-2006, 12:25 AM

I really like the color, almost cherry like.

Can you tell us your recipe to get that color?

You are doing a fantastic job, can't wait to see the finished piece.

Jason Tuinstra
08-28-2006, 2:05 AM
Excellent!!! Jim, the figure of the wood, the finish, the legs, it all looks fantastic. Great job!

Joe Mioux
08-28-2006, 3:52 AM

I suspect this project took longer for a couple of reasons.

I don't know how I missed this originally and in the July update.

That little table is fabulous!

Thanks for continuing this thread.


Karl Laustrup
08-28-2006, 6:04 AM
Jim, that is looking mighty fine. That wood really has some great figure.

Even better, it's good to see you in the shop again. Hope there's lots more days of shop time for you.


Bob Childress
08-28-2006, 7:31 AM

This is a great thread. Nice tutorial and nice work. That is going to be one heck of a candlestand. Looking forward to next weekend! :)

Art Mulder
08-28-2006, 7:33 AM
Gorgeous, Jim. How long do you need to wait to apply shellac after putting BLO on a project?

thanks for the photos.

Jim Becker
08-28-2006, 9:10 AM
Can you tell us your recipe to get that color?
Umm...this was (a long time ago) a "pinch of this and a drop of that" kind of formula. It's some combination of TransTint colors including a dark brown, antique cherry brown and one other that I can't recall. I have a big vat of it for some reason...so you can expect more pieces with this coloration. Yea...it's a design element. Yea... ;)

I suspect this project took longer for a couple of reasons.
Umm...yes! Two of them. Precisely. :rolleyes: Plus the landscaping around the new driveway.

Even better, it's good to see you in the shop again. Hope there's lots more days of shop time for you.
From your mouth to....indeed! Let's hope for that. I have a lot of projects that have been bouncing around in my head since I also don't sleep well, either. (the older has severe sleep issues and ends up with us every night...which is not restful... ;) )

How long do you need to wait to apply shellac after putting BLO on a project?
I used to think you needed to wait a day or two. A recent article by Jeff Jewitt in the September/October 2006 issue of Fine Woodworking opened my eyes to a new "fast finish" method using BLO, shellac and wax. The article's kicker line reads, "Luster of oil and sheen of shellac--in a day or less". (Page 52) So I decided to try it somewhat in a modified time line on this project. Once the oil had soaked in for a few hours, I made sure that any excess was gone and went ahead with the first application of shellac. So far...so good...

Thanks for all the kind comments, folks. This is really an enjoyable project that combines flat and spinny with a style I really love.

Jim Becker
09-03-2006, 9:19 PM
Well, I have been blessed with yet another weekend in the shop thanks to Mother Nature (rain!) and the decision to put off the rest of the driveway landscaping until the last week of the month when I have to take four days of vacation...or lose it, since it's the end of the fiscal year. (No more carryovers allowed as of last year)

This weekend, it was purely some final finishing steps on this project and that included getting the shellac on the top and a couple more coats of shellac on the base. Here's a couple pictures of things after that task was completed on Saturday:



On Sunday, I shot some clear gloss Target Coatings USL on the top. (I had a natural edge table that I needed to repair, so it made sense to spray them both at the same time. Between coats, I did a little of the "Neander" work on this weekend's second project...detailed in another thread.

And here is the end result: (not the best picture angle for the top...see previous for figure)


This candle stand really came together. I'm so pleased! And I need to publicly thank 'Creeker Andy London for sourcing that beautiful material that became the spindle...he called that "mild" figure. Oy...I can hardly imagine what the "highly figured" must be like! (And I have another billet in the rack, hee hee) The board (yes, one board) that went into the top and legs was something I picked up from Hearne Hardwoods awhile back. Not too shabby there, either!

To rehash, this project was built from a Fine Woodworking article but is very similar to a table that is originally (cica 1850) from the Mt Lebanon Shaker Village and on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I did not round over the edges of the top, however, as I kinda like the crisper edge. This is the second one I have build (the first was in Cherry) and it is likely I'll make more...it's a great project that combines flat work and turning as well as enough Neander to further hone some skills. Highly recommended!

Russ Massery
09-03-2006, 10:05 PM
Very nice Jim. Love the color and the figure. I really like the way the top pieces fit together.

John Fry
09-03-2006, 10:15 PM
Very very nice, Jim.

I like both tables, but the figured maple is awesome.

Jim Becker
09-03-2006, 10:26 PM
Here's another "final" picture that shows the figure a little better.


Richard Wolf
09-03-2006, 10:30 PM
Great project Jim, very nice wood.


Corey Hallagan
09-03-2006, 11:42 PM
Excellent Jim. I really enjoyed the blow by blow on this project. I like the dye work you did on that great maple. Nice job.


Jay Knepper
09-04-2006, 12:05 AM
I do love that table design, and if/when I ever get a lathe it will be a prime reason.

Great job in making the most of some wonderful wood!

Martin Shupe
09-04-2006, 12:18 AM
Stunning Jim, simply stunning. I love the color, the curl, and your execution is flawless. I agree, Andy London has access to some fantastic lumber!

Your tutorial is excellent, thank you for posting.

Neil Clemmons
09-04-2006, 3:23 PM
Excellent work, Jim. Thanks for the step-by-step. The figure and "lightness" really make the table. I really like the proportions and even the 1/2 inch thickness on the top.

Thanks for sharing -


Lars Thomas
09-05-2006, 5:47 PM
Jim, great looking table. I love the three-legged tables. Impressive work. Lars

Ken Fitzgerald
09-05-2006, 6:18 PM
Very very beautiful Jim! Exceptional work and step-by-step article! Gorgeous wood!

Dave Ray
09-05-2006, 7:53 PM
Very nice table, the pictures coupled with your explanation of each step were great. Thank you for sharing with us.

Jerry Olexa
09-05-2006, 8:23 PM
Jim, that is beautiful work...I love your dovetail jig that allowed the precision, accurate cuts. Must have been a very satisfying project...Great job!! And the wood and finish is also stunning..

Jason Tuinstra
09-06-2006, 2:41 AM
Jim, just one thought.... ahhhhh. That's it. That about describes it all. Just a real stunning piece. Outstanding work.

Ben Grunow
09-06-2006, 8:42 PM
Great table Jim! Seems like only yesterday you were showing us your bench project. I guess school really did start (more time in the shop).

I made a shaker style maple table like that in high school and it was great fun (not as nice as yours though and natural finish). Maybe I could re-finish it one of these days. Any way- keep up the good work.