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This panel was a commission for over a fireplace. The specks of white in the corners are actually mother-of-pearl stars inlaid into the field. Each corner has a constellation representing the zodiacal sign of each of the family members.

While one of the reasons for Shaker simplicity is to avoid the sin of pride, I cannot help but enjoy the final result of making furniture. I hope these objects will be treasured by future generations as much as they are by the present owners.

The Shaker style is all about function over form. There is very little embellishment—the moldings are simple, mostly just bevels and quarter-rounds. The wood however, was some of the prettiest cherry I've come across. I was able to use sequential planks for the drawer fronts and door panels so the grain carries through each level and so they have consistent color.


This project was unusual with quite a number of drawers (sixteen) and doors (eight). It comes apart in six separate assemblies making moving just a little easier. 

This is another example of a piece of furniture made to house electronics, this time a plasma TV. This was a complicated assembly as the TV is hung on a false back wall and behind it are other electronics used to control the TV, cable box and DVD player as well as well as fans to ventilate the cabinet. There's even a little access door in the back to get to all that stuff. The crotch panels for the center doors were from some walnut I had stored for over twenty years… waiting for just the right project!

This was a Christmas present to my daughter who wanted a tray table to hold her laptop or book and a cup of tea while in bed. The legs are a prototype. I've since made a few changes to how they open and close. The lid can be propped up at a number of angles.

This Queen Anne style lowboy was designed to house the electronics for a television that hangs above it. The lower "drawers" are in fact a single plank hinged at the bottom for access to a cable box, DVD player and stuff. The client was so happy, he said, "I want a whole suite of furniture like this!" Below are two bedside tables in the same motif. Highboy next?

Made in 2010, this is one of a pair of Queen Anne bedside tables made to match the lowboy above. The wood for these two tables came from a single source of very blonde walnut. I chose to allow the wood to color naturally through oxidation rather than using stains or dyes. Every time I visit the furniture, the color just gets better and better.

​​A William and Mary styled wardrobe was built from wood from a single walnut tree (excepting the bun feet). This allowed me to bookmatch many of the elements by using the adjacent board in a sequence and turning it (like pages in a book) so a mirror image of the first board is used for the adjacent panel. The wardrobe is assembled in seven parts to make moving managable. All the doors are through tenoned and the drawers are joined using hand-cut dovetails. The finish is blonde shellac applied using the French polish method. Made in 2009.

Furniture from the STudio of John Coffey

Interpretations of earlier styles