Complete Illustrated Guide to Period Furniture Details by Lonnie Bird - Free PDF

Furniture from 18th-century America continues to be among the most popular styles of all time. While other forms of furniture come into style and soon appear dated, period furniture continues as a best-selling classic. And for good reason-period furniture is rich with detail. It was produced during a time when there was a broad separation between classes of people. 

Those with means, just as with people today, sought ways to display their wealth and status in society. One of the primary ways to display opulence in the eighteenth century was through finely crafted furniture. In large, wealthy cities, such as Philadelphia, Boston, and Newport, Rhode Island, furniture makers crafted highly developed furniture art forms. Embellishment became the norm as artisans pierced, carved, sculpted, inlaid, and gilded what is recognized today as some of the finest examples of furniture ever produced. 

As you study, draw, and reproduce these classic examples of Americana, you can't help but to be immensely impressed with the period craftsman's sense of design and proportion, as well as his tremendous skill with a few relatively simple tools. 

As a woodworker, if you're not accustomed to using hand tools, then I encourage you to begin by accumulating the essential edge tools such as planes, chisels, and a dovetail saw and enjoying learning to use them. Furniture produced entirely with machines is void of the fine details that define period furniture. Quite simply, machines for all their sophistication can't duplicate what's created by a trained eye and a skillful hand. In other words, while it is acceptable and desirable to use machines to saw curves, shape moldings, and even cut some types ofjoints, hand tools are still required for many of the details. In the process you'll experience the delight of cutting a dovetail by hand and hearing the unique sound of a sharp plane as it slices the surface of a board.

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