In the mid to late 18th century a particular sect of Quakerism formed who's founding tenets were simple; hard work, equality and order. They were named the Shakers (Shaking Quakers) because of their rapturous behavior during worship. They believed that their craft should reflect these values, which is one of the reasons Shaker furniture is still remembered and regularly emulated by woodworkers around the world.
The Shaker Peg Rail is just one of many impressive examples of furniture and craft design stamped into modern society by their unique culture. Pegs are turned and placed in six-inch intervals along a length of wood and used to hang anything and everything from clothing to tools and even chairs would be seen hanging from these pegs. The form and function of the peg rail are a splendid representation of Shaker's dedication to order and harmony in their living quarters.
In our fast paced economy it seems to have become a rarity to find these values being practiced in everyday life. Perhaps modern times do not encourage such principles to be upheld. For better or for worse, we have found solace in leaning towards the ways of old, working with these qualities in mind. Pictured below are some shaker pegs that Jeff recently turned using greenwood split out of logs we foraged from an oak that had fallen during heavy rains.
I see it as a unique opportunity to craft things in the same fashion as they were hundreds of years ago. It is no coincidence or act of divine intervention (though the Shakers may have believed otherwise) that these techniques are still practiced by skilled woodworkers around the globe. The final product is still practical and most of the time more resilient and even more sustainable than lots of today's products available to the average consumer. It may take hard work and a little extra forethought but that is what makes completing these projects so gratifying.
Thank you for reading, we hope that you may too find joy in the blood, sweat and tears that come with conquering the challenges we face in this evolving world.
- Julian S.