Description

'Shaker Oval Boxes’ are recognized artifacts of Shaker life and work. First made over two hundred years ago, these containers were made for community use and for sale to the ‘world’s people’ until well into the 20th Century. They were used to hold food stuffs in the pantry, buttons for the seamstress and tacks in the shop. Graceful, well made and of widespread utility, they represent virtues of the Shaker order itself.

These beautiful boxes were first made from hard maple and white pine. In an age before machines, thin wood strips were rived from a straight billet of wood and made ready for bending by hand planes and scrapers. Hot water soaking makes this sturdy wood pliable, and bending gives us a complete oval shape in a single motion. Tacked and made secure by oval shapers, this efficient process will impress you every time.

Students will learn to bevel, steam and bend Shaker Box bands and fit and tack them to lids and bottoms. It will be possible to make up to three boxes per class.

Discussion topics will include:

  • Re-sawing wood into box bands
  • Making templates,
  • Cutting finger patterns
  • Making oval cores for shaping boxes
  • Sources for box materials

Time permitting, we will also cover finishing with shellac, milk paint and/or wax.

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Class Schedule

Sunday 27th August 2017 9:00am to 5:00pm

What you will learn
  • Students will learn to bevel, steam and bend Shaker Box bands and fit and tack them to lids and bottoms.
  • Re-sawing wood into box bands, making templates, cutting finger patterns, making oval cores for shaping boxes and sources for box materials.
  • Time permitting, we will also cover finishing with shellac, milk paint and/or wax.
What you will get
  • Meet Alastair Boell - a Master of Furniture Making.

What to bring
  • All materials included.
What to wear

Casual (Warning: It might get messy)


The Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking was founded by Alastair Boell in 2007. After graduating from the world renowned North Bennet Street School, Boston (USA) Alastair felt that there was a great need in Australia for an educational facility that focuses on traditional skills.

The Guild is committed to preserving and advancing craft traditions in furniture making. We are also committed to promoting a greater awareness and appreciation ofcraftsmanship. In our classes we emphasize the skillful use of hand tools and power equipment and an informed use of appropriate materials. We are passionate about what we do and want to share information, ideas and skills with all our students young and old, from beginner to advanced.

The Guild offers 13 Open Courses a week where students are able to bring in their own projects. Also during the year on a regular basis we offer a number of short intensive classes on varying woodworking topics. Our student to teacher ratios are very low with a maximum of 8 students in the open classes.

The school itself is conveniently located two minutes from the Blackburn Rd exit off the Eastern Freeway. Parking is readily available right at the school’s door.We promise to do our very best to provide you with endless opportunities in a stimulating and supportive community.

We invite you to take your place at the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking.

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1 Review
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Wei-Hun

30 August 2017 • Shaker Bentwood Box

A great introduction to shaker box making in a relaxed atmosphere. Alastair is a great teacher, and I would consider doing other courses.