The history of Shaker Boxes is as rich and textured as the wood used to create them. Originally constructed by Shaker communities living in 18th century America, the boxes are evidence of a time when quality and function were synonymous.
Our Shaker boxes are made with the same care and craftsmanship that the Shakers used. As a quality Shaker Box craftsman, Brent Rourke has mastered the technique of shaping combinations of various hardwoods into beautiful and functional Shaker oval boxes and carriers.
To ensure the finest quality, each piece passes through the craftsman's hands a total of seventeen times. The first time is when Brent Rourke hand selects the wood for the boxes and carriers. He only picks the finest birds-eye maple, walnut or cherry - continuing the attention to detail that the Shakers were famous for.
The wood is then cut to size and the "fingers" are shaped. The wooden bands that will form the walls are bathed in hot water until they are pliable enough to mold.
Once bent, they are tacked with copper tacks produced on century-old machinery. Then, after hours of drying, they are individually fitted with covers and bases that are pegged in place with tiny dowels.
All box surfaces are smoothed and sanded six times in preparation for finish coats of lacquer. Then, only after passing Brent Rourke's exacting demands for quality, are the Shaker Boxes and Carriers shipped to the retailer.
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Their habits of order are, in many things, carried to the extreme. The first bell for their meals rings for all to repair to their chambers, from which, at the ringing of the second bell, they descend to the eating-room. Here, all take their appropriate places at the tables, and after locking their hands on their breasts, they drop on their knees, close their eyes, and remain in this position about two minutes. Then they rise, seat themselves, and with all expedition swallow their food; then rise on their feet, again lock their hands, drop on their knees, close their eyes, and in about two minutes rise and retire. Their meals are taken in silence, conversation being prohibited. From "A Lowell Mill Worker Visits the Shakers"