Welcome to SAPFM
For more than 20 years, The Society of American Period Furniture Makers has been committed to providing our members with the best in fine furniture making education. We provide this service through our symposiums, publications, chapter meetings, and on-line resources.
SAPFM holds two national Conferences a year. Our winter event is held in Colonial Williamsburg and the summer mid-year event meets at various venues. Both events are packed with instructional sessions, social time, and historical tours.
Local chapter are the backbone of SAPFM. These groups of woodworkers meet several times a year to learn important skills for period furniture making. These smaller groups are an excellent opportunity to learning hands-on and meeting with fellow furniture making enthusiasts.
SAPFM publishes an annual printed journal featuring articles on furniture making, history, and techniques. A quarterly newsletter is emailed to all members featuring chapter news, events, and other articles covering construction and techniques.
Our website contains a wealth of information for the furniture maker. We have articles covering all aspects of period furniture, furniture construction plans, past conference notes, research papers, manuals, tool and book reviews, and curated lists.
|Each year, the Society of American Period Furniture Makers recognizes an individual whose achievements best reflect the mission of SAPFM. The Cartouche Award is SAPFM's way of acknowledging the contributions made by craftsmen, educators, conservators, and supporters, professional or hobbyist, who have inspired or instructed others, or who have simply made the world more pleasing as a result of their skillful labors.|
Members from the woodworking community exchange ideas on our forum. Topics include tools, veneering, carving, books, conservation, and furniture repair to name a few.
Becoming a member of SAPFM opens a whole new world of learning. Our web-sites has plans available for download. We publish an annual Journal and quarterly newsletters covering construction, history, and commentary on period furniture. Our two annual conferences get you up-close to furniture making and the skilled craftsman who show you the techniques used. You can get involved in local chapters where you learn from fellow members and show off your work.
Visit our Members Gallery to view the many fine pieces built by SAPFM members. Many are museum reproductions. We hope that among these many masterworks you will find inspiration for your next build.
American Period Furniture Throughout the Decades
William and Mary (1680 to 1730)
Named after William III and Mary II the co-regents of England of this era. This is one of the first styles to be produced in the colonies. It is a variation on Anglo-Dutch style and is characteristic of Baroque with features such as elaborate turnings, severe curves, and case pieces with simple flat surfaces and architectural trim. Commonly constructed of walnut, oak, pine, and maple.
Pennsylvania Dutch (1720 to 1830)
The Pennsylvania Dutch period was marked by heavy German influences. The pieces were simple and utilitarian, with the predominant decoration colorful hand-painted scenes. The furniture from this period features straight lines, simple turnings, and tapered legs made from walnut, oak, and pine.
Queen Ann: 1720 to 1750
This style blends elements from the proceeding William and Mary period. It is named after the English monarch who reigned from 1702 to 1714. It is ornate and often characterized by the newly introduced cabriole leg, curving chair crests, and decorative scallop and shells, and volutes.
Queen Anne became popular in the United States due to the expanding wealth of colonist. Cities were expanding at the same time. With this came regional variations such as Newport, Rhode Island, and Philadelphia adaptations. Common woods include cherry and mahogany.
Chippendale (1750 to 1780)
Chippendale furniture is named after English cabinet maker Tomas Chippendale and derived from his book The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director. This was first furniture style named after a cabinet maker and not a monarch. It is closely related to the Queen Anne style. Designs fall into three main styles: Gothic, Rococo , and Chinese.
Mainly characterized by the style of the legs and feet including the lion’s paw, ball and claw, Marlborough, club, and spade. Chair backs are often intricately pierced and carved with ribbon motifs. Pieces were normally made of dark woods indigenous to the area.
Shaker (1820 to 1860)
The Shaker period was named after a religious movement of the period that had guiding principles of simplicity, utility and honesty. Their furniture was a reflection of these principles. Ornamentation was replaced with asymmetrical drawer arrangements and multipurpose forms to add visual interest. The appearance was primarily straight lines, doors with flat panels, woven or cane seat material, basic turned wooden knobs, and visible locking joinery. These underlying principals continue to give inspiration to modern furniture makers.
Arts and Craft/Mission (1880 to1920)
The Arts and Craft period symbolized a minimalist period in furniture design. Started by William Morris, it was a revolt against furniture made during the Industrial Revolution. The Morris Chair is one iconic piece from this period. In America, Gustav Stickley, Elbert Hubbard, Charles Limbert, and Greene and Greene were well know makers of Mission-style furniture.
Common materials included leather for upholstery and quarter sawn oak. The oak is fumed with ammonia for a distinctive brown color.
Enjoy the Many Benefits of SAPFM Membership
Members enjoy the following benefits.
- Category: Construction Construction
BY LEONAD REINHARDT June 30, 2020 Updated June 30, 2020
Last year our Rector, Rusty McCown, asked me to design and build two cabinets for the Narthex of our church, St. Paul’s in Franklin, Tennessee. The goal was to create two instruments that would serve as focal points for parish and diocese communication materials. After receiving input from several parishioners, concept drawings were developed, and presented to the Vestry. The following is an abbreviated story of the process over the past few months to create what I hope will become permanent fixtures to greet all parishioners and guests to this historic Episcopal sanctuary.
- Category: Construction Construction
BY JOE PARKER April 1, 2021 Updated: April 1, 2021
The name "Davenport" comes from a reference in the records of an 18th-19th century English furniture maker Gillows. The reference, in about 1795, gives the original design and says that it is a desk for a Captain Davenport. To my knowledge, no record of a Captain Davenport has ever been found from this period. However, the names (Captain's desk or Davenport desk) stuck and the design has been popular ever since. Typically, it is a small slant top desk, no more than 2 feet square with 4 drawers on the right hand side and 4 false drawers on the left hand side. The style evolved over the decades and piano top versions, like the one I built, date from the mid-19th century.
- Category: Construction Construction
BY DAVE HELLER April 1, 2021 Updated: April 1, 2021
This article discusses a specific aspect of making a set of not-yet-completed Bing-style Art Nouveau dining room chairs of my own design. I will write an article for SAPFM on the overall design and construction of these chairs, hopefully for the 2021 publishing cycle. Fitting the splats is the most difficult portion of the construction, and writing this article forced me to think through the construction aspects in a more analytical way than I would otherwise, which led me to an improvement in approach. I hope that you find it useful.