Joe Dowden got started on what has become a fascinating journey after he by chance saw an article in a woodworker’s magazine outlining the oval box-making process. The self-taught artisan has been creating heirloom Shaker oval boxes for his customers for more than 10 years.
Although the traditional Shaker box was made of maple and pine, today’s box makers have expanded the offering to include cherry as well as other types of woods. Dowden favors the use of cherry bands with figured tops made from quilted maple, maple burl, black-lined flat maple, and redwood burl—the last a recent addition to his offerings. He also likes using highly figured tiger maple for that special, one-of-a-kind box.
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
1,841 days until America's Sestercentennial
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