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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.



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Phil Lowe

Woodworker and Friend



As most of us know PhiL Lowe was a longtime SAPFM member, 2005 Cartouche Award recipient, teacher to countless students, mentor and friend to many of us.

It is with great honor and privilege that the Board of Directors at SAPFM is announcing the support of preserving the Phil Lowe drawing library .

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American Period Furniture Throughout the Decades


Enjoy the Many Benefits of SAPFM Membership

Members enjoy the following benefits.

  • A subscription to our annual American Period Furniture Journal mailed each December
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Article Index

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.

Heller Fitting Asymmetrical Splat Photo 01Photo 1When I designed this chair, <Photo 1> I briefly considered how I would install the splat, and thought that it could be interesting. That is not necessarily a good thing. WHeller Fitting Asymmetrical Splat Photo 02Photo 2hen the customer accepted the proposal I had to think about it more seriously. I was concerned enough about this and other details of the chair to build a prototype, <Photo 2>. Overall I was pleased but the splat fitting had not gone as smoothly as I would have liked. Since I was making six of these there was considerable benefit in doing it efficiently in addition to well. This is the technique that developed:

1) Rather than having the one-piece chair rail shown, with the long curving top edge, I cut the chair rail horizontally (along the grain) to generate a flat top surface to inset the splat into. For this design, the upper surface of the chair rail is at a 14 deg angle to the back surface, which casts the splat at the correct angle to fit into the chair back. I used a sliding bevel in the chair back to mimic the splat, using the back of the chair rail as a reference surface (it is slightly concave). I set the perpendicular angle on the table saw and cut off the ears of the chair rail, which I will reattach later.

In photo 2 there is a horizontal line on the chair rail where the oval sits on top of the rectangular chair rail. That is where I made the cut. I then used a router to cut the mortise for the splat and a shallower surrounding mortise to house the edges of the splat, <photo 3>. I find this a more refined look to the joint, <photo 4>.

 Heller Fitting Asymmetrical Splat Photo 03Photo 3Heller Fitting Asymmetrical Splat Photo 04Photo 4

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New Articles

  • Fitting an Asymmetrical Splat Into an Oval Chair Back

    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...

  • A Standup Davenport Computer Desk

     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...

  • Remembering Phil Lowe: Craftsman, Mentor, Friend

    BY MICKEY CALLAHAN April 1, 2021 Updated April 1, 2021 It’s with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of one of America’s master period furniture makers, Phil Lowe. I’ve known Phil for over 30 years and was privileged to have...

  • Luthier's Friend To Thickness Small Part

    BY JEFF THOMPSON April 1, 2021 Updated April 1, 2021 There are number of ways one can thickness stringing and bindings. I’ve used a couple methods myself like on a drum sander, but mine is in a shed out back behind my shop...

  • Mirka Hand Sanding System

    BY BOB LANG April 1, 2021 Updated April 1, 2021 I can develop a pretty smooth surface with a hand plane and/or a scraper, but before finishing I sand to ensure that all the surfaces of a project are consistent. Each hand...

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