Shaker (1820-1860)

The Shaker style is a simple, utilitarian style characterized by straight tapered legs, woven chair seats, and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs. It was produced by the religious group the United Society of Believers in self-contained communities in the United States.



Simple – Straight lines, simple design, and little ornamentation.(Contemporary style shown)

Chair Arms

Simple turning or flat – Arms are straight with a simple turning or are flat.

Chair Back Material

Wood – Solid wood, horizontal slats, vertical slats, or vertical splats.

Chair Back Shape

Ladderback or Slatback – Equally spaced horizontal flat slats, either straight or curved.

Chair Leg

Round – Round, usually shaped or turned leg.
Simple turning – Turned leg with a few types of turnings.
Splayed – Leg with a concave shape.
Square – Flat surfaced leg on all sides.
Straight – Straight leg, vertical to chair seat.
Tapered – Straight leg gradually decreasing in width.

Chair Seat Material

Cane – Woven rattan.
Rush – Woven rush.
Wood – Various types of wood.
Woven – Woven material, usually heavyweight cloth.

Chair Seat Shape

Square – Square shaped seat.

Drawer Pull

Wooden Mushroom-Shaped Knob – Mushroom-shaped wooden knob, often 1 inch high and 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter.


Cotton – Fabric made from the fiber of the cotton plant.


Oil Varnish – Clear finish that emphasized the grain of the wood.
Paint – Opaque, pigmented finish that obscures the grain of the wood.


Continuation of leg – Leg does not terminate into a foot.

Hardware Material

Wood – Various types of wood, carved or turned.


Exposed Joinery – Visible joints that lock wood together.
Dovetail – An interlocking wood joint in which a series of wedge-shaped projections fits into a series of alternating grooves.


Slight Curve – Gently curving lines.
Straight – Straight lines.




Finial – Decorative turning affixed to the tops of case furniture, and chair and bed posts.


Medium – Moderate dimensions.(Queen Anne style shown)


Slender – Graceful use of stretchers.(Hepplewhite style shown)


Ash – Whitish-gray American hardwood with similar graining to oak.
Birch – Red-brown American hardwood with a close grain.
Cherry – Red-brown American hardwood.
Elm – Red-brown American hardwood.
Fruitwood – Pink-brown American hardwood, including apple and pear.
Hickory – Red-brown American hardwood.
Maple – Golden to Red-brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.
Oak – Gray-brown American hardwood.
Pine – Yellow to pink-brown American softwood.
Sycamore – Creamy-white European hardwood, treated to turn a silvery-gray or pink-brown color.