Society of American Period Furniture Makers

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John McAlister

SAPFM has lost a great friend in John McAlister.   John passed away this morning.  The details of the arrangements are not finalized, but the family wanted us to know and to pass the word.

John was our second Cartouche Award recipient in 2001 and a long time supporter and friend to many of us in SAPFM.  He was a gentleman and loved SAPFM.  He came to me in 2013 and expressed an interest in helping establish a educational fund.  His family foundation provided our initial funds for our educational fund, which was later named in honor of John.

He spoke to me often about the Telfair Exhibit which was held in Savannah, Georgia, in 2006.  He asked several times would SAPFM ever produce an exhibit book similar to what was done for the Connecticut Historical Society joint display with SAPFM in 2012.

With the help of Mark Arnold and Steve Lash, I recently was able to produce a photo book based on the article written by Mark Arnold for the SAPFM American Period Furniture Journal in 2006.  When I sent it to John, he was very appreciative.  His daughter told me he kept it by his chair and admired it often.  I know for a fact he bragged about the book to some of his other SAPFM friends every chance he could.

Just a few weeks ago he asked me to order additional copies that he could give to his children.  That was the last time I spoke to John.  Even though he was clearly weak, he seemed to be in good spirits.

I am grateful to have known John.  I am a better person for knowing him and will miss him and his enthusiasm for furniture making, SAPFM, and life.

A more comprehensive tribute will be written about John at a later time.  Details of the funeral arrangements are tentatively planned for next Friday morning, May 27.

Ken Johnson

SAPFM Vice President

Mid-Year 2016

2016 marks the 15th anniversary of the Mid-Year conference.  This year, the conference returns to a location familiar to many previous conference attendees.  

Registration is now open, and filling up fast!  More information on the 2016 Mid-Year conference can be found here.


Change in Member-in-Good-Standing Date for Receipt of APF

The SAPFM Journal, American Period Furniture, is typically delivered sometime between late in the calendar year and early the following year.  We have reviewed the publication schedule and can now ensure that it comes out before the Holidays each year. Doing so will solve a number of issues including allowing members to enjoy having the Journal to read over the Holidays. 

In concert with this change, we are revising the date at which members must be active (dues paid up) in order to receive it.  Read more here.


Chapter Support Committee  Looking for Presenters

The Chapter Support Committee is  looking for SAPFM members who would be willing to make presentations at various chapter meetings.  

If you are interested, please contact Dick Reese.


Staffers Needed for  Upcoming Lie-Nielsen Events

Staffers are needed for the Lie-Nielsen Open House in Warren, ME.

If you can help out, please contact Dave Redlin.



Upcoming Events


Chesapeake Chapter meeting. June 4, 2016. York, PA.

The meeting will be held at the Olde Mill Cabinet Shoppe

There will be a vintage tool tailgate sale in the parking area prior to the meeting (tentatively scheduled for 7:00-9:00 am).


RSVP by sending an email to


Peach State Chapter Meeting.  June 11 - 12, 2016.

Topics will include:

  • Use of molding plans and chisels to create molding
  • Carving bed posts
  • Joinery layout and executions   

Furniture Society 2016 Conference.  June 22 - 25, 2016.  The University of Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

Registration opened February 23, 2016.

Speakers include Michael Fortune, Alf Sharp, Wendell Castle, and many many others.

Tours will be given of Hearne Hardwoods, the Wharton Esherick MuseumNakashima Woodworker , Martin Guitar, and Knoll International.

    Midyear 2016.  June 24 - 26, 2016.  Thaddeus Stevens College, Lancaster, PA.

Lie-Nielsen Open House.  July 8 - 9, 2016.  Warren, ME.

Join the New England chapter and the folks from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks  to celebrate Lie-Nielsen's 35th anniversary of providing quality hand tools. And there's lobstah!


New Hampshire Antiques Show. August 11-13, 2016.  Manchester, NH.

Exhibitors offer a wide range of both country and formal antique furniture and accessories including clocks, folk art, paintings and prints, textiles, woodenware, nautical and scientific items, metalware, glassware, pottery and ceramics, early lighting, samplers, Shaker furniture and accessories, decoys, architectural and garden ornaments, and books about antiques.


Woodworking in America.  September 16 - 18, 2016. Covington, KY.

The list of SAPFM speakers/presenters includes:

  • Nancy Hiller
  • Freddy Roman
  • Don Williams
  • Chris Schwarz
  • Alf Sharp
  • George Walker
  • Zach Dillinger
  • Matt Cremona
  • Mary May
  • Shannon Rogers

Registration is now open.  Session descriptions can be found here.



On the Edge of Your Seat:  Chairs for the 21st Century.  May 6 - July 23, 2016.  Philadelphia, PA.

Along with a three-centrury retrospective of Philadelphia chair design, the exhibition considers new designs in chairs, benches, and stools for the 21st century.




Photo: Nils Berg, CF 2013

ANNUAL celebration of craft. May 16 - June 2, 2016. Boston, MA.

This North Bennet Street School exhibit features work from the NBSS community and includes furniture, jewelry, books and publications, accessories, a grand piano, and more.


Of the Best Materials and Good Workmanship: 19th Century New Jersey Chairmaking.  Through July 9, 2016.  Freehold, NJ.

This exhibition explores the craft of chairmaking in New Jersey from the 1790s to the end of the 19th century.



esherick to NAKASHIMA  February 2, 2016 - December 25, 2016.  Mount Dora, FL.

Furniture from some of the pioneering figures of the Studio Furniture Movement-- Warton Esherick, Wendell Castle and George Nakashima.


Sam Maloof Woodworker — Life/Art/Legacy.  February 14 - August 31, 2016. Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

Part of a year-long celebration of the Maloof Centennial, the exhibition will bring together more than 60 objects including examples of Maloof furniture, drawings, photographs, and works of art.



Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age.  December 15, 2015 - June 5, 2016 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

This Met exhibition provides new insights into the luxurious interiors found in New York's wealthiest households in the late nineteenth century.  The work of George Schastey and Herter Brothers is featured.

Schastey operated a large and successful decorating firm in the late nineteenth century, catering to some of the nation's wealthiest individuals. 

Schastey's competitor, Herter Brothers, was best-known for firm's most important commission, the William H. Vanderbilt House. 


Furniture Study Guided Tours.  Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

Free guided tours of the Furniture Study are given on Fridays at 12:30 pm. 

The Furniture Study is also open by appointment to individuals and groups of fewer than 15 people from Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Photo © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Made in the Americas:  The New World Discovers Asia.  March 26, 2016 – January 8, 2017.  Winterthur, DE.

Marking the 450th anniversary of the beginning of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico, “Made in the Americas” is the first large-scale, Pan-American exhibition to examine the influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas.

Furniture as Art as Furniture.  July 15 2016 - Februrary 22, 2017.  LAX, Los Angeles, CA.

The purpose of the exhibit will be to expose the traveling public to ‘Studio Furniture’ — showcasing the talents of southern California furniture designers / makers.


In the Gallery

Dan Schwank's painted Chest.


In the Members Area

Queen Anne Armchair Plans.  Drawn by Ed Stuckey, built by Steve Lash.                    


SAPFM eZine- Pins & Tales

We are pleased to present the Spring 2016 issue of Pins & Tales, the SAPFM e-Magazine. Read more about the current issue here.
Not a SAPFM member? You can receive a one-time eMagazine by signing our email list. Sign up here.


SAPFM Videos

Ronnie Young on Highland Woodworker            
In Episode 23's 'Moment With a Master', Ronnie Young tells his story and demonstrates his method for creating beautiful paterae inlay.  (27:08 into the video.)
Brock Jobe discusses 'trick leg' tables  
Footage:  Mark Giles
A Method for Producing Seymour Line-and Dart Banding  
Read the hardcopy companion article to this video in 2105's American Period Furniture, or online in the SAPFM members area.


SAPFM Photos

Chesapeake Chapter

Photo: Mark Maleski

Southern California Chapter

Photo: Bob Stevenson
Alf Sharp, Philadelphia tilt-top table.

Chesapeake Bay Chapter, Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event

Photo: Mark Maleski

Great Lakes Chapter

Photo: Dave Boeff  

Winterthur 2016 Furniture Forum

Photo: Dale Ausherman

Detroit Institute of Arts

Photo. L. Davis
Ed [Stuckey], the photos are awesome and so was your crew of fantastic folks who helped the kids construct their tool boxes!
~ LaVern Holman


In the News

Historic Deerfield Acquires Desk of Nehemiah Bull  
True Craftsman  
Photo. William Wright
Hoke's Tool Co.