The Alfred Village Shaker Chairs

A historic collaboration with the Sabbathday Lake Shakers and Chilton Furniture

In late 2014, we were honored to chosen by Chilton Furniture and the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in New Gloucester, Maine to re-introduce two iconic Shaker chairs to production. The originals — a side chair and rocking chair, both with tall, bent ladder-backs — were crafted in the Alfred, Maine Shaker Community between 1830 and 1850 (the Alfred Shakers moved to Sabbathday Lake in 1931). This partnership is unique in the history of Shaker furniture as this is the first time that the Shaker community in Maine has collaborated with an outside manufacturer to produce one of its iconic chairs.

Left to right: Michael Graham, director of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village; Nate Gobeil, general manager at Chilton Furniture; Brother Arnold Hadd of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community; Adam Nudd-Homeyer, owner and craftsman at Tappan Chairs. Photo courtesy of Sean Hurley.

As crafted by Tappan Chairs, the Alfred Chairs are re-entering production using many of the same 19th century processes and techniques that the original Shakers used. Tappan Chairs is crafting these pieces not as copies—but rather, in the spirit of a continuation of the original production. Quality control is supervised by the Shakers of Sabbathday Lake, and each chair is individually numbered and stamped with the Shaker brand.

In early 2015, NHPR's Sean Hurley contacted us about a piece on Tappan Chairs...little did he know at the time of this historic project that was in the works! Sean quickly saw the significance of this story, and we can't thank him enough for his work in bringing attention to this special project and community. Thanks to Sean, coverage of this project expanded further, with subsequent articles in the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe. We cannot even begin to say how humbled and thankful we are to be part of this great undertaking with the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community.

The Alfred Village Shaker Chairs: now available!

The Alfred Village Rocker and Side Chair at Chilton Furniture. Photo courtesy of Jill Kennedy, Chilton Furniture.
Commissioned and authorized by the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community, our Alfred Shaker Chairs are more than just reproductions--they are a return to production for these iconic chairs for the first time since the first half of the 19th century. Made by hand and with many of the same processes that the original Shakers used, each chair is crafted piece by piece using measurements taken from one of the finest examples in the Shaker collection. Each features a tall bent back, hand-scribed markings, and hand-cut mortises and tenons--not to mention the distinctive Alfred pommels. Assembled in the traditional manner using only precise joinery, glue, and wooden pins, each chair is finished to match the originals with an authentic hand-brushed and rubbed milk paint and then sealed with oil. Next, each seat is woven in a checkerboard pattern with Shaker Flame tape, which is itself a historic Shaker pattern. Finally, each chair is numbered and branded with the authorized mark of the Shaker Society. Order your own piece of history today!
NOTE: Starting in 2016, the Shakers have begun permitting these chairs to be made from our other furniture woods, finishes/paints, and seating colors and patterns.