Wood, carving and turning

Making Shaker carriers and a candle sconce with Murray Marks

Ref: S3D09013

Suitable for all

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About this course

Make three classic Shaker pieces in American red cherry. The Shaker basket with a hooped handle, a divided carrier and a candle sconce, each reflects the simplicity of Shaker design. Guided step-by-step through the process, you will use traditional woodworking techniques for bending wood and crafting the iconic Shaker swallow tail joint.

Course Description

On the first evening there will be an introductory talk about the Shakers, their history and designs, and you have the opprtunity to ask questions about the course and facilities. We will familiarise ourselves with the materials and tools. If time allows we may make a start with drilling some holes or cutting swallow tail joints.

The No 9 Shaker basket with a hooped handle reflects all the simplicity of Shaker design and was originally designed as an orchard basket. The divided carrier has the same base as the basket but has a dividing handle across the length of the base which mirrors the shape of the carrier. The candle sconce is one of a number of designs the Shakers had for candle sconces. This one is particularly clever as it allows the user to raise and lower the candle light on a bedside peg.

All three items are made in American red cherry. No previous woodworking experience is needed. You will be taken step by step through the process, learning traditional Shaker techniques including bending wood in hot water, crafting the iconic "swallow tail" joint and securing the bands and bases with copper tacks and tiny wooden pins, without using any glue. Along the way there will be time to learn something about the Shakers, their communities and the principles underpinning their designs.

All tools and materials will be provided but please bring an apron and wear stout shoes. By the end of the course you will know the processes involved in making Shaker wares. A booklet covering the techniques used will be provided for you to take home at the end of the course.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The cost of all materials provided by the tutor to make each of the three items listed.

What students need to bring

  • An apron
  • Stout covered footwear to wear in the workshop
  • Notebook and pen


Murray Marks

Murray has crafted Shaker wares since 2003. Largely self taught he further developed his skills with America's master box maker John Wilson. Murray runs courses and displays his work at the Rum's Eg gallery in Romsey and in 2015 and 2016 ran masterclasses at the Institute of Making in London.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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