Build a John Goddard Newport Tea Table with Alf Sharp
Some of the most distinctive and sophisticated furniture made in 18th C America came from Newport, RI. The tray-top ogee-skirt tea table pictured here is a superlative example. The original table, which sold for over $8 million a few years ago, was made by the master, John Goddard, in the early 1760’s.
To be able to reproduce this masterpiece will place you among the most accomplished traditional furniture makers today. It’s a challenging project, but still very attainable for anyone with well-developed basic woodworking skills. There are a few nifty tricks and techniques you’ll learn during the week’s activities, but mostly we’ll just be polishing and perfecting what you already know. Even the most daunting projects break down into a clear series of ordered steps. The secret is not to possess superhuman skills, but to know what, when, and how to accomplish each of those steps.
Don’t expect to take home a completed table, but you will have plenty of opportunity to practice crafting each of the features of this magnificent work. Then, back in your own shop, you’ll repeat each of these procedures to complete your project.
Important topics we will cover in class include:
Recognizing and replicating the perfect proportions that make a piece of furniture like this such a masterpiece.
Dishing a solid piece of wood into a molded tray top, using both traditional hand techniques and modern machine methods.
Laying out and sculpting a cabriole leg.
Carving the unique Newport ball and claw foot.
The distinctive knee carving on this table is an optional feature that will be covered.
Learn several ways to fashion the unusual leg-to-apron joint used in this table.
Alf Sharp is one of this country’s première furniture makers. He works out of his Tennessee workshop, specializing in 18th century American and English designs.
Alf is the recipient of the 2008 Cartouche Award from The Society of American Period Furniture Makers. He is also the president of the Furniture Society. Recent work can be seen in the magazine Woodwork, Feb. 2008 issue, and on his web-site, www.alfredsharp.com. Alf also writes for Fine Woodworking magazine.
Sign up today for this truly unique class. Some specific carving tools will be required. That list will be on the school website- www.schoolofwoodworking.com
Tuition: $795.00 plus materials
Photos: Lance Patterson
General tool list (will open in a new window)