About Keller Krafted

Attention and commitment to quality is in every item.

Bill Keller of Keller Krafted Showing with his boxes.

Why do I make Shaker Oval Boxes?

I continued, what was then a hobby, in my small, and unheated New Hampshire garage back in the 1980's. I specialized in building handcrafted furniture: sofas, loveseats, coffee and end tables honing my skills and knowledge with each piece I built.  Prior to that, I made items to be used around the house and needed to wait on nice days as I had no indoor area in which to work.

It was 2011 when in my local paper there appeared an article about a person making Shaker Oval Boxes. Intrigued, I did some extended research on what Shaker Oval Boxes were and how they were made. The Shakers, I discovered, originally used these boxes for storing kitchen ingredients, seeds, flour and grains in addition to small items and parts for their workshops. The boxes were the “Tupperware” of the 1800’s.

They were designed to be stored easily in a Matryoshka-style nest, allowing smaller ones to be put inside empty larger ones. The more I read, the more I became impressed with the “how-to’s” behind the Shaker’s simple elegance, durability and versatility. 

I was hooked! I made contact with the individual cited in the article and set up a time to meet with him. We ended up talking for a couple of hours. He was very generous with his time, he explained his process for making Shaker Oval Boxes and provided contact information on instructors and classes for me to pursue.

Initially, I made Shaker Oval Boxes because it was something I could do year round, inside and in a limited (heated) space. As I learned more about the Shakers and Shaker Oval Boxes, the more my desire to share with others what I have found to be a simple, yet elegant, functional item originally conceived over 200 years ago.  

My Shaker Oval Boxes are in the style of Shaker Elder Daniel Crosman (b. 1810, d. 1885), a Shaker Oval Box maker at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village, NY. Each swallowtail is hand carved and is long and slender with the point of the arch almost reaching the main tack line. The bands are soaked in hot water to soften them for bending. They are sized using forms and secured using copper tacks. Each bottom and lid are custom made for each set of bands. The bottoms and lids are secured to the bands using copper “shoe pegs”. Multiple coats of a Master-Gel Clear Finish are applied; sanding in between each, and 2 coats of Renaissance Wax. The inside of the boxes are not finished.

From the initial wood selection, my attention and commitment to quality from the first cut to the final finish is both relaxing and fulfilling. I find immense gratification in the process of creating each and every Shaker Oval item. Based upon customer feedback, they too share a similar gratification with their KellerKrafted ® Shaker Oval Box.

I also make other non-Shaker items, such as trays, mailbox banks and clocks to name some.  For these products I am also committed to producing a quality and useful item, which can be used, enjoyed and passed on to others.

Currently, my wife, Suzanne, assists me in the finishing phase, QC and sales

You may have seen us at a show and want to purchase an item you saw there but it is not currently on our website; Please send me  an email (Bill@Krafted@Keller-USA.com) describing the item and I will get back to you regarding availability and cost.