About Keller Krafted

Attention and commitment to quality is in every item.

Bill Keller of Keller Krafted Showing with his boxes.My handcrafted Shaker oval boxes and Shaker style trays make beautiful gifts, or the perfect accessory for your home. Shaker oval boxes and Shaker style trays have many practical uses around the home and office; including jewelry boxes to pet cremation boxes, pen/pencils holders, key holders, storage containers, paper clips, stamps or business card holders.

All boxes, trays and carriers I make are handcrafted. The particular style I use (long narrow “Swallowtails”) is based on the style of Elder Daniel Crossman (1810 – 1885), the Shaker brother in charge of oval box making at Mt Lebanon, NY Shaker Community in the mid to late 1800’s.

Each band is hand prepared and the swallowtails are individually cut. After which the band is sanded, soaked in hot water and bent into shape using a core sized for the box. The swallowtails are held in place by copper tacks. The band has shapers inserted to maintain the oval shape during drying. The top band is individually sized for each bottom band; making no two boxes the same.

After the box has dried, the bottom band is used to trace the size and shape of the box bottom; which is cut and shaped to fit. The same is done for the cover, using the top band. The bottom and covers are held in place by copper shoe pegs, called “points” by the Shakers.

The copper tacks are filed level with the box band and the box is given a final sanding prior to applying the finish. A sealer is used to keep the finish from saturating and penetrating the inside of the box.

Three to 4 coats of a hand-rubbed gel finish are applied; wet sanding is done between coats. The final coat is sanded with steel wool. Two coats of wax are applied and buffed to produce the satin sheen.

There is no finish applied to the interior of the box.

The boxes I make have Cherry or Maple bands; the bottoms are generally quarter sawn Eastern Pine or Baltic Birch plywood and the covers are Cherry, Bird’s Eye Maple, Lacewood (quarter sawn sycamore) or some other exotic. In general, the bottoms and covers for sizes 0 – 4 are solid wood, with the larger sizes veneered plywood. Use of plywood greatly reduces the expansion/contraction of the cover/bottom due to temperature and humidity changes.