The Difference Between Hepplewhite & Sheraton Style Furniture

There are many, many differences in the furniture styles of George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton. These two furniture artists of the mid 18th century each had a style to their own but today I’ll focus on a quick and easy way to distinguish between the two styles that won’t fail you very often.

It’s the legs! Both furniture makers got their influence from the styles of England (as did everyone back then) and the differences are hard to spot except in the case of the legs.

Short and simple. Hepplewhite kept his legs SQUARED and tapered while Sheraton almost always used a turned style (still tapered) on his furniture. Some examples will follow. This rule applies to pretty much any piece you are looking at from chairs to sideboards.

Here are a couple of Hepplewhite sideboards as examples of the squared, tapered legs that are typical of George Hepplewhite. Both of these sideboards are circa 1790. The first one has a bit of Sheraton style in the intricate inlay, but the style of the legs overrides the Sheraton influence and this piece surely qualifies as Hepplewhite. As I mentioned before, there is a lot of subtlety in determining older pieces, so it’s good to have a rule of thumb to go by.

antique hepplewhite style sideboard

antique hepplewhite sideboard
These old photos we had to scan and the detail isn’t as nice as I’d like (you can click the images to enlarge), but you can see the detail on the legs that the Sheraton style furniture has compared to the Hepplewhite. Both are tapered, but Sheraton style furniture features turned legs with a lot of detail. Many time the legs have “knees” for a little extra flash. Again, I want to be clear, this is not the only difference between the styles, far from it. This is just the easiest way to quickly and pretty accurately figure out if you are looking at a Hepplewhite piece or a Sheraton piece.
antique sheraton style sideboard with turned legs

old sheraton sideboard - 1790
As I mentioned before, this little trick works all pretty much all types of furniture these two created and below is a good example of a Sheraton (on the left) style curio/writing desk next to a Hepplewhite (on the right) style curio/roll top writing desk. You can spot several style differences between the two but what jumps right out? The legs! The Sheraton on the left features turned and styled legs while the Hepplewhite piece sticks to the squared off legs.
Sheraton vs Hepplewhite Desks
If you’ve got anything to add, or if I’m dead wrong, let me know in the comments! 🙂

Antique Sheraton School Hardware & Sideboards

I recently had the pleasure of coming across some old photos of Sheraton style hardware that were taken nearly 100 years ago. Since the Sheraton style came to prominence so long ago in the late 1700’s I found it very interesting to see if what is available out there today really looks like how it used to. We actually don’t carry much of this style hardware, we’ve got this Sheraton bail pull here, but here is a google image search of it so you can compare for yourself. Seems to me everyone is doing a pretty good job reproducing the original style.

So here’s a look at a few pieces and their applications from way back.

Circa 1810 these next two pictures show off some of the detail available at the time. The first pull features an ear of corn while the knob boasts a decorative wreath in the middle.

Antique Sheraton Style Hardware
The two bail pulls below would have been made of brass and each one has it’s own design. Not sure what the top one is but the bottom shows two bows and two arrows crossing each other.

Old Sheraton Style Hardware
And here are few Sheraton school desks with the original hardware. Tough to see from the old photography but still very interesting to me and hopefully some others, haha!
This first one is from around 1790. This sideboard is made from Mahogany and shows off the usual distinction between a Hepplewhite and Sheraton sideboard. Sheratons have turned legs while Hepplewhites have squared tapered legs.

Sheraton School Desk - 1800
Another one from around 1800. This one has a nice shelf built into the top which would have been quite the upgrade in this time. Nice bail pulls to top it off.

Sheraton Style Sideboard with Shelf
Another from around 1800 is this serpentine front sideboard with Sheraton style knobs.

Sheraton Sideboard - Serpentine Front
I’m gonna make a bunch of these posts because I enjoy learning about the styles so much myself, so I hope everyone else is interested too!
Have a good one!

A Historical Tidbit About Chairs & Stools

A chair and a stool are two different distinct types of furniture. The stool came first. One of the earlier forms of seat furniture. A stool consists of a single seat, without back or armrests, on a base of either three or four legs. A chair is any piece of furniture with a raised surface that can be used to individually sit on. A chair without a backrest and armrest is considered a stool.

In the early times, stools were quite general and chairs were rare. Chairs were reserved for the gilded classes. Kings, noblemen, and statesmen used them to conduct their business or hold court. While your average pleb was relegated to sitting on stools, chests, or even the ground. Also, chairs in early times, were always ornate and exquisite, made from expensive material like ivory, bronze and acacia wood. Decorated with beautiful carvings and designs, they were handcrafted works of art.
In the 17th century, except in high society, there was often only one chair, that for head of the household. As the 18th century wore on, this condition was reversed. The progress of the position of women can almost be measured by this change. The Queen Anne, featured below, is quite rare partly for this reason. Foot stools of an ordinary character have always, of course, been in use.

Queen Anne Stool
To leave you with a dubious fact, according to the Furniture Treasury, most chairs have over time been cut down or destroyed because every third generation a short person occurs.
children's chairs

Three Ways to Hang Frames, Signs, or Mirrors

Everyone has artwork of some sort in the home and there are so many ways to hang it on the wall. There are all types of different fasteners, hangers and hardware, as well! Three of the easiest hangers to install are keyhole hangers, sawtooth hangers and (my favorite) soda can tabs with a washer and screw. Each of these hangers only take minutes to install and are super-strong to ensure that the artwork stays put!

1. Keyhole Hangers

Keyhole hangers are metal plates that screw onto the back of a frame or sign with a sort of oval shaped opening. The opening is larger on the bottom to fit over a screw head, then slides down so that the narrower portion of the oval rests behind the screw head that is mounted on the wall.
To install keyhole hangers, position the hanging plate on the back of the frame or sign and mark the position of the screw holes. Pre-drill the holes using a drill bit that is the same diameter or smaller than the screw being used to fasten the plate taking care not to go all the way through the art piece. Tighten the screws through the holes in the plate into the pre-drilled holes. 
How to Hang Mirrors

How to Hang Mirrors - D. Lawless Hardware
How to Hang Signs

2. Sawtooth Hangers

Sawtooth hangers are little metal strips with “teeth” on one end that sort of grip the nail or screw in the wall where the art piece will be hung. The sawtooth hanger is fastened to the frame or sign using tiny nails. Holding those little nails with one hand while trying to tap them into place with a hammer can be a tedious job! I like to use needle nose pliers to hold the nail while I tap the head with a hammer. Works like a charm!
How to Hang Mirrors - sawtooth

How to Hang Mirrors - sawtooth and brads

How to Hang Mirrors - sawtooth D. Lawless Hardware

3. Soda Can Tab with a Washer and Screw

This, by far, is the cheapest option for hanging artwork! Using a regular soda can tab, place a screw through a washer, then through the smaller hole in the soda can tab and drive the screw into the frame or sign. Use a standard screw driver to slightly bend the soda can tab to make it easier to hang on the nail or screw in the wall.
How to Hang Mirrors w/ a Soda Can Tab
Hang Mirrors with a soda can tab
That’s it – three easy ways to hang frames, signs or mirrors on the wall that are inexpensive and easy!

How to Install Side Mount Drawer Slides

There are three main types of drawer slides including two different styles of bottom mount slides (one type mounts to each side of a drawer box and the other type mounts directly in the center bottom) and side mount slides.
In addition to the different types of drawer slides, there are also many different styles – ball bearing, soft-close, slides with nylon wheels and the style I will use in this example. 
side mount drawer slide - D. Lawless Hardware
I have a love/hate relationship with drawer slides. They can be really easy to install or they can be really difficult to install. This particular style, in my opinion, is the easiest to install by far! I came across them by accident and when I opened the box, I immediately expected them to be difficult but they weren’t! In fact, I still had a smile on my face when I finished installing them, ha ha!
One of the things I love about this style is the lever stops at the front of the cabinet-side slide. This keeps the drawer from being pulled out and also makes it easy to remove the drawer.
To install these slides, mount the drawer-side portion of the slides with the wheel at the back end of the drawer. The little framing piece (where the wheel is located) will be flush with the bottom and back end of the side of the drawer. Insert one screw in one of the holes in this area. Measure from the bottom of the slide itself to the bottom of the drawer and make sure the front portion of the slide (without the wheel) measures the same distance. Insert the remaining screws.
side mount drawer slide installation
Now, align the cabinet-side pieces (the wheel will be at the front of the cabinet and will face up) with the stretcher that corresponds with the drawer. I located mine 3/4″ back from the front edge to allow for the inset drawer front. Make sure the side is level and insert the screws.
installing side mount drawer slides
install a side mount drawer slide
Slide the drawer in…That is all there is to it!
how to install side mount drawer slides
Here is a secret trick – if an oddball length of drawer slide is needed (my project needed slides that measured 11-1/2”), it is easy to cut the ends (opposite the wheels) off with a hacksaw! Super-easy, right?

D. Lawless Advice Featured at NanoRep

I recently got my advice on how to minimize call volume quoted on We love talking to you all of course! 🙂 But that costs us money and we’d be doing a better job if all the information was clearly laid out so you didn’t even have  reason to have to pick up the phone.

That’s pretty much what I told them anyways…I’m about the 7th or 8th entry down. It will be easy to find me because the first 7 bio pics are all people in suits and then I show up with bio pic eating pizza, LOL! I didn’t provide one and she used my google ID…

D. Lawless Starts a Furniture Restorer and Refinisher Directory

While trying to figure out cheap and effective ways of promoting our website I’ve ended up working with a lot of folks who are also very price conscious themselves. So after working with about the 200th small time refinishing business or hobbyist doing this type of stuff for a few extra bucks, I thought to myself that this must be a very in demand service.

So I google and no one is really helping anyone find a furniture refinisher near them. Bingo! I will now create value in the market place!! Haha. But seriously, I think it’s a good idea and I started using my contacts to create a list of talented individuals that can really take an old piece and turn it beautiful.
The list is just getting going. I’ve got about ten more to add here in a few minutes and I hope to have a huge list soon enough. If you’d like to be included just contact me, Derrick, at lawlesshardware (at) gmail (dot) com.
I’ll be improving and promoting the list in the future but for now the important part is gathering up all the talent!

Quadrant Hinge Installation for Jewelry Boxes

The quadrant hinge can be one of the most tricky hinge installations. The quadrant hinge is a complicated L-shape commonly used on jewelry boxes, cigar humidors, and other fine small wooden boxes.

As pictured, quadrant hinges are installed in the rear corners of a jewelry box and serve both as a lid support and hinge. Now let’s get straight to the installation.
Since the retainer portion of the hinge must recess into the sides of the box, a drill press or small router bit is required to create this recessed area. The picture below illustrates the type of router bit that can be used. The sections of the hinge running along the sides of the box and lid will require a mortise the exact shape of the hinge wing and must be appropriately deep as well. If done properly, this will have the hinge sitting flush with the top of the box and the bottom of the lid.
Free handing this mortise cut is not advised. Set up a simple straight line guide for your router with some scrap wood. Here is a link to someone that has already set up a jig or guide to help you install your quadrant hinges:
This jig will take a few minutes to set up, but it will save you from ruining your box with a sloppy mortise. Measurements are of the up most importance. The first step is to determine the depth of the cut. Figure in the gap you want between the box and lid and subtract this from the barrel diameter of the hinge and divide the result in half. The router cutter should then be set to this depth of cut.
Carefully line up the lid with the bottom and mark the areas to be routed with a pencil.
Now measure the box side and set your router against a straight fence to ensure a smooth straight cut up the center of this thickness. This setting will make a mortise for the forward arm of the hinge on the upper edges of your box.
PRO TIP: Remember when using a router with the fence on the right hand side the router must be pushed away from the body and when working from the left hand side the cut must be drawn towards the body.
Point A in the picture above illustrates the end of this cut and is measured off the hinge for allowance of half the barrel hinge to project out of the back of the box. This can simply be marked off.
After these cuts are made you can reset the fence to make a short cut at Point B. The fence will be set against the edge of the box and will be long enough to define the third cut.
The third cut will connect the other two with the fence setting against the back of the box.
The pocket cut will provide equal depth in both the box and the lid. As with the first cut, you’ll need to set the fence to cut along the center of the box edge. An approximately 3/16″ router bit will generally work for this. You may want to make a few passes to ensure a smooth cut due to the depth required.
PRO TIP: This final cut will be covered by the hinge and you should be able to freehand its length, but know that if it is longer than needed you’ll lose crucial wood in front of the forward most screw.
Now that you’re finished hopefully the hinge will fit into the pocket and install correctly. The hinge should screw into place and operate without binding.
If you intend to install these hinges regularly, crafting a template to fit the hinge size will save a lot of time with subsequent installations. 
gold plated quadrant hinges
Gold Plated Pair of Quadrant Hinges from D. Lawless

How to Measure the Overlay of Hinges & Cabinet Doors

When referring to an “overlay” people will often mean two different things. There is an overlay on your cabinets, and overlay of the hinge. In order for the cabinet doors to function properly you will need to match these to each other. I’ll show you how to measure both below.

If you already have your hinges and you want to determine what the overlay of the hinge so that you can replace them then you can determine the overlay very simply. Below are two shots of two different 1/2″ overlay hinges. The overlay is the distance from the corner wraparound part of the hinge and the barrel. This OVERLAYS, or overlaps, the cabinet door with the cabinet door opening.

Here are two examples shown on the semi-wraparound 1/2″ overlay hinges.

how to measure hinge overlay
Most overlay hinges will either be 1/4″,  3/8″, or 1/2″. So if you are measuring and it’s really close to 1/4″, 3/8″, or 1/2″, then just round to the nearest overlay increment as long as it’s quite close. Depending on how the hinge is made the measurements will vary a millimeter or two but that won’t end up affecting anything. Be sure and measure just up to where the hinge turns down. Do not measure to the outside of the hinge.

Fin the overlay of your hinge

There are also hinges that are called “variable overlay” which mount on the outside of the cabinet and allow the builder to simply slide the hinge to whatever location or overlay is needed. Variable overlay hinges are a much more flexible option but aren’t quite as sturdy as they don’t wrap around the cabinet at all. Unless you have very heavy cabinet doors then variable overlay hinges will still be sufficiently strong. Here’s what a variable overlay hinge looks like. Screws will be visible when using a variable overlay hinge.

variable overlay hinge
There is also one more kind of overlay hinge in the full wraparound. The full wraparound overlay hinge adds a lot of sturdiness to the cabinet doors and would be appropriate for very heavy doors. The full wraparound hinge looks like the one below and wraps entirely around the faceframe. You can see the extra lip at the bottom as being different from the partial wrap hinges at the top.
Full wraparound brass hinge

Once you understand what the overlay of a hinge is it is very easy to determine how far your cabinets are overlaying in your kitchen or wherever they are. As you can see below the 1/2″ overlay of the hinges above is marked with the red line. A 1/2″ overlay hinge overlays the cabinet door 1/2″ past the opening of the cabinet. Whatever the distance of the highlighted red area, that is the overlay of your cabinet door.
And of course if this doesn’t answer all your questions we’ve got experts on hand to answer any of your questions and make sure you get the exact hinge you need.

Cabinet Hardware Finish Guide [Infographic]

We thought some of you might need some help in selecting your finish for that perfect home décor look and feel. Please use our latest infographic below to aid your selection process.

We originally posted this on our Finish Helper Page and just wanted to share! This infographic will really help you figure out what finish you have currently and need to match and allow you to search for that finish by name to speed the process along.

finish selection help