Arts and Crafts Sideboard
Traditional joinery and modern fasteners team up to simplify construction
Synopsis: This Arts and Crafts sideboard by Gregory Paolini is a scaled-down version of the venerable pieces that inspired it, so it will fit into the tighter spaces of today’s homes. However, it retains their muscular design and, like its predecessors, relies on the mortise-and-tenon joint for strength. Because the piece is made almost entirely with frame-and-panel construction, Paolini broke it down into subassemblies that can be built one at a time and joined together with screws: the outer frame, the case bottom and the drawer-divider assembly, the subtop frame, the top, and the doors and drawers. Taken this way, it makes for an easier build.
A sideboard is a welcome piece in the dining room, where its drawers are perfect for linens and silverware, its cupboards accommodate serving trays, and its top is a staging area for the dishes to be served. It’s no surprise, then, that sideboards were common in Arts and Crafts dining rooms. The version I make here is scaled down from the original pieces that inspired it, so it will fit into tighter spaces (not everyone has a large, formal dining room these days). However, it retains their muscular design and is made from quartersawn white oak, just like the originals.
When it comes to joinery, Arts and Crafts furniture relies heavily on the strength of the mortise-and-tenon. It’s the primary joint in this sideboard, too, which is made almost entirely with frame-and-panel construction.
It’s not difficult to cut a bunch of mortise-and-tenon joints, but taken together, those joints can create serious headaches while assembling a piece of furniture with as many parts as this sideboard. To avoid problems, I broke the sideboard down into subassemblies that can be added one at a time. I also joined these subassemblies with screws, which…