Arts and Crafts on Display
Versatile cabinet is a lesson on building in the Stickley style
Synopsis: With its quartersawn oak, exposed joinery, fumed finish, and hand-hammered hardware, this case piece would not be out of place in an antique Stickley catalog. The through-mortises are a critical feature of the design. The leaded-glass doors are a typical Arts and Crafts detail, too. Also, the parts are varied in thickness: The sides are a full inch thick, the top and bottom are 7/8 in. thick, and the remaining interior dividers are 3/4 in thick. Each piece is slightly inset from the other, creating subtle shadow lines.
Simple is not always easy. Take Arts and Crafts furniture. woodworkers fond of the style—with its beefy parts, rectilinear lines, and exposed mortise-and-tenon joinery—may think the furniture is easy to make. But this simple form is unforgiving of mistakes. Make one slip-up in proportions, hardware choice, or finish, and the design falls down. I’ve been building Arts and Crafts furniture for a long time, and I’ve worked through the challenges in making a piece that’s true to the style.
This case piece is an original design, yet it would not be out of place in an antique Stickley catalog. with its quartersawn white oak, exposed joinery, fumed finish, and hand-hammered hardware, it breathes Arts and Crafts. The leaded-glass doors are typical, too, and add to the handcrafted look. You can have panels made by a local artist or you can make them yourself. If you are interested in building in this style, I hope you’ll find a few valuable lessons here. Also, this piece is a versatile one: I designed it to hold books and cherished items, but it could work as a sideboard, too.
When building an Arts and Crafts piece, the most important step is to choose good wood. The tight grain and magnificent ray…
Get the Full-Size Plan
Digital plans, a cutlist, and a SketchUp drawing for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.