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Stickley Style Chest of Drawers Mount Morris MI

Building nine drawers is a big part of making this chest. I’ve used a sliding dovetail joint popular in Stickley’s time. The drawers run on center-mounted wooden guides, a recent innovation 100 years ago when the original chest was built. Center guides help wide drawers track well, even when they’re pushed or pulled with only one hand. I’ve added web frames to strengthen the chest. They also make the guides easier to install.

The Home Depot
(810)715-1700
4245 E Court St
Burton, MI
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(810)230-6430
5300 Pierson Road
Flushing, MI
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(810)245-3485
1500 Summit Drive
Lapeer, MI
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Martin's Hardware Genesee Inc
(810) 640-1300
7256 N. Genesee
Genesee, MI
 
Gill Roys Complete Hdwe Stores
(810) 686-1600
420 West Vienna Road
Clio, MI
 
The Home Depot
(810)230-8784
4380 W Corunna Rd
Flint, MI
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(810)232-7113
1222 West Hill Rd
Flint, MI
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Rockwell Ace Hardware
(810) 686-4110
G 7070 N Saginaw Street
Mount Morris, MI
 
Beauchamp's Ace Hardware
(810) 789-7871
1101 W Pierson Rd
Flint, MI
 
West Gamble Store
(810) 686-0920
146 W. Vienna St.
Clio, MI
 

Stickley Style Chest of Drawers

Stickley Style Chest of Drawers

Build a masterpiece with handsome quartersawn oak.

by Randy Johnson

This striking chest of drawers is closely modeled after one of Gustav Stickley’s most famous designs. Both bold and graceful, the wide overhanging top, slightly bowed legs and arched apron of Stickley’s chest show the strong influence of his brilliant associate Harvey Ellis. My version is nearly identical in appearance, but I’ve modified its joinery to strengthen the case and improve the drawers’ operation.

Building nine drawers is a big part of making this chest. I’ve used a sliding dovetail joint popular in Stickley’s time. The drawers run on center-mounted wooden guides, a recent innovation 100 years ago when the original chest was built. Center guides help wide drawers track well, even when they’re pushed or pulled with only one hand. I’ve added web frames to strengthen the chest. They also make the guides easier to install.

Stickley built most of his Mission-style furniture from quartersawn white oak. I used quartersawn red oak. It generally has less pronounced figure, but I was able to find some beautiful boards. I used quartersawn oak for everything except a couple of leg parts. I used the best-looking boards for the outside of the chest and the plainer-looking boards, which were more rift-sawn in appearance, for interior parts. Lumber that is quartersawn or rift-sawn is very stable and is a good choice for drawers and related parts. 

I used heavy solid copper hardware with a hammered texture and antique finish. It cost an eye-popping $350. Less-expensive Mission-style hardware is widely available, but I love the heavy feel and authentic appearance this hardware adds to my chest. If you’re up to a real challenge, you can make your own hardware (see “Hammer Your Own Copper Hardware").

Gustav Stickley considered his life’s mission to promote the values of fine workmanship. He named his magazine and his line of furniture The Craftsman. When you build this chest and hammer out the hardware, you’ll certainly be a craftsman, too! 

Build the Sides

1. Machine the stiles (A, K) rails (B, L), and drawer dividers (N, P, Q and R) to final size. Cut the mortise-and-tenon joints in these parts (Photo 1; Fig. A, below). I used the Leigh frame-and-mortise jig and a Bosch 3-1/4-hp plunge router (see Sources, below), but you can cut the same joints many other ways as well. 

2. Rout grooves in the rails and stiles for the side panels (C), (Photo 2; Figs. B and C, below). Note that the grooves in the stiles do not extend to the end of the boards but stop at the mortises. Rout similar grooves for the back panel (M, Fig. G, below) and dust panels (V, X, Fig. A).

3. Resaw boards for the side panels and glue them together. Plane them to final thickness.

4. Sand and stain the panels (Photo 3). Sand and stain the rails’ and stiles&.

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