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Stickley Style Chest of Drawers Oak Park IL

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
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1919 N Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL
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700 Broadview Village Sq
Broadview, IL
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37 W North Ave
Northlake, IL
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The Home Depot
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3500 N Kimball
Chicago, IL
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The Home Depot
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2665 N Halsted Street
Chicago, IL
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The Home Depot
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2555 N Normandy
Chicago, IL
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2803 S Cicero Ave
Cicero, IL
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Rayner & Rinn-Scott, Inc.
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6755 S. Old Harlem Ave.
Bedford Park, IL

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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&.

Click here to read the rest of the article from American Woodworker