by Robert W. Lang
The lack of closet space is a common problem in older homes. In the early 1900s Gustav Stickley offered this wardrobe as a solution. He used a shorter version in his own home, and in his retirement experimented with finish formulas on the bottoms of the drawers.
I’ve taken a few liberties with the original details. In photos of original pieces there appears to be an inner case that contains the drawers. I think this allowed the factory to produce outer carcases in a standard configuration, then slide in variations of inner cases. I eliminated the inner case to save time and reduce the overall weight of the finished piece.
I used plywood for the carcase dividers that are out of sight and modified the way the drawer slides attach to compensate for no inner case. The outer case is quite strong on its own and the overall form is adaptable to a number of modern uses. The inner drawers could be replaced with shelves and this would make a great media cabinet, or you could leave out the upper bank of drawers and install a rod for hanging storage.
First Things First
Casework is all about boxes; one big box contains a number of smaller ones. In this piece, the case sides need to be assembled first.
There are two 3⁄4″-thick panels in each side assembly. The upper ones are 9″ wide x 15″ long ; the lower ones are 9″ wide x 36″ long. If you don’t have single panels of this size, go ahead and glue those up and set them aside to dry before moving on to the side frames.
All of the frame parts for the side assemblies are 1-1⁄4″ thick. This provides a solid structure and eliminates the need for a face frame. After selecting the material and milling the stiles and rails to size, I grouped the stiles together to lay out the joinery.
Video: Construct and use a jig to cut dados the exact width of shelves.
Blog: Learn three techniques to achieve an authentic Arts & Crafts finish.
Plan: Download a free SketchUp model of the craftsman wardrobe.
Article: Build the Stickley No. 802 sideboard with the help of this free article.
In our store: “Classic Arts and Crafts Furniture,” by Robert W. Lang.