Author Archives: Michael Crow

About Michael Crow

Michael Crow is the author of "Building Classic Arts and Crafts Furniture: Shop Drawings for 33 traditional Charles Limbert Projects." He can often be found working on his Craftsman bungalow or building furniture for it. Follow his work at

imperfect grid

Off the Grid: Variations on a Mid-Century Modern Bookcase

There’s something very graphical about the design of the Mid-Century Modern Bookcase I built for the October 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Viewed head on, the arrangement of dividers and shelves suggests a grid-based page layout. Although the analogy falls a bit short (the short divider is placed in such a way to...

Nelson Platform Bench

Nelson Platform Bench

Editor’s note: During his time design director for Herman Miller, George Nelson recruited a series of talented designers including Ray and Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Propst and Alexander Gerard. During Nelson’s tenure, Herman Miller produced numerous iconic designs including, the Eams Lounge Chair, Marshmallow Sofa and Noguchi coffee table. And, as the literal foundation...

Risom round coffee table

Risom Coffee Table

Editor’s note: The measured drawings for the Risom coffee table in this article by Michael Crow are similar to the shop drawings included in Crow’s new book, “Mid-Century Modern Furniture.” The book presents shop drawings and techniques for creating 29 projects designed by some of the era’s foremost designers, including Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, George...

Kinkauji temple

From Temple Roofs to Tansu: In Search of a Bamboo Nail

Kyoto’s Kinkakuji sits on the edge of an ornamental pond, its gold leaf catching the light and turning it to an aureate glow, the whole gleaming apparition reflected in the pond. And yet when I visited Kinkakuji, I was almost as taken with a roofing display as I was with the newly gold-leafed temple,...

Rohlf and Stickley floriform tables

Rohlfs & Stickley: A Case of Flowery Inspiration

Darrell Peart raised an interesting questions during my recent web seminar on “Unkown Arts & Crafts” for Popular Woodworking University. He noted the similarities between one of Rohlfs’ tables and the poppy table by Gustav Stickley and asked if one maker influenced the other. Both tables share a similar form — trunk-like slab legs...

The turned legs of this coffee table designed by Finn Juhl present a challenge for the latheless.

Design by Substitution

I’ve enjoyed Chuck’s and Bob’s posts on design and recently had cause to think about them while working on a coffee table for an upcoming book on Mid-Century Modern furniture. At the risk of over-simplifying, these posts suggest an axis for approaching furniture design: on the one end, evaluate a class of furniture and...

I select the stile I want to copy and distribute.

Create a Linear Array in SketchUp

I’m currently working on a variation on L & J. G. Stickley’s No. 220 prairie settle. The settle’s three sides consist of frame and panels. Because I’m building a shorter version, I need to shorten the rails and resize the panels. Before SketchUp, I would have subtracted the combined width of the stiles from...

Limbert's No. 346 Magazine Stand in pine, finished with black milk paint and boiled linseed oil.

Building the Limbert No. 346 Magazine Stand

Note: If you missed my first post on this magazine stand, you might like to begin here. I may be overly fond of pattern routing, because any time I have more than one identical part, I immediately begin contemplating a new pattern. And that’s the approach I took when building this magazine stand: My...