by Tom Calisto
The simple lines and honest joinery of the Arts & Crafts period have always appealed to me. The fumed quartersawn white oak and the warm patina of the copper hardware add a wonderful effect to the overall design.
But I have never been satisfied with the reproduction hardware that I have seen, so I prefer to make the hardware by hand. Copper is an easy metal to work, so making custom hardware is not as difficult as it might seem – and by making it yourself you have total control over the size, shape and design.
The pulls here are similar to those found on Gustav Stickley’s pieces from about the turn of the 20th century. Most modest shops will have all the equipment needed to make them.
The basic toolkit consists of a hardwood block, propane torch, hacksaw, files, a bench vise, some form of an anvil and a ball-peen hammer.
The anvil can be as simple as a block of metal. The ball-peen hammer shapes and textures the components of the pulls. Its striking ends need to be polished because any roughness on the faces of the hammer will transfer to the pulls. I use a smaller hammer in the 8- to 12-ounce range because only light blows are needed.
In addition to polishing the hammer’s faces, it is helpful to grind a slight bevel (maybe 10°) along the lower half of the flat face. The bevel enables a more comfortable grip when planishing the perimeter of the back plate. Be sure to radius any sharp edges after grinding the bevel.
You’ll also need 1⁄16″-thick copper sheeting (110 alloy) for the back plates; 5⁄16″-diameter copper rod for the bails and 1⁄2″-square bar for the posts. Sources include McMaster-Carr (mcmaster.com) and Online Metals (onlinemetals.com). I use 8-gauge grounding wire from a big-box store to make the rivets
Web: Learn more about Tom Calisto and his work at Windward Woodworks.
Article: Build a Stickley Sideboard with these free plans
To Buy: “Building Classic Arts & Crafts Furniture: Shop Drawings for 33 Traditional Charles Limbert Projects” by Michael Crow
In our Store: Find design inspiration from “Shop Drawings for Craftsman Inlays & Hardware” by Robert W. Lang
From the February 2015 issue, #216