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Working for a magazine can cause some confusion about dates. We work a few months ahead of real time. We’re about to send the December issue to the printer, and are working on February. So even though it’s late September, the November issue will be appearing in your mailbox or at your local newsstand any day now. Our advance copies just came to our office, and I think you will enjoy it.

We test 14″ steel-frame bandsaws, preview some of the new tools we saw in Atlanta at IWF, and Glen Huey has a great article on preparing rough lumber. My contribution is an article on building a reproduction of a Gustav Stickley side table.
Unlike some other magazines, when we build a repoduction of a furniture piece from the Arts & Crafts period, we really build a reproduction of an authentic piece. We don’t just slap corbels and spindles on something ordinary and call it “Mission”.

This little table has an interesting history. The only known example showed up out of the blue at a Sotheby’s auction in December 2004. Similar pieces were catalogued, but they didn’t have the angled legs that make this example appear so distinctive.

If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at a Craftsman piece, this is a wonderful project. It doesn’t require a lot of material, and nearly every mortise and tenon joint in it is in a different configuration. I look at a project like this as an opportunity to develop not just the manual skills to make the joints, but also problem solving skills in how to make the joints, and the sequence of putting this all together. Over the next few weeks I’ll be adding posts to this weblog on all the details that wouldn’t fit in the magazine article.


The obvious tricky joint is the angled, keyed through mortise and tenon between the lower front to back stretcher and the lower rails. It’s not as difficult as you might think, but it does take some time and patience.

The other joints aren’t exposed, but the angles and the way the pieces intersect with each other get pretty interesting. The drawer is also a bit of a challenge. The front is canted back at the same angle as the legs, so the half-blind dovetails had to be adjusted to accomodate that.


And last but not least is the handle. It’s band sawn and then shaped with rasps. I tried some new rasps that came in to the shop that are very close in performance to the Auriou rasps from France but aren’t as expensive. I’ll be talking in more detail about them and I’ll show you how I used the shape of the rasp to determine the curve in the back of the handle.

This is the first project I’ve done since we started the blog, and I’m looking forward to sharing this extra material.

Bob Lang

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  • Ryan Partridge

    love this piece. Did you say there is plans for this.

  • dave brown

    Kudos on the piece and the article Robert. I see you’re trying you’re hand at hand cut dovetails — angled ones at that. A braver man than I. I like the fact that you didn’t wait til they were perfect to photograph them. Very cool.

    Thanks for the weblogs that you all work so hard on. They are a very nice extra from a great magazine.


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