Slat-back Chair

Victorian Side Table

Pattern routing makes quick and easy work of these urn-shaped sides.
By Megan Fitzpatrick
Pages: 30-31

From the December 2010 issue # 187
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While vacuuming a few weeks back, I was thinking about what to build for this issue’s “I Can Do That” project when it hit me … actually, when I hit it with my vacuum. I’ve had a small Victorian table/bookshelf in my guest room for years, tucked away in a corner where I rarely see it. It’s suffered from a broken foot for as long as I’ve had it. I decided the time had come to fix the problem so that I could put the table where it belongs – next to my favorite reading chair.
Plan: Download the free SketchUp plan for this project.
Articles: All the “I Can Do That” articles are free online.
In our store: Online and DVD video instruction on woodworking basics.

Gustav Stickley Morris Chair

Reproduce an Arts & Crafts classic and reward yourself with the ultimate easy chair.

By Robert W. Lang
Pages: 28-35

From the April 2011 issue #189
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In Gustav Stickley’s book Craftsman Homes, there is a picture of this chair with the following caption: “A big deep chair that means comfort to a tired man when he comes home after the day’s work.” First produced around 1906, this chair is an icon of Stickley’s furniture and his philosophy.

Visually, this chair invites you to sit down and relax – a result of the sloping arms and side rails, the warmth and color of the quartersawn white oak and the upholstered seat and back. Few people who see this chair can resist the desire to sit in it. And few who sit in it can rise without regret.

Other manufacturers who knocked off Stickley’s work cut corners and simplified his designs, and many woodworkers look for a way to make a chair like this with simpler joinery. Without the joinery it isn’t a chair like this; it’s something less. There is a reward for doing it right; in this case, the reward for the effort is the chair itself.

Free project plan: Download the Google SketchUp model of this project.
Video: Take a video tour of the Morris Chair.
Upholstery: MorrisChairUpholstery
Web site: Visit Gustav Stickley’s New Jersey home, Craftsman Farms.
To buy: “Exercises in Wood-Working, Part 2” video features Bob wearing a tie.
In our store: Bob’s books and videos are available in our online bookstore.

The Barnsley Hay Rake Table

Inspired by the agricultural tools of rural England, this massive oak table is awash in hand-worked details.
By Don Weber
Pages: 60-65

From the February 2009 issue #174
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As a young fellow growing up in the countryside of Wales, I clambered over many a farm wagon, climbed into many a loft in barns that were jointed and pegged, and tripped over many a hay rake on my adventures.

I have always appreciated the simple, utilitarian, yet pleasing design of the vernacular woodworking of the countryside. My inspiration for furniture forms has always been the work of the wheelwright and coach maker. And the inspiration for how to build things came in part from Sidney Barnsley and Ernest Gimson.

Barnsley and Gimson were men of the Cotswolds school of craft architects. They were part of a group of London architects who moved to the countryside in the 19th century and set up what is known today as the English Arts & Crafts movement (along with William Morris at Kelmscott Manor).

These free thinkers broke away from convention and began to design not only the buildings, but the furnishings as well. And they turned to the rural countryside for their inspiration.

The hay rake table built for Rodmarton Manor was an example of how Gimson and Barnsley adopted details from farm wagons, carts and farming implements that were still in use in the Cotswolds.