Design Elements

November 12, 2020

Chamfering for Arts & Crafts Furniture

Chamfers are a mainstay of the Arts & Crafts style. Chamfers are often used to soften the ends of through tenons and are used extensively in contemporary pieces, and through out original Arts & Crafts casework including Stickley’s Harvey Ellis designed number 700 bookcase and Morris Chairs.

August 25, 2019

Ebony Table Buttons

I designed the ebony table button to encourage people to touch my furniture and experience the phenomenon of wood movement.

February 27, 2018

A look at Solid Wood Legs

Last weekend while attending the annual Arts and Crafts conference in Asheville, NC I spent a lot of time at the Antique Show. One of the benefits of this is being able to study a large sampling of arts and crafts furniture. In this post I’ll show you the many different ways I found to construct solid-wood legs. The following photos show four different ways that settle legs were assembled circa 1902 – 1910.

August 13, 2015

Housed Tenons

As an admirer of Greene and Greene furniture, I’ve always been interested in the housed tenon-a joint that was used extensively throughout their furniture, and anecdotally, it appears to have been used exclusively by them. Several folks have told me the Greene’s employed this joint because of the strength it added to joints; and others believe it was employed because it all but guaranteed that, if throughout its life a piece of furniture experienced significant wood movement, a gap would not open between legs and rails, splats, spindles, or crests. It’s easy to say that this additional strength and anti-gap insurance are reasonable features given the prices the Greens were charging. But there are too many others craftsman from this era (i.e.: Charles Rolfs, William Price, Elbert Hubbard etc) who in my mind were just as concerned with the quality and strength characteristics of their furniture who did not use the housed tenon. I wonder why?

April 17, 2015

Quadrilinear Legs

Perhaps the most alluring aspects of Arts and Crafts furniture is working with quarter sawn white oak and the unique ray fleck patterns it presents. A particular challenge of featuring the distinctive ray fleck patterns is presented by the leg-a table leg, Morris chair leg, or side board leg-and how to make oak’s ray fleck pattern visible on all four sides.