Andy Dingley (or anyone): Q on mission furniture

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I'm sure there's others on the wreck well-versed in mission-style furniture, I just happen to remember Andy making many related posts.
While finishing last-minute Christmas shopping, strolling though Restoration Hardware (roasting in a winter jacket.. arghhh), admiring their mission-style furniture, one thing that surprised me: The tops on things like dressers, coffee tables, side tables, etc. are glued up from very narrow pieces. I didn't have a tape on me, but I'd say about 1.5 inches wide. Is this true to authentic "Craftsman" style furniture by the likes of Stickley? (Can't remember from pics I've seen).
The timeliness of this query is this: I'm just now lining up boards for a coffee table top, and was planning on making the 28 inch wide top from 8 boards appx 3.5 in each. If I used narrower boards, it would make it easier to choose nice-looking grain from the red oak I have available, although more work in glue-up. I would like to keep it true to the traditional style to the extent that I'm capable (won't be any ammonia fuming going on in my house in the near future).
But, aside from that, I'm just curious how good a reproduction they have at that store.
Thanks!
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"Keith Carlson" wrote in message

easier
style
at
Most of the Mission/A&C/Craftsman style table tops I've seen from that period, both in person and in books, were laminated from various width's, even within the same top, with no particular rules that can be discerned.
Economy was one of the principles behind the movement, so whatever it takes to get a combination of economy and aesthetics is pretty much fair game as far as method. With regard to material, quarter sawn white oak is the wood most characteristic of the style, at least in the US.
I personally prefer to mix the grain up a bit on table tops on the mission pieces I make ... judging from pictures of earlier Gustav Stickley tables, I am apparently not alone. :)
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On Sat, 27 Dec 2003 03:35:09 GMT, "Keith Carlson"

Do you know what time it is over here ? When's a kibozo (look it up) supposed to get any sleep ?

I've not seen that before.
Sounds like a cheap hack to emulate quartersawn stock from skinny trees and cheap flatsawn timber. What's the figure like ? It doesn't matter if it's narrow stock (from a stability point of view) or if it's quartersawn (if it's narrow, it'll be stable enough any way you cut it) but it sounds like the visuals are going to suffer badly, especially any ray flake.
I know nothing of red oak, so don't know how that would end up looking, however you sawed it.
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Hey Andy. I agree - I believe mass produced furniture makers would have an easier time just gluing up a bunch of smaller pieces to make "boards" than pay for wider pieces. I believe we're looking at bean-counter mentality.
The original American A&C pieces I've seen in person from Gus Stickley as well as his brothers - L&JG - Limbert and Roycrofters all appear to use wide pieces for tops and case sides. (It's been observed that oak may have been the "chosen wood" for American A&C due to other hardwood being overharvested prior to 1875-ish.)
There's a new book by Taunton Press on Arts & Crafts furniture, just published this year. I rec'd a copy for Christmas and it's chock full of pics of original pieces. I don't recall seeing any with what I would consider unusually narrow glue-ups (less than 8" or so).
As to Red Oak, it's a more open grain than White Oak and, interestingly enough, can display much more prominent and dramatic ray fleck. Ammonia fuming can yield a green tint, so that has to be taken into account. For my Arts & Crafts pieces, I prefer White Oak over Red; Mahogony over Red; Black Walnut over Red; Cherry over Red - but other than that, I'd choose Red in a heartbeat. ;)
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"Fly-by-Night CC" wrote in message

... and many of my books show numerous examples of original tables with many laminations in rather narrow tops.
Just have one on hand in my office, but on page 49 of Bavaro and Mossman's book on Gustav are two tables with of 5 laminations in 22", and 5 laminations in 28". On page 52 is a Serving Table with 5 laminations in 22", one board appearing to be less than 2". Page 54 shows a Library Table with 6 laminations in 30"
Just a quick perusal of last year's Stickley Mission catalog shows table tops with many more laminations. A Harvey Ellis table with 6 laminations in a 24" wide top, a desk with 8 laminations in 30", are clearly visible.
While times have changed, and with it, the availability of wide lumber, Stickley also knew the dangers of too wide a wood on table tops. The only _rule_ as to width of laminations appears to be a requirement that they be random in width ...and attempts were obviously made to match the grain in a pleasing manner.
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My last Stickley piece was a 603 round table
http://codesmiths.com/shed/furniture/photos/table_603.jpg
The top on that is 3 pieces in 20" diameter
1.5" is _skinny_ though. That's not stability, it's penny-pinching. Sounds like buying in 8/4 stock and turning it sideways.
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wrote:

Yep, that is too skinny, especially if they're all near the same width. I've only personally handled one original piece with a lamination that narrow ... it was on the front edge of an end table and likely that size because the top was cut to dimension after being glued up. While the top grain matched quite well, you could, as usual, see it clearly in the end grain ... but that kind of stuff never bothered me in the least.
Your 603 round table is gorgeous.
I just bought a interesting chair yesterday at a garage sale for $10 ... one chair only. The piece is intriguing to me. It appears to resemble Mission/A & C style, almost a Frank Lloyd Wright look to it, Oak, obviously hand made from the tool marks on it, heavy as hell, and has been refinished with some type of brown faux crap. Whoever built it knew what he was doing as the workmanship is top drawer stuff.
www.e-woodshop.net/images/MysteryChair1.jpg www.e-woodshop.net/images/MysteryChair2.jpg www.e-woodshop.net/images/MysteryChair3.jpg
I like the look of it and bought it to measure it up and reproduce one of these days for a dining room table I have in mind ... let me know if you see anything you recognize in it.
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Thanks. There's a nice story behind it too.
It's not all my own work -- The top was glued up and roughed out by a friend of mine's grandfather, some decades ago and shortly before he died. Then it languished with a few other half-projects in the back of the family's garden shed. Early this year I was visiting while they were tidying up and I came home with this pile of odd bits of timber.
A glued-up tabletop is too wide to sit tidily in the woodrack and it kept annoying me. It's lovely figured piece of timber and I couldn't bring myself to re-work it into anything else, so obviously I had to finish it into something. I'm quite fond of old Gustav and the simple 603 tables had no apron to make so I could knock one up quickly out of not much other timber. Finish is ammonia fuming and shellac over oil.
I still haven't found a home for it. I might see if the original owners would like it back as a finished piece. -- Klein bottle for rent. Apply within.
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SWMBO says I gotta ask....in the first pic, why are the numbers on that door at the bottom?? TIA

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It is the common practice around here for houses with 8-36 doors to put the numbers at the bottom ... that would be 98% of the houses in this city within a city. Size of the numbers is local code. Also, in this case, the finished floor is almost four feet above grade, so when you're on the street, the numbers are at eye level.
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Stopped me in my tracks... I sit corrected.
I will offer my opinion, that the pieces I've seen and what I design for myself, look better with a limited glueups rather than many. i.e. 3, 8" boards to make 24" rather than 6, 4"'ers.
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"Fly-by-Night CC" wrote in message

in
And I agree with you they are overall more pleasing. It wasn't my intention to "stop you in your tracks", sorry if it came off that way. Just trying to point out to the OP that some narrow boards in original table top laminations from that period are not necessarily a bad thing, but that he should definitely be shooting for random widths.
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Not at all - I guess I was a bit too terse in my comment... shoulda put a ;) or somthin in there.
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On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 21:30:19 -0800, Fly-by-Night CC

And they had mills on every corner back then, so it was much more available qsawn at less of a premium than it now is (when available).

Ooh, ooh, is that Rodel's book? I have an Amazon gift certificate burning a hole in my virtual pocket. Is it really good?
I got an email from Robert Lang about his new book being available now, too. "Shop Drawings for Craftsman Interiors; Cabinets, Moldings & Built-ins of Every Room in the Home" (Amazon $17.47)
Hmmm, decisions, decisions... (I'd get both but Griz is delivering a Shop Fox mortiser next week so I can stop dragging my heels.)
P.S: Conan, start holding your breath. ;)
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Yep, that's the one. Bought it a few weeks before Christmas, put a PostIt on it saying, "Gift for Dad", along with a stack of other bookstore items similarly marked for relatives awaiting my wife and daughter's wrapping party.
I've read a couple chapters into it so far and have been pleased with it. I really wanted it for the picture of an original piece I want to make (Limbert gothic arch side table) - Taunton's reproduction quality is very good - plus the history and samples of the Movement from the beginning of Ruskin & Morris on to Germany, Scotland, and the US. It's really quite striking - the progression and the cultural differences of the various countries and how that affected the look of their pieces. Also the instances of other styles, like Art Nouveau or Bauhaus, showing up in A&C pieces a decade or more before that style really became defined.
Get it Larry, you won't be disappointed if A&C is your bent.
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On Sat, 27 Dec 2003 22:11:11 -0800, Fly-by-Night CC

It's smart to alert your gift givers to your wants/needs/tastes so you're -always- pleased with gifts.

I liked the thought of 500+ -more- pics to view, too.

Cool.
Done! Thanks. If you want something lighter, pick up a copy of the book my sister gave to me this Christmas. I'm going to get all of Christopher Moore's books from the library after reading "The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove". I think I've lost a quart of tears from laughing so hard while reading the first half of the book. One of his other titles is "Practical Demonkeeping".
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Will do. Last book I recall laughing out loud with was "A Fools Progress" by Edward Abbey - the character (perhaps Abbey hisself) shoots his wheezing fridge before departing on a roadtrip to his boyhood home in WV.
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Just finished Lust Lizard - I'm movin' to Pine Cove to live amongst these folks. I can picture these same goings on - with the people, not the lizard - in the tiny coastal towns of Oregon.
So, which character is Larry Jaques most like? Hmmm. Burton? That why you moved to the backwoods-garden-growing-Grass Pants? Nah, prolly not. I don't think your a scientist, head shrinker or other UCx'er. I'm thinkin' maybe that ol' Catfish? Seen it all, talks smooth with the ladies and sings the blues? I think I identified most with Skinner - where's that Food Guy when ya need 'im?
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On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 03:39:10 -0800, Fly-by-Night CC

I'm looking for it, too. I want copies of all of Molly's movies.

No, I ingest only organic and legal herbs nowadays, thanks. I'd really rather be the lizard and have girls with weedeaters all around me, riding my looooooong tongue.

Well, I gots de blues but I'm the wrong color for a bluesman (though that Jeff Healy dude proves it can be done, and done right.)

And I a dogless Theo. Y'know, single, girlfriendless, living alone in a dogforsaken area, head in a computer most of the time, surrounded by electronics and strange things to do. But, well, I just don't do rats, thanks. But I do exude mediocrity.
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wrote:> Do you know what time it is over here ? When's a kibozo (look it up)

Lol. Ya got a digital pager set to signal you when a post is made with your name in it?

Would like to use white oak, QS even, but the red oak is what I have available, and it looks pretty good after being stained. To me, anyway.
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