Stickley Craftmanship?

I just came back from my local Stickley store here in High Point. I like looking at their stuff for inspiration and to drool. I was careful to inspect the joinery for gaps and noticed quite a few. Mostly where slats meet rails. I noticed several slats that had light shining through from the back where the slat meets the rail. Not to pick on Stickley, but I always thought they represented top quality craftsmanship. I think the Stickley brothers would be turning in their graves if they saw what I saw today.
Here are a couple of pictures of a corbel in their Harvey Ellis bed. I also noticed a few pieces where they are incorporating Greene&Greene elements which I thought was odd. Why would Stickley need Greene and Greene elements when they have their own style that is unique?
http://www.garagewoodworks.com/craftmanship.htm
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Actually Stickley has quite a few styles of furniture.. The Mission style is probably the most thought of.
I suspect that they are trying to appeal to the masses which may very well include the distressed look in some of their lines of furniture.
http://stickley.com/index.cfm
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Not to mention the Ellis side of their line has its own feel.
I have been following Stickley's growth and automation processes as much as I could. It fascinates me to see a company with certain challenges (problems). Think of it this way..."we have a gorgeous coffee table in our museum, one sold at auction for $ 25,000.....now LET'S make 500 of them!!" Insurmountable odds that something is going to suffer. I have some old original Stickley printed catalogues which show their entire line of furniture. The oldest was about 20 pages. 100 pieces, max... including the limited choices of wood and finish. Now they make thousands of pieces in all kinds of materials and all kinds of finishes..just staggering how big they are now.
The days and reputation of a few old, grumpy and fussy wooddorkers in their leather aprons has long since evaporated. You just cannot mechanize 'hand-crafted'. Then there are materials and processes (like ammonia fuming) which would drive the environmentalists around the bend..(often the same yuppies who love to buy Stickley, btw.).
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Amen.
We bought some Richardson Brothers bedroom furniture years ago. Granted, not as well know as Stickley but very nicely made traditional furniture. Design, workmanship and finish is top-notch. We dropped into a showroom a year or so ago that does sell nice stuff, including some of their own custom made furniture. The sales guy/furniture designer was apologetic about his Richardson Brothers furniture and for good reason.
Apparently they let the finance guys occupy the design and fabrication facilities. Approaching Rent-A-Center quality.
He was discontinuing as soon as he sold off his inventory.
RonB
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Nothing like an MBA taking over QC/QA....AND design.... The many times I have seen that.
There is not ONE industry that improves when the spread-sheet crowd takes over. Running your company efficiently is one thing, but a bean-counter telling a customer that he/she is willing to put up with shit, is ....well..look at Detroit, your example, and bezillions of others.
PEOPLE WILL SPEND A LITTLE EXTRA FOR QUALITY!... unfortunately, there are those very crafty geniuses like McD, BurgerKing and such that know where than line is and boy, are they good at toeing it. I bought a Big Mac while I was on the road not too long ago....and it was within 1/8" of my throwing the thing at the window of the McD outlet. The famous "how bad can it be' question was answered in spades. But I digress, but did not digest.
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You reminded me....
A few years ago we attended a retirement party for my cousin and his friend/colleague. Both had received very nice offers from our local electric utility company (will remain nameless) and decided to bail together. The two gentlemen managed all maintenance and repair services for 2/3's of our state. Both had started their careers on a service truck and had paid their dues wearing pole climbers and working in incredibly adverse weather conditions. These guys and their employees often worked 3-4 days straight with minimal rest to recover from ice storms and spring tornado's. They knew the state's electrical network and generating facilities like the back of their hands.
There were several company executives present and one of the VP's introduced us to a young gentleman in his mid to upper 20's. He had an eastern MBA and the company was very impressed with his organizational and finance savvy. He was REPLACING BOTH OF THE RETIREES!
I noticed my cousin's co-hart in the background doing all he could to suppress a grin. As the two executives walked away, he walked up and whispered "I would really recommend the purchase of a generator."
RonB
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GarageWoodworks wrote:

Actually, there's an interesting article on through tenon joinery by Chris Schwarz in Woodworking magazine that discusses this. Quite a few old Stickley pieces had visible gaps in the joinery, especially closer to the floor. Of particular interest to me, there were cases where square tenons protruded through round-ended mortises.
One of the things mentioned in the article is that through tenons in modern times are often used to "show off" craftsmanship, while in earlier times it was simply used as a proof of joinery technique or even for pure functional strength. Because of this, modern standards (among discerning people, at least) for what a through tenon should look like are probably higher than they used to be.
Chris
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