Honesty and integrity of construction are essential tenets of Arts and Crafts furniture. The tried-and-tested traditional joinery that makes it strong and long-lasting is also a visible element that adds to the furniture’s intrinsic beauty.
Most Stickley door joints are tenoned, glued, and pinned with wooden pins. The pins lock the joint supplying additional strength. This joint would hold together even without the use of glue. Some styles are pinned from the front and are visible, others from the back.
The splining of the mitered corners of many mirrors provides the strongest possible corner. The chance of a joint ever breaking is minimal.
Cross rails on cases are dovetailed into the ends to strengthen the case from side to side. On Mission designs, the dovetail is hidden from view. This joint is self-locking even without glue, and separation of the end panels is impossible, unless the wood is split apart. Dowel joints rely on glue, and glue can fail over time. A dovetail joint cannot fail.
Solid wood varies greatly in grain and color. Proper matching of individual boards gives the appearance of one solid piece and eliminates the need to bleach or sap stain the lumber. The tongue and groove insures a stronger glue joint which does not crack or split and allows for greater finished thickness on all tops.
All Stickley Windsor and rush-seat chairs are pinned with wooded pins. These pins ensure [AN1] [BV2] that even after long, hard use the joints will not pull apart. The wedging of arm and back posts into the bottom of the seats is another assurance of a lasting joint.
Stickley bookcases are available with ship lap planking in the back. Individual boards are machined, sanded, finished and applied one at a time. Together they add character and beauty to a piece.
All bracket feet are splined, corner blocked and braced. In addition to the usual corner block, a corner brace is rabbeted into the side of the leg pieces. This leg is joined to the case by four screws, providing a solid foundation.
This technique allows the beauty of ray flake to appear on all four sides of a post, rather than on just the normal two. To achieve this, four quartersawn boards are mitered together around a solid core, increasing the strength and beauty of the post.
Glass panels are secured with oak or cherry quarter rounds, mitered to fit perfectly and affixed with barely visible pins. We believe the inside of each door should be as handsome as the outside.
The center guide keeps drawers from skewing sideways. Side suspension keeps drawers level when heavily loaded. No plastic parts to break. No metal to rust and scratch. Just honest to goodness hand craftsmanship. The drawer never scrapes the bottom, and opens and closes with ease – forever.
The key to Arts & Crafts furniture quality and durability, are mortise and tenon joints, a single Stickley chair can have over 30 such joints. A blind tenon is concealed within the mortise . While in a through tenon the end of the tenon is visible and part of the form of the piece. Tenons, whether blind, through, pinned or keyed, are the very best way to join furniture together.
This distinctive form of tenon found in Arts & Crafts furniture uses a wedge shaped “key” inserted in to a tenon that pass through the side of a board to secure it in place . This traditional and highly effective mechanical joint gives exceptional strength and rigidity to the furniture.
Resawing is a process of splitting thick lumber into thinner boards. The split halves are then opened like a book revealing identical grain. This painstaking process creates beautifully grained panels on all Stickley pieces it’s used on. Making panels this way is more costly and more labor intensive, however, it is much more attractive than randomly matched boards.
Oak, sawn parallel to the medullary rays is known as quarter-sawn, this type of cut produces boards of exceptional strength and reveals the prized ray flake patterning of oak that makes each piece of furniture unique. Quartersawn white oak is much less likely to crack, check or warp than when it is flat sawn. This method is used in Mission style construction exclusively.
The side rails of some Stickley beds are locked into special casting. The end rails are mortised and tenoned into the posts and locked with wood pins. We use top quality 5/4″ solid oak, cherry and maple for bed rails. Two panhead screws are positioned at the ends of each rail to fit into an iron casting with a tongued slot. Our beds won’t wobble or rock.
We are focused on building furniture for life; furniture that is passed down from generation to generation. Furniture for life. More than 90 percent of Stickley’s products are still made by our own craftsmen in our upstate New York and North Carolina workshops.
Since 1900, the Stickley philosophy has been “living in harmony with nature.” Our focus on durability, quality, efficiency, and long-term results permeates our management and manufacturing process. We comply with strict federal, state, and local environmental regulations and are a proud member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.