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Thread: Stickley Inspired magazine stand/display shelf

  1. #1
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    Stickley Inspired magazine stand/display shelf

    Some time ago here, I was pondering the design of a Stickley-inspired magazine stand -slash- display shelf.

    There was some good ideas and discussion there, I thought, and I appreciate the folks here who tossed in their two bits. Well, as often happens, I sat on the idea for a good while (ie: months! ) before getting around to it again a week ago. I'm now a fair ways along in the construction, and thought I'd post a few photos and start this thread.

    Just for anyone who hasn't read the prior thread, or doesn't feel like looking back, I started with an authentic Stickley Magazine shelf/stand -- from the book "Making Authentic Craftsman Furniture: Instructions and Plans for 62 Projects (Articles from The Craftsman, Edited by Gustav Stickley)" Here is the original drawing from there:
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    The original design was about 42-44" high, and that is what I was working with back then. I have since decided that I wanted it higher, more around 52-54". Consequently, I also wanted to make it a bit wider and deeper as well. (The intent is to give this to a charity auction at church, but the auction isn't guaranteed right now, so I'm trying to build it so that it could also be used as a shelf in my two sons' room.)

    So my modified design looked like this:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And so far I've got the two side assemblies together -- haven't cut out the keyhole yet, maybe tomorrow or Sunday -- and I've also got the five shelves cut out. Looks like this so far:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm building it from reclaimed pine... that'll look good on the auction tag, don't you think? I don't think that I'll actually tell them that it's reclaimed from a waterbed frame that I pulled out of the trash last summer...
    It's been a long time since I worked with pine in such a large fashion. I'd forgotten how light this stuff is. The table saw zips through cuts almost like it isn't there.

    That mess of clamps in the above photo is one of my tweaks that I made to the design as I was building it. I'm a bit concerned about racking, since there is no back on this. So I've glued two pieces along the bottom of the top and bottom shelf, each 1-and-a-half inches tall. I'm counting on that bit of vertical attachment to help stiffen up the whole thing. If you don't get it, just wait a few days until I post more photos.

    If you look at the drawing you see the angle of "88.7" degrees. Not a typo, and yes it was a pain to work with that. That'll teach me to design things this way. When designing, I started in Sketchup with a square "board" that was 12.5" wide by 54" tall, then I thought. Hmm, I want the top to be about 10" wide. So I measured in 1.25" on each side, made some marks, and then drew up my rough sketch on that. This worked great in the drawing program. But that is how I ended up with a silly angle like 88.7 degrees. Next time I should start with a reasonable angle first! That shouldd give me fewer headaches in the shop.

    I know that Stickley/Craftsman doesn't quite make you think of pine. This is a case of just working with what I have on hand. And also a case of treating this a bit like an experiment and learning experience, so I want to use inexpensive materials. And also a bit of "I don't care, it's my design so there".

    I'm waffling on finish. Stickley is usually dark fumed oak. I usually prefer to leave wood to it's natural colour. On this project, I dunno. I'm thinking right now of a fairly reddish tint/stain. Just to be different. (and I like red.) For one thing, I'd rather hide or minimize the knots.

    And that's enough for now.
    Thanks for looking,
    ...art

  2. #2
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    Looking forward to seeing this one though to completion, Art.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
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    Art, I really like the design. I'm going to keep throwing Stickley/Craftsman Style drawings in my wife's face until she actually finds something she likes. Would you be OK with posting the SketchUp file? I'd like to play around with it a bit. And don't worry...if'n I actually make one of these, I'll give you full credit on the design!!

    Also, what type of joinery did you use? M&T? Dowels? Floaters? Bring it, Son!!

    - Keith
    "Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker. "

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Starosta View Post
    Art, I really like the design. I'm going to keep throwing Stickley/Craftsman Style drawings in my wife's face until she actually finds something she likes. Would you be OK with posting the SketchUp file? I'd like to play around with it a bit. And don't worry...if'n I actually make one of these, I'll give you full credit on the design!!

    Also, what type of joinery did you use? M&T? Dowels? Floaters? Bring it, Son!!

    - Keith
    Keith,

    [whine] but if I post the *.skp file, Dave will just download it and tell me all the things I did wrong with it! [end whine]
    Just kidding, I've learned tons from Dave, and have much more to learn also. Fortunately the skp file is just under the file size limit, so it is located below.

    I've really gotten to like using "scenes" in my skp files. Here, scene 1 shows how I first started with a plain square board to represent the side, and then a bunch of horizontal boards to represent the shelves. I used that to figure out the shelf spacing that I wanted, and to tweek that, which is how I ended up with the final height. Next to that is another square board, on which I drew lines to represent the legs, and the horizontal/vertical crosspieces. I don't recommend this, as you end up with oddball angles like that 88.7 degrees I had to try and replicate. Next time I would first start with an angle that makes a bit more sense and work from that.

    Scene two is the full shelf that I then "built" in sketchup. And finally, in scene 3, I duplicated it and took it apart partially, so that I could use the dimension tool to tack on all the dimensions I wanted. I then printed off scene 3 and 2 and took them down to the shop for the actual building.

    (where, like they say in military novels, "no plan survives the first contact with the enemy". But it still gave good guidance and I more or less followed the plan as shown.)

    Speaking of progress. Keith would ask about joinery.



    This is me realizing what a doofus I was. My original intent was to make this a simplified stickley design. So I was NOT going to do any mortise+tenon and I was definitely not doing the through-tusk-tenon of the original inspiration design (See the diagram in a previous post above)

    As an aside... from the drawing above that I took from the Gustav Stickley book, I have NO idea how the middle shelves were attached. The top and bottom used through tusk tenons, as shown in the diagram. But there is no hint at all as to how he attached the intervening shelves. And with all those thin vertical spindles, there really isn't much meat in the carcass for him to work with.

    Anyway. I planned to bash this together using biscuits. Not the strongest joining method in the world, I admit, but certainly strong enough for this. Also, since I was using full 1" thick stock, I would double-biscuit all the joints (two slots one above the other at each biscuit location). And that is what I did for the sides.

    Then comes the part. Then as I had the sides assembled I looked at them and planned how I would cut in the keyhole slots. And the light dawned and I realized that there was just no way on earth that I could attach the shelves to the sides with biscuits. There simply isn't enough wood there. The front and back legs were just 2.75" wide, which is too skinny. The vertical board, at 3" is just wide enough for a biscuit, but the keyhole slot took care of that!

    Anyone else want to admit being 80%+ through a project when realizing that they had made a boneheaded assumption in the project planning phase? I admit this here, so that others can have a laugh and then learn from my mistakes. That's part of what the forum is about, IMHO!

    So, Keith, if I had a Festool Domino, or a Dowelmax, I would have used one of them to attach the sides. As it was, I am forced to fall back on using pocket holes for this. Which I plan to do later this afternoon. Had to pop out to the store to get some pine plugs, and 1-1/2" coarse thread screws (1" thick stock recommends the longer screws).

    Here is the shelf "dry fitted" (just laying there) to give me a look at what it'll be a bit later. Click image for larger version. 

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    ttyl,
    ...art
    Attached Files Attached Files

  5. #5
    Art, thanks for sharing. I think that was really cool of you to do so.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all of the info, Art! I'm going to download the file and play with it this afternoon.

    As far as admitting to a mistake in planning while deep into a project....are you kidding me?! Let he who is free of multiple mistakes through the entire course of a project cast the first handful of sawdust.

    Keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to the final product!!

    - Keith
    "Listen, here's the thing. If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker. "

  7. #7
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    That is going to be really nice Art!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
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    Hi Art ,
    Thanks for having us along on your journey.

    "Mistakes" ( and there have been many) in my life have allowed me to become creative and hopefully better, as they provide opportunities for viewing our projects in unique and different ways. Thanks for sharing all with us. Your project is taking on some real 3-D life to it. Good job!
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  9. #9
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    Looking good so far. I would not tell them where the wood came from, this migth lower there ideal bidding price.

  10. #10
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    This pine has a fair number of knots in it. Most are tight, but some aren't quite so tight. I had two come out on me when I cut through them. I worked around the worst of the knots in the stock, but I had to incorporate quite a few, since I only had so much pine to work with.

    So one thing I've done is to go through all the pieces (before the 150 grit sand cycle) and go around the edge of all the knots that looked even a bit not-tight and apply a dribble of superglue.

    I'm hoping that this bit of work will help prevent any knots from coming out in the future. The 150 grit sanding pass took off any evidence of glue on the surface.

    Anyone else do this on their pieces?

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