Arts & Crafts Night Stands #3: Some Assembly Required...

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Blog entry by CaptainSkully posted 08-26-2009 09:22 AM 2015 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Going Topless... Part 3 of Arts & Crafts Night Stands series Part 4: Sides... »

Today, I took the rough parts and managed to achieve a few dry fits. The first one was to make sure the dadoes and tenons fit. The second one was to see how it looked with the bow cut out of the bottom piece and with the pre-finished panels installed.

A couple of thoughts: be sure your table saw is waxed properly when cutting tenons like this. It helps if you don’t have to use force to push the piece through the saw. I realized I’m already using some of the stuff I learned from watching TheWoodWhisperer’s videos on the “Gadget Station”. Anal retentive grain-matching being one of them.

As my own worst critic, I will say that I could’ve done a better job backing up the cuts to prevent chip-out. To make the night stands match the crappy job I did a year ago with the dresser, tear-out wasn’t an issue. From now on, in order to take things to a higher level, I will be dealing with this issue better.

I finished the panels with two coats of TransTint Reddish Brown #6003. It’s what I used on the bed and dresser, so it’ll complete the set. I might be tempted to go over everything with the Mission Oak gel stain that polymerizes into a relatively tough coat. This should brown it down and “antique” it. That would be a major undertaking, but would assuage my angst over such an immature finish as just aniline dye in alcohol.

The next step is to sand all of the parts, and possibly finish them too. I had problems with wiping the finish on the structure without making a darker section on the panels. I will be sanding these to 220, like I did the others, but from now on, I will be sanding to 150. If you’ve ever felt a 100+ year old Stickley, you can feel the grain. I’d like to go for that tactile faithfulness.

BTW, I beefed up the legs from 3/4 to 1 1/2 (which is where I got my boo-boo). I think this lends a lot of mass to the night stands. I felt it was very successful on the dresser. Why spend so much money and effort on building something with flimsy legs. The way I glued up the legs, you can’t even tell that they’re two pieces of wood.

Here’s where the wax is helpful:

A backer board will help with chipout:

First dry-fit:

Working single-handed:

Second dry-fit:

Notice the labeling (inside, part, etc.):

Alcohol based aniline dye:

All parts need sanding:

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

4 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5070 days

#1 posted 08-26-2009 04:54 PM

That is a nice looking color on the wood. Good idea adding the color before assembly since any shrinkage or movement might reveal unstained wood.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 4335 days

#2 posted 08-26-2009 05:26 PM

Keep it up. You are making good progress. I think that the glazing idea would be a good addition. It brings a good contrast and depth to the finish and highlights the wood. I use the Rockler mission glaze on my pieces.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4529 days

#3 posted 08-26-2009 05:59 PM

Thanks Vince. I’ve got a thread going on the Forums about a Stickley finish. It looks like that Mission Oak glaze will be part of my final answer.

Todd, that trick was actually in the plans, but I noticed that a lot of people are doing it. I think Marc actually mentions putting one coat of clearcoat on the panels too. After cross-cutting the panels, I lost my indicator marks for bookmatching them, but they’re not very figured, so it was no big loss.

Pat (I think we might be related), I got the plans for the bed, dresser, and the night stands from Wood Magazine. I’ve been pretty happy with the plans. They even replaced the copy I lost during the accident. One thing I’ve noticed about these plans is they don’t group similar machining processes together. They focus on building each part as a coherent step. When I’ve got the dado blade setup, I’ll make the dadoes for the sides, doors, drawers, etc. as long as they all use the same setup. In the plans, they make the sides, then a couple of days later have you do the exact same setup to make the doors. I’ve also got several plans from I’m hoping some laminated bow arm Morris chairs are after the dining room suite.

Notice I put the centerlines on (tape at joint) prematurely. I was tired at the end of the day and was thinking of doing the glueups. Then I realized I hadn’t sanded anything but the panels yet. I’ll have to take the tape off, sand all the parts, then relocate the centerlines.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4644 days

#4 posted 09-18-2009 12:59 AM

Nice looking panel.

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