Harvey Ellis Magazine Cabinet

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Project by StickleyStyle posted 07-19-2009 01:51 AM 3882 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project is my second magazine stand/cabinet. This one again is a copy of a Stickley produced piece, circa early 1900s. This one was designed by one of the furniture designers who worked for Stickley for several years, Harvey Ellis. My copy is made from the traditional species for this style of furniture design, quarter sawn white oak, and is mostly complete, with the exception of the finish. I’m going to experiment with some more techniques before I commit to applying a finish to this piece. Now that I just joined this website one of my first tasks will be to explore other woodworkers experiences with Mission type finishes. I’ve already been told there is some great information contained here on that subject.

As for this piece I got the dimensions from More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture, Robert W. Lang. The book is very good in accurately providing the required dimensions for any of the pieces described. The builder is left to his own expertise when it comes to specific construction details. I always try to retain the spirit of what Stickley espoused regarding quality construction. I always use mortise and tenon type jointery and refrain from using fasteners with the exception that I see no better way to attach furniture tops than with table irons. If you look at some of the pictures I’ve included, you’ll see I have a tendency to get carried away sometimes with some of the jointery techniques. Yes I think the way I ended up attaching the shelves to the vertical sides is a little over the top, but since there is no back on this piece, so no method of resisting racking, I decided to make these joints sufficiently strong. The nice thing about mortise and tenon jointery is you can pre-assemble the piece and it will stay together with no glue, maybe a piece of painter’s tap here and there, so you don’t have to wait to complete the finishing process to admire your work: that is, I don’t assemble until I have applied the finish. That way I don’t have to contend with excess glue ruining my finish in some not so obscure locations.

11 comments so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3892 days

#1 posted 07-19-2009 02:08 AM

Great looking stand, super build

-- John @

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3971 days

#2 posted 07-19-2009 02:39 AM

Very nice project.

View a1Jim's profile


117909 posts in 4184 days

#3 posted 07-19-2009 02:45 AM

Looks great, interesting use of loose tenons.


View SteveL's profile


177 posts in 4376 days

#4 posted 07-19-2009 02:59 AM

This will turn out to be a very nice reproduction. Your use of floating tenons solves a problem in the design as documented by Lang. Perhaps I’ll build one of these someday and if I do, I’ll go to school on your technique!

-- SteveL

View Dusty56's profile


11856 posts in 4295 days

#5 posted 07-19-2009 04:21 PM

That QSWO is absolutely gorgeous ! The whole piece is very well made and your joinery technique is a great idea : ) I can’t wait to see the finished piece !

jointery n. command shared between two or more branches of military; (hence) military command shared between two or more nations. Subjects: English, United Kingdom, Military, Jargon

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View CaptainSkully's profile


1612 posts in 4166 days

#6 posted 07-19-2009 07:06 PM

Very nice! Your house is going to be quite well decorated if you keep this up. I’m in the middle of making a Limbert lamp table #240. Thanks for reminding me to finish before assembly (unless I fume it). I’ve used loose tenon joinery before. I think it’s a quite elegant solution. I’m thinking about using a sliding dovetail on something just so you can see it. I also like the figure eights for the table top. They keep the top on and lets the wood move. I’m still looking for my favorite finish too. Keep up the good work.

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

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3875 days

#7 posted 07-20-2009 01:49 PM

wow im actually right in the middle of making plans to build this exact same magazine shelf. i got my plans from april 2003 popular woodworking magazine. only difference is they used rails down at the bottom on each side about 6 inches below the panels

while drawing it up in sketchup i realized that the way its built seems like it could be a problem since the sides are made from solid wood and there is no account for movement. the shelves are attached with dados so i guess if you didnt glue the shelves in place it might work but id still be worried about it. will the loose tenons as you used fix this problem? i was thinking about switching to plywood side panels to fix the problem

View StickleyStyle's profile


73 posts in 3843 days

#8 posted 07-20-2009 03:18 PM

Based on several comments, I guess I need to clarify something; the floating tenons will only be floating unti I glue the whole thing up. After I cut all the dados and shelves to length I became concerned i did not have enough penetration into the side panels to resist much moment. The only element resiting racking are the little stretchers across the top and bottom. The splines or floating tenons were an after thought to get a better connection at these points, not to allow for differential seasonal movement between the side panels and the shelves. Because the grain on these goes the same direction, I’m going to assume these will move together.
As for the elimination of the stretcher at the far bottom as you mentioned, Mike. I did that for the very reason you mentioned; I did not know how to account for movement across the side panels and still retain the bottom piece without just leaving it completely loose and at that point it’s inclusion would have been purely esthetic. The other option would have been plywood construction which I like to avoid on these reproduction pieces, and besides, I can’t find QSWO plywood where I live. I would have had to had the sheets custom made.

To all that have posted comments: Thanks so much for all the accolades. It’s a good feeeling when your peers comment positively on your hard work!

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3875 days

#9 posted 07-20-2009 04:24 PM

you are most likely right about the shelves and sides moving at the same rate i hadnt thought about that. in my sketchup drawing i also eliminated the bottom stretchers because of the wood movement problem. i wish knew how to post a picture and i could show it if anyone wanted to see it

View hardwoodflooring's profile


202 posts in 3805 days

#10 posted 12-02-2009 06:21 PM

nice looking magazine rack.

-- hardwood, South Carolina,

View DalyArcher's profile


138 posts in 1727 days

#11 posted 01-21-2020 10:01 PM

I really like the gentle curve in the top stretcher. Great piece

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