Arts and Crafts Magazine Rack with French Inlay Banding

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Project by WhattheChuck posted 06-06-2020 12:29 AM 1308 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this Arts and Crafts magazine rack as a gift to my wife’s Psychoanalysis Mom (whatever exactly that means) who also was kind enough to pay for our wedding reception in Taiwan 10 years ago. Since Psychoanalysis Mom lives in Taiwan, I figured it would go back to Taiwan in a carry-on. As such, the dimensions are the standard Delta carry-on minus an inch in all three dimensions. COVID-19 has all but eliminated such travel to Taiwan, so I suppose now we’ll ship it in a box.

The piece is basically out of my own head, with standard Arts-and-Crafts details that I’d encourage folks to use on their furniture. It’s kind of an architectural piece, with the bevels on top of the columns, arches and stuff, but it looks pretty good. I’d encourage anyone doing this, though, to not be lazy and change out the mirror-finish crosscut blade for any tilted cuts. I didn’t, and you can’t sand out the saw marks. You’ll also take out the crisp edges. It still looks fine, but it bothers that OCD part of my brain. I do count Kevin Rodel as a continuing influence, as well as Greene and Greene styling details. I have to admit I didn’t get into doing the full-on ebony buttons for this thing, so it’s not that Greene-and-Greeney.

The other thing about this piece is that it is assembled almost entirely with Dominos zapped by my Festool Domino 500 jointer. I bought this thing something like 2 years ago, likely in the middle of some depressive midwinter pique, and set it aside as “not worthy.” It bided its time patiently while I glowered at it, and finally, the utilitarian part of my brain said “use it or lose it.” The good news is that I used it, and they really are nice—especially for smaller work. All those little slats had loose tenons cut in them, and they are awesome. I could have done it on the tablesaw, of course, but it was easy.

Using one requires some thought for assembly, as well as the seemingly simply understanding of “make the tenon in the piece tight and the mortise with a little room on the ends.” The tool has a slot width adjustment that can be used if you’re modestly clever (I’m not super-clever myself!) that will make everything go together nice and tight. Making things with it will likely remind you more of those bizarre popsicle stick constructions you made in Presbyterian Bible Camp. But no one will be the wiser, and it really is a slick tool. A big step up from a biscuit joiner, which I also use.

The banding is from my Buffard Freres French inlay banding collection. There was a small defect on one of the strips that I didn’t catch, but oh well. It’s going half a world a way where I won’t have to set around and stare at it. It’s made from my continuing dwindling Dead Man’s Mahoghany (khaya) stash. I call it that because I often buy wood from estate sales, thus cutting the guilt factor on using rainforest wood. I never buy the stuff, but if it’s in someone’s basement, that’s not the same as putting a monkey out of a home. The finish is two coats of Minwax Tung Oil finish, rubbed out with 0000 steel wool.

If were to make this again, I’d make it about 2/3 the longest dimension. But it could also be a nice holder for a knitter in your family. It is the perfect size to store yarn and knitting needles.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

6 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6488 posts in 4051 days

#1 posted 06-06-2020 03:32 AM

Nicely done! I like the details. You do great work. The bit about the popsicle bible camp crafting had my wife and I rolling.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Peteybadboy's profile


3985 posts in 3187 days

#2 posted 06-06-2020 10:37 AM

That is cool. Love it

-- Petey

View BurlyBob's profile


9322 posts in 3503 days

#3 posted 06-06-2020 05:23 PM

Really great looking.

View BburgBoy's profile


78 posts in 1740 days

#4 posted 06-07-2020 12:07 AM

Beautiful craftsmanship. But I suspect that some young people are saying, “What’s a magazine rack?”

-- Larry, SW Virginia

View WhattheChuck's profile


467 posts in 4798 days

#5 posted 06-07-2020 07:59 PM

Larry—ain’t that the truth!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1486 posts in 2530 days

#6 posted 06-28-2020 02:58 AM

Beautiful build
It could be used as a multi function piece.

-- James E McIntyre

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