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Project Information

For my first trick, I present my efforts to build Kevin Rodel's Arts & Crafts Coffee Table from FWW for a good friend. Though I would not consider Arts/Craft furniture to fit my own style, I found this piece to be very aesthetically pleasing, and great fun to build. The bevel elements carry nicely throughout the table, and i think it can hold its own in a more modern room as well.

Made of mostly Rift Sawn white oak, with some QS in there as well, though the figure is very subdued.
Mortise and Tenons throughout. The through tenons are also wedged.

The gridwork center stretcher is joined to the side assemblies via a half-lap.

The breadboard ends are secured via 3 screws. The lateral holes in the breadboard are slotted. 5/8" (3/4" maybe) dowels were driven into the top prior to cutting the tenon. They provide a nice cross-grain bite for the screws which would otherwise be heading straight into end grain. Well worth the extra effort, in my opinion! They will never be seen, but I feel better knowing the table will outlive me.

I attempted to mimic the general steps of Jeff Jewitt's Mission finishing technique. I made many mistakes, and though the finish is not an exact match, I'm pleased overall for my first attempt. My finishing schedule looked something like:

Pre-raise grain with water
Sand back with 220
GF Medium Brown Dye Stain
Sand with 320
Wash coat of SealCoat
Light sanding with a green abrasive pad
GF Antique Walnut Gel Stain
GF Arm-r-Seal (4 coats top / 2 coats base)

The main mistake was the GF Medium Brown Dye is not at all comparable to the recommended mix of TransTint's medium brown. I did prepare a test board, but the overall small size of the test piece downplayed the color difference, which was must more stark when the stain hit the top. In the end, it still works, but the undertone was darker than planned. Live and learn!

Also, in lieu of ebony for the end plugs, I used some small bits of teak that i had in the shop. The contrast was perfect pre-finish. Ebony would have popped more, but I do think the subtle difference in grain and color of the teak after the stain is still nice.

I found that regardless of style, building a Mission piece affords so many great lessons on layout, joinery, and finishing. I've already been sifting through the Stickley cataloge hunting for my next project …




443 Posts
Very nicely done, love the beveled accents. For the Stickley purist he preferred natural finishes that brought out the beauty of the wood rather than adding color. If you are looking for Arts and Crafts Stickley plans I am uploading a series of 30 articles which he published in the "Craftsman" magazine between 1901 and 1916. Lots of plans and info. they are on my site at the address in my signature.

11,327 Posts
That is fantastic and I totally agree that the beveled accents really accentuate the table. You did a wonderful job.

1,636 Posts
Wow! For a first project post, you totally nailed it! This is my style and on my list of things to make (once I can convince my wife that any furniture with a corner won't send my 3 year old son to the ER). Another great thing that you did was share your build experience and your finish recipe. I usually have to ask for that. Thanks again and look forward to more of your contributions.