Monthly Archives: July 2013

An Arts & Crafts TV Stand–Construction

Arts and Crafts TV stand

The reverse tapered legs, overhanging top, and stepped arch on the bottom rail place this TV stand in the West Coast Arts and Crafts style.

The stand is essentially a case bookended by two face frames, with the frames’ stiles extending below the bottom rail to form legs. I began by cutting the side top and bottom rails to size and using a slot cutter to rout a 1/2″ deep x 1/4″ wide groove in one edge of each rail. I then cut side panels from some 1/2″-inch plywood and routed a rabbet along the short edges of the panel. I like to pre-finish my projects when I can, and I took that approach here. After sanding through 250 grit, I wiped a coat of boiled linseed oil onto the side components and followed with a couple of coats of blonde shellac, then wet sand to 400 grit.  With the finish in place, I glued the tongues on the plywood panels to rabbets on the rails. To finish the box, I cut the bottom and top panels from 1/2″ plywood, finished them, then attached them to the side using loose tenons.

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Blue, Yellow, Brown: A Little Touch Up Painting

Stripping paint.

Scraping and sanding reveals previous coats of paint and the milling marks on cedar siding.

I spent much of the holiday weekend scraping, sanding, and painting the clapboards on the south side of the  house and had plenty of time to contemplate life’s profundities, questions like “At what point does “shuffle” become indistinguishable from “repeat” on even a long playlist?” and “Who spackles square feet of exterior surfaces?” Most on my mind, though, was this: is there any home improvement task less rewarding than freshening paint? Do the crews painting the Golden Gate feel satisfaction when they finish a coat, or just despair when they have to begin again immediately? Certainly there are worse jobs–anything involving waste lines, for example. But done well, the prep, priming, and painting produce an effect almost indistinguishable from the point where you began. There’s no peeling or fading, but there isn’t the drama of a new color. Continue reading

An Arts & Crafts TV stand — design

TV stand

Sketch for a tv stand.

If design is about solving problems, then the problem I was attempting to solve with this design for a minimal tv stand was that of grasping hands. The knobs and buttons of my home theater components were proving irresistible to my toddler son, and I wanted to replace my existing stand–a wide, Shaker-ish piece with open shelves–with something smaller and enclosed. Continue reading

Stickley at the Met

A keyed through tenon anchors stretchers to legs in this library table by Gustav Stickley

A keyed through tenon anchors stretchers to legs in this library table by Gustav Stickley

Gustav Stickley is perhaps the most famous name in the American Arts & Crafts movement. Certainly he was its greatest proponent, extolling the virtues and benefits of the movement in the pages of The Craftsman. The clean lines, visual mass, and joinery as ornament Stickley championed are evident in the pieces featured in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection. On display in gallery 743 are a small sideboard, tall clock, and leather-covered library table, and the museum’s viewable storage features a Harvey Ellis-designed music case. Continue reading