Tag Archives: Limbert

Limbert No. 367 Book Case–Construction

This partial pattern contains all the elements of the case sides without the bulk entailed by a full-sized pattern. It also allows the creation of sides of different heights.

This partial pattern contains all the elements of the case sides without the bulk entailed by a full-sized pattern. It also allows the creation of sides of different heights.

Building the No. 367 is straightforward proposition. Dadoes capture the shelf ends and join the case together while the gallery back helps things square. I made a few modifications to the design, altering the depth from 12″ to 11.25″ to use 1″ x 12″ material, and narrowing the case from 30″ to 24″ since I thought it looked better. I also substituted a shiplapped back for the original’s panel. Having decided on a milk painted finish, I chose pine instead of the fumed white oak used in the original. Continue reading

Limbert No. 367 Book Case–Design

Limbert 367 book case

Charles Limbert’s No. 367 book case.

If I were a historian of material culture, I might contemplate the staggering variety of book storage marketed in the early part of the 20th Century and its relationship to an expanding middle class and the rise of mass media. Advancements in printing technology made more books, magazines, and music available to more people, and they could store this material on magazine stands, book racks, book shelves, book cases, etc. Limbert’s Fall 1905 catalogue featured 34 such pieces, from a $4.50 magazine stand to a $54 case with three leaded glass doors. Continue reading

Limbert No. 238 Tabouret


Limbert's No. 238 tabourette reproduced in cherry.

Limbert’s No. 238 tabourette reproduced in cherry.

The original version of this side table sold for $7.00 in Limbert’s 1905 catalog. Like other of Limbert’s best pieces, its design transcends the period, making it a bit of chameleon at home with many styles. The original was built of quartersawn white oak with a fumed finish. I chose to build it in cherry following an article from the November 2003 issue of Popular Woodworking.

The project provides a fine introduction to pattern routing since each leg is identical. The article calls for arranging the rabbeted legs in a pinwheel pattern, which makes for an awkward glue up since the parts want to slip when clamped. If I were building another (easy enough to do with the pattern prepared), I might rabbet both sides of each leg to produce a centered tongue, then assemble in stages, beginning with gluing two opposing legs together and finishing by gluing the remaining legs in the grooves formed by the meeting of the opposed tongues.

I began by selecting the best wood (“best” a relative term for the mediocre stock I had on hand) for the top, gluing it up. I then marked out the legs, cut out rough blanks, and used a bearing bit in the router guided by the pattern to cut the legs to final shape. I sanded through 400 grit, taped off the joints, and applied a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil. After glue up, the top was attached using brackets.

More Information

Model in the Sketchup Warehouse

Popular Woodworking’s Arts & Crafts Furniture (Amazon link) collects some of the magazine’s most popular Arts & Crafts projects, including this tabouret.

Magazine Stand–Background

346 Magazine Shelf

The cutouts and sloping sides of Limbert’s No. 346 Magazine stand distinguish it from more pedestrian offerings from other makers.

The Morris Chair is often regarded as the epitome of Arts & Crafts furniture, but the same argument can be made for the lowly magazine stand. These small shelves featured in the catalogs of most manufacturers and their low prices made them an easily attainable item for households that otherwise might not have been able to afford a piece of Arts & Crafts furniture. The same traits that made them economical for makers to produce also makes them a relatively easy to recreate in the home shop &mdash they use minimal material and simple joinery.

At their most basic, the stands are two sides linked by shelves (usually three or four), often with some kind of toe kick. Variation in the shape of the sides, orientation of the shelves and sides, and how the shelves joined the sides produced a surprising number of variations on the basic theme. Plugged screws, pocket hole screws, dadoes, or tenons can join the shelves to the sides. Using screws or keyed tenons allows the stand to be broken down for storage or transport.

Altering the shape of the sides transforms the character of the shelf. Gustav Stickley’s No. 79 features rectangular sides with a rounded corners at the top. Charles Limbert’s catalogues

Change the shape of the side and transform the character of the stand.

Change the shape of the side and transform the character of the stand.

featured several versions with trapezoidal sides. Limbert’s No. 346 takes the trapezoidal form further, tapering from top to bottom on the sides and faces.

More Information

Popular Woodworking offers a free plan of a simplified version of Stickley’s No. 79.

Gary Rogowski’s “Classic Craftsman Bookcase” (Fine Woodworking No. 136) details construction of a stand with keyed through tenons.

Limbert No. 81 Hall Chair–Construction

The No. 81 Hall Chair.

The No. 81 Hall Chair.

The original design was executed in quartersawn white oak. Because I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep the chair, I chose common pine to create a prototype. Building the prototype afforded the opportunity to  verify my drawings and practice construction, then live with the chair for a while before deciding whether I liked it enough to build a final copy in another wood.

Construction began with gluing up the blanks that would form the seat, sides, and back. The notch at back of the seat is beveled to match the slope of the chair back and to fit the back’s sloping sides. I could have cut things square using a jigsaw or bandsaw, then beveled the notch with chisel and block plane. Instead, I assembled the blank from three pieces, two narrow ones surrounding a middle piece sized to the width of the back where it met the seat. I cut a bevel on that middle piece before assembly, then glued up the blank. While the blanks dried, I cut the apron and stretcher to size.

With the blanks out of the clamps, I laid out the shape of the back and cut close to my layout lines on the bandsaw, then planed things to final size with my No. 7 jointer. To produce the cutout, I drilled out the radiused corners and sawed out the waste with a jigsaw. That approach left a lot of cleanup with rasp and block plane. In retrospect, it would have been a lot easier to throw together a quick template to guide a router.

And that’s the approach I took for the cutouts on the sides after cutting the blanks to final size. The ends need to be beveled to 5 degrees to create the appropriate slope, which I cut on with the table saw set to the appropriate angle. The notch on the base was cut on the bandsaw. After roughing out the cutouts, I attached my template (four pieces of scrap held together with pocket screws), and routed the final shape of the cutouts.

Since I was using a pretty nondescript board, I decided on a finish of black milk paint. I sanded to 180 grit then used a foam roller to apply three coats, lightly sanding with 220 between the first and second coats to remove raised grain. Once the paint was dry, I was ready for assembly.

Like much of Limbert’s slab-sided furniture, the No. 81 was probably dowelled together. Dowels offered an economical way to join angled pieces together in a production environment. For the prototype, I used pocket hole screws. It’s a less-than-ideal joint for something like a chair that can see a lot of abuse, but they let me get the prototype together quickly. I drilled my holes, clamped the sides to the aprons using angled clamping blocks, and screwed the base together. Then I attached the seat followed by the back. On the original chair, the back was screwed to the edge of the seat and to the bottom stretcher and the screw holes plugged with oak buttons. I screwed the back on and plugged the holes, then cut the plugs flush. After some touch up paint around the plugs, I wiped on a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil and some dark paste wax.

The finished chair seems smaller in person, slightly unassuming for such an iconic design. And it’s not especially comfortable (I sometimes cynically wonder if that is intentional, a design meant to hurry guests in or out of the entry way). Rendered in black and divorced from the quartersawn white oak that characterized most Arts & Crafts furniture, it also seems curiously timeless. The lack of color highlights the accomplished use of positive and negative space and the dynamic intersection of angles. In fumed oak, it’s at place in the Arts & Crafts home, but done in maple or teak and it could pass for Danish modern. In black or white, it could pass in an industrial loft. I still haven’t decided if I’ll do a final copy, and if I do, it will be hard to choose what wood and finish to use to give it its character.

Limbert No. 81 Hall Chair–Design

Sketch for Limbert's No. 81  Hall Chair

Sketch for Limbert’s No. 81 Hall ChairThe splayed slab sides and cutouts make the No. 81 hall chair one of Limbert’s most distinctive designs. It featured in several of the company’s booklets during the height of the its Arts & Crafts Production (c. 1905-1912).

Since I’m producing as close a copy as I can in this instance, there are no design requirements to consider. To recreate the chair, I started from known dimensions (45″ h x 14″ w  x 17″ d) and catalog photos, lofting dimensions to determine the measurements for the parts. Having determined dimensions, I created a 3D model in SketchUp. For some projects I’m content to draw a rough design on paper, but a full-sized computer model can show how parts relate to each other. It’s also useful for creating patterns and visualizing how parts fit together, a useful capability when dealing with unusual angles and intersections at play in the hall chair.