Mission Furniture You Can Build : Authentic Techniques and Designs for the Home Woodworker

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by: John Wagner

Topics include: upper back rail, true tenon, two base pieces, lower cross bars, upper cross bar, diameter dowel holes, lower back rail, attaching the tabletop, blind tenons, inch wood screws, mortising bit, slat mortises, inch oak, biscuit joining, oak stock, doweling jig, fuming process, paste filler, end cross bars, tenon length, routed slot, dust panels, mortising jig, shoulder measurement, tenoning jig

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Book Description The Dramatic rise in Popularity of Mission Furniture has made it increasingly difficult to find. And more often than not, those pieces that are available also have enormous prices attached to them. Making your own Mission-style furniture provides not only a relatively economical way to have Mission furniture in your home, but also the satisfaction of building an authentic replica of a valuable period piece. Throughout the book, explicit photographs and abundant line drawings accompany clear and carefully explained instructions. The opening chapters lay the groundwork for selecting the right wood, assembling the required tools, and understanding the necessary skills for building each of the ten projects that follow. The woodworker with intermediate skills should be able to tackle any of the pieces with confidence and successful results. And the beginning woodworker, by starting with less demanding pieces, can develop valuable skills.


Not the best book of mission furniture: After reading Blair Howard's "Arts and Crafts Furniture", I was expecting a lot from this book and it didn't deliver. I agree with all of Donald Thomson's complaints above. The joinery seemed questionable and he took short cuts I would not have made. Additionally, I felt his pieces lacked the elegance that the better mission designs have, both by Stickley and by others. However, the book is very detailed and easy to follow, so it should be easy for a beginning woodworker to follow. Joining boards and cutting mortices appeared to be the most advanced things he ever did, and he avoided cutting mortice and tenon joints whenever possible.

Recommended with Reservations: This book included chapters on Gustav Stickley, joinery and woodworking techniques, wood finishing and upholstery. The heart of the book is ten projects, complete with large color photos. They range from a hall mirror to a Morris chair. Some designs may be original, one is from Popular Mechanics' Mission Furniture, How to Make It, and the rest seem to be based upon articles from Stickley's The Craftsman magazine. Not surprisingly, since most of the general designs are based on Stickley, they are on the whole quite attractive. They are simplified versions of production designs, and were originally meant for the home woodworker. Unlike the reproduction book Making Authentic Craftsman Furniture, there is a wealth of detail and all of the pieces have a place in the modern home. The author has included two pieces that I call Neo-Craftsman: a coffee table and a hall or foyer magazine table. The engineering of the pieces, beneath the facade, may cause some problems. In particular, Mr. Wagner seems to be unaware of the problems that seasonal wood movement can cause when large panels are tightly secured. For instance, his coffee table top is doweled in place. I should be mentioned that the author is very fond of using dowels EVERYWHERE in the furniture. He even uses them to assemble drawers. I recommend this book, with reservations. Like most similar books, you must have a shop full of power tools, and be familiar with their use, so it really is not for the complete novice. Knowledge of doweling and making mortises and tenons is a must, and it seems that one would have to have a jointer and a planer (or be accomplished with the hand tool equivalents) for the majority of the projects. There are a wealth of exploded drawings of the parts, but they are poorly drawn. I suspect that the illustrator Ms. Barbara Smullen is not a draftsman or a woodworker. Some of the perspectives are drawn wrong, and one would think that some tenons are haunched when they are not. However, all of the measurements seem to be correct, so one can go by them. Note For The Advanced Woodworker: It is useful to see completed pieces from the Stickley book. I don't like some of Wagner's joinery techniques, but you can use proper tabletop fasteners and can properly dovetail the drawers, etc. Another thing he has done is skip tenon shoulders for some spindles - I guess to make construction easier. Of course, then the edges of the mortises have to be perfect. One odd thing that I noticed in the photos is that he doesn't seem to use quartersawn oak anywhere. I wonder whether this book was a project assigned by a publisher...

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