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Michael Pekovich inspired Stickley Arts and Crafts Display Case

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Project by revanson11 posted 08-29-2015 06:28 PM 2761 views 12 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My client (wife) let me know that she wanted a new cabinet for our family room to display and store items. She happened to see a picture of Michael Pekovich’s Arts and Crafts Display Case in an issue of FWW and pointed at it and said “that’s it”. I ordered a set of plans and shared the the dimensions with her and she decided that it was too short and wanted another 6” of height. With that I decided to increase the doors by 6” and the associated cabinet. This project took me over 2 1/2 months to complete (I am not a full time woodworker). I tried to follow Pekovich’s design as far as using QSWO, antique hardware and the finishing process. I soon realized that this was going to be a beast to work with as far as weight. This was my first attempt at thru tenons and in this case there are multiple per shelf so spacing needed to be exact. I thoroughly enjoyed the milling process in making all of the parts but not so much in the finishing.

I decided to try out the ammonia fuming process that Pekovich used. I built an enclosure from some scrap wood and covered it with poly. I ended up fuming the wood for about 10-12 hours, until is had slightly darkened. So far so good. I had never used shellac before but decided to go for broke and give it a try. Needless to say there were a lot of four letter words being said as I tried to get a smooth, even layer of shellac down. It seemed like no matter what I tried I couldn’t get a nice finish. Thank goodness that alcohol would easily wipe it off so I could try again. After a couple of tries of application and removal I could see that the oak was taking on a nice color from the garnet shellac after I removed most of the layer that I had just put on. So, I then gave it two coats of Waterlox like Pekovich but was still not real happy with the final color. So, once again I followed Pekovich’s model and melted together some brown shoe polish with some past wax for a final rub out. Now we’re talking. This wax mixture gave the case a wonderful rich brown color and I couldn’t be happier.

When I looked at doing the glass panels for the doors I weighed the pros and cons of doing it myself or having a local glass artisan do the work. Fortunately we have a glass artist in a near by town. His name is Greg Rosenberg and he owns the Shining Light Studio in Brainerd MN http://shininglightstudio.com. After meeting with Greg and seeing his quality of work I decided to let him use his artistry to design the panels for the cabinet doors. His design departs from what Pekovich did but it certainly adds a touch of flair. Greg was fun to work with and let me know that he was a fan of Gustav Stickley furniture. I did follow Pekovich’s selection of hardware from the hand made door and drawer pulls to the antique brass hinges. All in all this project tested my abilities.

-- Randy, Central MN





15 comments so far

View sras's profile

sras

4391 posts in 2589 days


#1 posted 08-29-2015 08:24 PM

Beautiful! Good call on the glass – it really finishes the piece.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View MyHogany's profile

MyHogany

70 posts in 897 days


#2 posted 08-29-2015 08:40 PM

Methinks you passed the test! Beautiful work and an artists eye in making the changes your wife desired. I’ve been wanting to do a piece like this and now you’ve inspired me to delve into it.

I love shellac but I dilute it heavily and spray on briskly. On a warm clear day I can get 4 or 5 layers done with extremely light sanding between the layers with at least double the sandpaper grade. (for 220 I use 400 – for 320 I use 600) . It’s easy to give it a french polish for two or three top coats after that without having to worry about having great skills in the method. Lately though I’ve taken to a BLO/MS/oil based poly equal amounts blend. I wipe on, let sit 5 minutes and wipe off then repeat every two days or so.

One idea you may want to try on future pieces is something I do on all my furniture is I start developing the dyes (if I’m using one) and the finish from day one of the build with extra pieces or off cuts. By the time I’m ready to finish the actual piece, I’ve done all my experimentation and know exactly what I’m going to get once I’m done.

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5042 posts in 2607 days


#3 posted 08-29-2015 10:11 PM

That’s a beautiful A&C display case! You did a nice job with the fuming—the tint looks to be exactly right! I’m sure your wife is very happy with it!

-- Dean

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2561 posts in 1717 days


#4 posted 08-29-2015 11:08 PM

Randy, this is an outstanding piece. I especially like the doors. You should be very proud and have one very happy client.

-- Art

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

292 posts in 1808 days


#5 posted 08-30-2015 12:17 PM

First of all, great piece!!!

I’m building the same display cabinet using the same plans. Rather than QSWO, I’m using cherry. I haven’t gotten far enough along to settle on a finish but I think I will stay away from the shellac. I don’t usually follow plans for much more than the dimensions. Did you use the template for the side panels? Any other tips on assembly?

I think your door panels make the piece. I’m still looking for someone local that can help me with the glass. Brainerd is a bit of a drive.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Scott's profile

Scott

150 posts in 2432 days


#6 posted 08-30-2015 12:28 PM

Very nice!

View revanson11's profile

revanson11

92 posts in 1793 days


#7 posted 08-30-2015 01:10 PM

EarlS, yes I did use the template for the side panels. I used some 1/2” MDF I had lying around and just added 6” between the bottom shelf and the second shelf from the top. Using the template for the curves on the top was also why it made sense to me.

-- Randy, Central MN

View david38's profile (online now)

david38

2499 posts in 1803 days


#8 posted 08-30-2015 02:18 PM

beautiful piece

View htl's profile

htl

2170 posts in 619 days


#9 posted 08-30-2015 03:41 PM

You did such a nice job.
And the glass just adds to your work.

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

View CL810's profile (online now)

CL810

3440 posts in 2448 days


#10 posted 08-30-2015 06:24 PM

Great work!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4852 posts in 2273 days


#11 posted 08-30-2015 07:23 PM

The whole project came out just great. If you struggled with the finish, it doesn’t show. I like the shape and proportions of your version, and the glasswork is a perfect compliment.

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

View Mork's profile

Mork

266 posts in 2235 days


#12 posted 08-31-2015 03:02 AM

Very impressive. I have some white oak and had thought about building the same. The glass doors are amazing… how did you get this effect? I’ve tried fuming before but I could never get the dark color I wanted…. Okay, I have got to ask, “How did you stain the dovetails (or darken the oak) without darkening the drawer sides?”

I built a dresser and chest of drawers and it would have been nice to maintain the contrast like you did.

Also… I built a A&C picture frame and got pretty close to dark fuming with stain and polyurethane. I had to mix stain. I wish I wrote down what I mixed!

View revanson11's profile

revanson11

92 posts in 1793 days


#13 posted 08-31-2015 12:47 PM



Very impressive. I have some white oak and had thought about building the same. The glass doors are amazing… how did you get this effect? I ve tried fuming before but I could never get the dark color I wanted…. Okay, I have got to ask, “How did you stain the dovetails (or darken the oak) without darkening the drawer sides?”

I built a dresser and chest of drawers and it would have been nice to maintain the contrast like you did.

Also… I built a A&C picture frame and got pretty close to dark fuming with stain and polyurethane. I had to mix stain. I wish I wrote down what I mixed!

Mork, I sprayed the Birch drawer sides and bottom with rattle can lacquer before gluing them together with the drawer front. I wrapped tape on the inside of the tails to keep them from getting coated to make sure the glue would stick. The oak front was also finished before assembly with care given to keep it out of the joints. I was also careful when I glued it all together to make sure that the sides and front fit together smoothly so I didn’t need to sand through the finish.

- Mork


-- Randy, Central MN

View SOG's profile

SOG

10 posts in 836 days


#14 posted 08-31-2015 03:24 PM

An (almost) identical cabinet is on sale at IKEA for $99. They use MDF fumed heavily with formeldahyde, make the doors with polycarbonate and, of course, spray on a coat of white paint. Other than that, it’s a match.

Seriously, I am in awe of your expertise.

View jeffwedekind's profile

jeffwedekind

139 posts in 2152 days


#15 posted 09-16-2015 09:02 PM

Just WOW

-- Jeff, eastern Wa

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