Stickley Ottoman (first project)

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Project by MikeB posted 12-08-2010 03:50 AM 2155 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first real project (I’m not counting a small plywood box that began as an attempt to building case with a single drawer, originally designed for holding CDs – a chest of drawer, if you will), a Stickley style ottoman. It uses mortise and tenon joinery, is supposed to be constructed of white oak, and I think was a good choice for a first project – a stretch, but not so great an overreach that I would be overwhelmed and dispirited.

The first two pictures are of the final product or Ottoman 2.0 as I liked to call it. It is made from mahogany, finished with Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner then stained with Minwax Wood Finish – English Chestnut, a single coat on the legs, two on the rails as they were lighter than the legs and from different stock.

The third picture is Ottoman 1.0, built using white oak, shortly before I ruined it beyond repair. I had postponed putting bevels on the legs, requiring me to either not bevel the tops or do it by hand. I did it by hand and by the fourth leg, I had lost my patience and, short of putting a brass cap on the leg top, turned an ottoman frame into kindling (I tried to cut the leg top flush with the top rails with a dovetail saw, but because of the reinforcement on the top edge of the saw, it put the cut on an angle… ).

Unsurprisingly, but quite gratifyingly, the second time through was much easier and the build quality much higher. My mortise and tenon technique is still lousy – I usually make the tenons slightly too big for the mortise and then hack away at the tenon until its too loose and dangles in the now cavernous mortise. But with good ol’ Titebond III, it’s a pretty solid piece. I messed up on the second one as well, cutting one of the legs too short accidentally (and, of course, after I had already cut the four mortises). But because I had bought antique brass casters, I just cut the rest of the legs down to the same height and the net change was a 1/8” less.

I tried to upholster the thing myself. But after an evening with a staple gun, muslin, batting, and foam, I produced a cushion that looked more like cellulite than furniture. For $80, I got an upholsterer to do it properly. The fabric only cost me $8 and it’s really nice.

So, now I’m on to my second project. A bookcase I think. :)

3 comments so far

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3929 days

#1 posted 12-08-2010 04:11 AM

Mike, It looks good. A nice first project. Good way to make the save by using the casters, turn a bug into a nice feature.
Hope to see some more, good luck with the bookcase.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Ben 's profile


163 posts in 3358 days

#2 posted 12-08-2010 05:01 AM

Great job. It’s pretty cool that you used mortise & tenon joinery on your first project. Looks great!

View sras's profile


4795 posts in 3123 days

#3 posted 12-09-2010 04:49 AM

Nice looking project! I like the detail on the top of the legs. You are off to a great start!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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