Cherry Sideboard for my Sister...

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Project by SteveL posted 01-31-2008 11:31 PM 3053 views 14 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This has been in bits and pieces in my shop for about two years now but I completed it just after Christmas. So it was late by two weeks! It is follows Harvey Ellis’ design for Gustav Stickley, though it has modern hardware and lacks the backsplash of the Stickley #802. It is solid Pennsylvania black cherry throughout, excepting drawer sides and runner frame of poplar. Finish is linseed oil, Olympic “merlot” oil stain (Linda’s choice), three coats of thinned Zissner amber shellac, followed by four coats (top has 5) of thinned Minwax brand fast-drying polyurethane. Rubbed out with Butcher’s Amber Wax with 0000 steel wool.

-- SteveL

19 comments so far

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4329 days

#1 posted 01-31-2008 11:47 PM

Another great Stickley! – You did a wonderful thing for your sister and many generations to come!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 3989 days

#2 posted 01-31-2008 11:53 PM

Beautiful finish!....I’m sure she loved it.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4025 days

#3 posted 02-01-2008 12:02 AM

This is a really nice piece of furniture. Cherry is my favorite wood with which to work. The finish is outstanding.
I am glad to see that you are an ardent believer that good craftmanship can’t be rushed. I am sure that your sister appreciated the gift.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3976 days

#4 posted 02-01-2008 12:30 AM

Very nice Steve, I really like the different sizes of dovetails.

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4166 days

#5 posted 02-01-2008 01:10 AM

Well done

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Lakey's profile


97 posts in 3976 days

#6 posted 02-01-2008 01:12 AM

Beautiful finsh – congratulations.

-- "No Board Left Behind"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4364 days

#7 posted 02-01-2008 01:21 AM

oh my this is LOVELY

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1232 posts in 4202 days

#8 posted 02-01-2008 01:36 AM

Wow, very professional looking, gorgeous piece, great finish!

-- Bob A in NJ

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4422 days

#9 posted 02-01-2008 01:50 AM

Great piece! As others have said, the finish is particularly outstanding.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SteveL's profile


174 posts in 3971 days

#10 posted 02-01-2008 03:29 AM

Thanks to all of you for your kind words. Since many of you like the finish, I’ll mention that I’m working in a very dusty basement shop, and so have to use a finishing technique that dries quickly. Jeff Jewett tells about a time he moved his shop and had to reopen for business before construction was finished, and so he developed a technique for wipe-on varnish with paper towels! The finish dries in a few minutes so there’s less chance of capturing a dust particle (or a brush bristle) in your work. The downside is that you’ve got to use lots of coats and after the first two or so, you need about a day of drying time before you can scuff sand the previous coat. I now use the same technique with shellac (thinned to about 1/2 or even 1/4 lb cut).

FW has included his article on this method in their book Traditional Finishing Techniques (available from Taunton Press) or you can search the FW online site for his articles. That said, I preceded the wipe-on varnish with linseed oil (and the stain) and allowed that to soak in a cure for about 10 days. Since I do most of the finishing before assembly, that wasn’t too much of a problem since I could work on other parts as soon as the finished parts were dry to the touch. Those of you with spray booths can shoot and run, but I rather enjoy the traditional process, especially if I can use traditional oil / shellac / wax finishes. Again thanks for your encouragement!

-- SteveL

View Marge's profile


145 posts in 4157 days

#11 posted 02-01-2008 04:59 AM

This piece is awesome. I really like the design of the legs. Is the inside of the leg straight?

-- Marge, Colorado

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4078 days

#12 posted 02-01-2008 10:36 AM

The finish looks wonderful, as does the entire piece. Great job.

View Critterman's profile


600 posts in 4013 days

#13 posted 02-01-2008 04:10 PM

An exceptionally fine piece. Love the color and the finish. Definitely a piece to be very proud of.

-- Jim Hallada, Chesterfield, VA

View SteveL's profile


174 posts in 3971 days

#14 posted 02-01-2008 06:51 PM

Marge, yes the inside of the legs are straight, but the outside is tapered from partway down the side toward both the top and the bottom. The leg cross-section is square at top and bottom, so the middle is a bit wider than it is deep. I don’t have the print here, but I think I started with 2-1/2×1-3/4 and ran all the upper tapers on a taper jig through my table saw, reset the jig and flipped all the legs and did the lower taper. Got 8 nice wide cherry wedges for door stops!

-- SteveL

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

235 posts in 4067 days

#15 posted 02-02-2008 04:16 PM

Isn’t it nice to finally finish that project that has been kicking around the shop for so long. Great looking table I love the design.

-- Kevin

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