Matching Misson-style tabourets

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Project by kordwood posted 02-12-2012 12:23 AM 2643 views 17 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had never built two identical pieces before, so when it came time to make a coffee table for our great room, I thought why not make two smaller tables instead? It makes the room much more flexible.

I’ve always been a fan of both Charles Limbert and the Roycrofters, and I knew that both had produced tabouret tables back in the day, so I drew on them as inspiration. Both tables have been reissued by Stickley. Click the links to see.

Limbert's tabouret is square and boxy, with large holes carved in the sides. Those holes are acknowledged in the small 4-square pattern in the top stringers.

The Roycroft tabouret gave me the inspiration for the sturdy angles. There’s a hefty influence from antique Japanese furniture as well.

My tables stand about 18 inches tall; the tops are 16 inches square. The legs are angled at about seven degrees on all four sides. One design detail that I’m particularly proud of is that the tops and bottoms of the stringers on my piece run parallel to the floor. It made it much trickier to make, but gives the final work a smarter look. All tenons are doweled for added strength.

Both tops are cut from the same long piece of quartersawn, spliced right down the middle, and configured in such a way as to read as one piece when the tables are placed end-to-end. I was lucky enough to have a piece that had beautiful figure.

Finish is the same Jeff Jewitt recipe that I’ve used before—why mess with success, right? Follow the link, then click on Stickley Mission Finish (pdf download) to get the instructions. I haven’t been able to photograph the color with much success, but first picture is pretty true.

These are the first pieces I was able to brand using the iron my wife bought me for Christmas in 2010. I designed the mark myself, which is also an homage to the Roycrofters. The brand is in the middle of the underside of the tops.

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

15 comments so far

View CanalboatJim's profile


197 posts in 2596 days

#1 posted 02-12-2012 12:47 AM

I love your tables. Great craftsmanship. My wife had a similar idea and I couldn’t quite picture it. I can now see what she had in mind. This just got added to my to-do list.

-- Jim Westbrooks

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2647 days

#2 posted 02-12-2012 01:21 AM

you’ve done a really super job on the tables. The wood is just beautiful and the construction is flawless

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View Branlon's profile


44 posts in 2562 days

#3 posted 02-12-2012 01:30 AM

Thanks for sharing the project and the photos.

-- Branlon, Board Director, South Central Indiana

View a1Jim's profile


113833 posts in 2668 days

#4 posted 02-12-2012 01:38 AM

I really like these tabourets ,very nice work ,I’m a fan of the Limbert and roycrafters too.

-- Custom furniture

#5 posted 02-12-2012 03:07 AM

View Martyroc's profile


2708 posts in 1397 days

#6 posted 02-12-2012 03:36 AM

Both of them came out very nice, I see in the pictures about what you wrote how the tops flow when put together, absolutely gorgeous.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Mork's profile


185 posts in 1866 days

#7 posted 02-12-2012 05:50 AM

Very cool! I followed some of these design elements in a chest of drawers, dresser and two nightstands. I love the Arts and Crafts look… very nice.

View StumpyNubs's profile


6592 posts in 1891 days

#8 posted 02-12-2012 02:40 PM

Those are just beautiful! Thanks for posting!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
Blue Collar Woodworking? FINALLY, a woodworking show for us morons! ” -The Hoboken Evening Review

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' premiere online publications:

View CaptainSkully's profile


1246 posts in 2649 days

#9 posted 02-12-2012 03:34 PM

Magnificent! Excellent hybrid design & execution. I’ve been wanting to try Jewitt’s recipe. Thanks for the inspiration. I wouldn’t mind a better shot of your brand. I’ve been thinking about getting one made.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View kordwood's profile


29 posts in 2842 days

#10 posted 02-12-2012 03:42 PM

Thanks for the compliments, everybody! If I ever master SketchUp, I’ll make a retroactive plan and post it here (but I wouldn’t hold my breath … this was drawn up on a scrap of paper). CaptainS, I hope to make a blog post about the brand … it’s really added to the heirloom notion of my furniture. Stay tuned!

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

View Tombombadill's profile


36 posts in 1764 days

#11 posted 02-12-2012 06:46 PM

Fantastic tabouretes!

View groovy_man_6's profile


148 posts in 2091 days

#12 posted 02-13-2012 04:12 PM

I’m such a sucker for arts and crafts style… I LOVE IT… excellent job.

View tbone's profile


267 posts in 2775 days

#13 posted 02-13-2012 09:57 PM

Very nice, kordwood.
You should check out some of Rennie Mackintosh’s furniture. He’s a Scottish architect and furniture designer that pre-dates the American Arts and Crafts movement by a few years.
The finish on those tabourets knocks me out. I’m an old-school white oak fumer myself, but this gets me to thinking about Jewitt’s method.

Keep it up.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View kordwood's profile


29 posts in 2842 days

#14 posted 02-14-2012 12:54 AM

Thanks for the suggestion, tbone … familiar with Mackintosh, although he does bear further study. In fact, we were about a foot away from a small chair of his at a recent trip to MoMA! That was pretty sweet.

The other guy I have a real admiration for is Harvey Ellis, architect and designer for Gustav Stickley. He died in 1904 after only about 9 months at the company, but his light and elegant design touch was very much in the spirit of Mackintosh. I think had he lived, Gustav’s stuff (and American A&C in general) would have been a little less blocky.

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

View hickeymad's profile


158 posts in 2101 days

#15 posted 12-04-2013 03:44 PM

super nice design. Very inspirational!

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