Stickley Fireside Bench

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Forum topic by thefrozenwoodworker posted 02-20-2016 06:28 PM 393 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 1352 days

02-20-2016 06:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: fireside bench joinery question design

I’m trying to determine the nature of the joinery between the legs and the seat of the original stickley fireside bench. They are very interesting, there appears to be a very subtle splay to the legs as well which is tricky to reproduce. Unfortunately, I don’t have an actual bench to flip over, and I am trying to determine features based on the photos I can find. It has two stretchers, one is a keyed tenon at the bottom, and there is a single stretcher at the top. One description I found states “tongue and groove” joinery, though I’m not clear what they are referring to or how that would be used in this configuration, unless it is more of a thin tenon or similar to breadboard ends inserted into the seat. I have made a similar trial copy and there really isn’t adequate lateral support without some sort of deeper joinery between the seat and the legs, but I cannot determine what was used on the original. I’m hoping someone here has some insight or perhaps has seen or even repaired one of these benches. Thanks for your help!

2 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


2538 posts in 1678 days

#1 posted 02-21-2016 12:14 AM

Frozen, I can’t be sure from the pictures I saw, but it might be that the legs sit in an angled dado. Even if some different joinery was used, I think that an angled dado would work if the top was of adequately thick stock. HTH

-- Art

View CaptainSkully's profile


1407 posts in 2979 days

#2 posted 02-21-2016 01:35 AM

Hey TFW,

That’s a very nice piece. I agree with Art with a small difference. A stopped square, dado underneath the top is common when Stickley used splayed legs. The legs are splayed somewhere in the neighborhood of 2° – 3° off square. It appears that the legs do not pierce the plane of the top, which dictates the rest of the design. With a properly fit angled tenon on the top of the legs with a proper setback, there’s so much glue surface that you won’t need any fasteners. The rest of the assembly holds itself together and reinforces the structure. Art is also correct that the tops are usually at least 5/4. HTH too…

P.S. It’s always helpful to post a pic of what you’re talking about to make sure we’re all on the same page.

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

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