Mission Style or Arts & Craft Style? What's the difference?

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Forum topic by MrMeasureTwice posted 10-19-2011 04:36 AM 1623 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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123 posts in 2391 days

10-19-2011 04:36 AM

Hi LJ Brethren,
So, as I look at different styles, I see that Mission and Arts & Crafts styles are VERY similar.

Wondering if there is some sort of guidelines regarding these two styles? Of course, in woodworking there are few rules, especially when it comes to “style”, but from a more formal stance, I am really wondering what the differences between these two styles.

Here are some images from Google… go figure… see any resemblance with several of them?

Arts & Craft samples...

Mission Style samples...


-- -- Jim “Mr. Measure Twice” Marchetti --

5 replies so far

View StumpyNubs's profile


7579 posts in 2770 days

#1 posted 10-19-2011 04:50 AM

Arts and Crafts was the traditional term for “Craftsman” furniture applied at the turn of the last century. It is a type of furniture that emphasizes the craftsmanship, especially the joinery and most often is simple construction. The early Arts & Crafts masters believed in function first, durability second, style third.

Mission is a modernized version that mimics the old Arts and Crafts style. It doesn’t always highlight the joinery as much as the clean lines.

Many people use the terms interchangeably.

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View MrMeasureTwice's profile


123 posts in 2391 days

#2 posted 10-19-2011 04:59 AM

Thanks Stumpy! Perfect & simple explanation that I actually understand.

-- -- Jim “Mr. Measure Twice” Marchetti --

View ShaneA's profile


6912 posts in 2568 days

#3 posted 10-19-2011 05:15 AM

Stumpy is bringing the knowlege today! I saw another forum topic you posted today, that was also very insightful. Thanks for the info, I usually think of them as interchangeable, but the emphasis on the joinery is an excellent point.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2921 days

#4 posted 10-19-2011 01:18 PM

I should point out that the term “mission style” is not a relatively recent way of pointing to the Arts and Crafts movement, however. It was first used in the late nineteenth century and refers to furniture influenced by the Spanish missions in California. Technically speaking, “arts and crafts” and “mission style” are not synonymous, but to most people they are seen as synonymous, which is why I tend to use both labels on my projects. From what I gather, Gustav Stickley (the most important figure in American craftsman furniture) wasn’t particularly fond of the term.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3714 days

#5 posted 10-19-2011 02:03 PM

Mission is also recognized by the numerous square spindles that are incorporated into nearly every piece of furniture. The A & C furniture doesn’t use this feature much, and is a little more “refined”.

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