I am in the process of building a Stickley 913 replica dresser like the ones show in these links:
I am nearly ready to assemble the case but I find myself obsessing over how to attach the top. My version uses solid sides and a solid top so movement should be similar. The reason the top attachment is tricky is because there is no upper web frame in this design. I am currently considering three options.
1. Use plain old steel corner brackets like these http://www.marlinwire.com/sheet-metal-fabrication/steel-brackets/angle-brackets.htm. I would inset them into the side and top so they don’t protrude. This would allow the use of lots of screws. Also, should anything happen between now and say 200 years from now, the top could be reattached in a similar way. I realize this is not very elegant but it could be very strong and easy to repair.
2. Use pocket screws as shown in this image by TreeFrogFurniture: http://treefrogfurniture.blogspot.com/2008/04/stickley-913-harvey-ellis-dresser-part20.html
This makes me nervous in terms of really long term durability. I’m imagining some future boyfriend of a granddaughter yanking the top off the screws when trying to load it into the trunk of a car. If something catastrophic like that happened it would be very difficult to repair and I might not be around to do it.
3. Use loose tenon joinery through the top and into the top of the legs. This would allow me to use a through tenon like those on my Morris chairs. That detail would not be in agreement with the original Harvey Ellis design of course but it would be pretty robust, especially if I pinned it with a dowel. I would finish it off as a wedged tenon and cut it flush so that it would not be too much of a departure from the original Ellis design.
So, those of you with lots of dresser building experience, please give me your thoughts on these options or others I haven’t considered. I’d be particularly interested to hear from LumberJocks members Dorran, Ken, Mark Mazzo and/or John Everett about how they attached their tops.
Thanks in advance,