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How to Stick it to Stickley

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Forum topic by Jerry posted 05-14-2015 06:49 PM 1998 views 1 time favorited 66 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jerry

1762 posts in 1107 days


05-14-2015 06:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor resource oak chestnut finishing refurbishing arts and crafts stickley

Well, Stickley really knows how to put the Stick in Stickley.

I requested some information from them on their #703 finish because I have a client who wants me to refinish a 1994 Stickley dining room table.

They refused to even give me any guidance, much less tell me about their formulation, citing it as being proprietary.

Thank God for the Internet, though, apparently Gustav was not nearly so concerned about this as the modern day company seems to be, as he published a step by step article in Craftsman magazine in 1905, which is in the public domain, and which I found, and which information I certainly will not be sharing with Stickley.

In the spirit of sharing information with my fellow Lumberjocks, though, here is the link to the article.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://geraldlhunsucker.com/


66 replies so far

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Yonak

979 posts in 980 days


#1 posted 05-14-2015 07:54 PM

Good for you, Jerry. It’s interesting how when someone gets started with a good idea he’s anxious to share his idea because he’s proud of it but when it becomes popular and when his heirs get involved or when the lawyers com a-knockin’ the company clams, and gets all lawyered, up. Something tells me there’s scarce resemblance between Gustav’s ideals and the current company.

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AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1768 days


#2 posted 05-14-2015 08:13 PM

I don’t think Stickley did anything wrong or unethical . Do you really think companies should hand out proprietary information to any Tom, Dick, and Harry that wants to know their formulation and process they developed on their time and money?

Every try to get a famous chef to give up their secret recipe?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Jerry

1762 posts in 1107 days


#3 posted 05-14-2015 08:25 PM


I don t think Stickley did anything wrong or unethical . Do you really think companies should hand out proprietary information to any Tom, Dick, and Harry that wants to know their formulation and process they developed on their time and money?

Every try to get a famous chef to give up their secret recipe?
- AlaskaGuy

Never said they were doing anything unethical, what I did imply is that they were complete asses about helping out someone trying to preserve their legacy, lied to me about it being proprietary ( now that I’ve read the article I can see that the formulations are quite common PLUS they are published by Gustav Stickley himself ), and refused to even send me in the right general direction. This a brave new digital world, companies need to learn to limit their exposure. Now their so-called “secret formula” has been exposed to upwards of 106,000 woodworkers, and for what? All for the lack of a little common decency.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://geraldlhunsucker.com/

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Roger

19850 posts in 2263 days


#4 posted 05-14-2015 08:26 PM

Hey Jerry. Thnx for that link. It seems to be filled with info. I wouldn’t be too upset. AlaskaGuy has a point. With the almighty internet, there is always a way.. lol

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

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Jerry

1762 posts in 1107 days


#5 posted 05-14-2015 08:27 PM



Hey Jerry. Thnx for that link. It seems to be filled with info. I wouldn t be too upset. AlaskaGuy has a point. With the almighty internet, there is always a way.. lol

- Roger

You’re welcome Roger.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://geraldlhunsucker.com/

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firefighterontheside

13434 posts in 1316 days


#6 posted 05-14-2015 08:31 PM

I wonder if they are still finishing the way they did in 1905.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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JoeinGa

7472 posts in 1466 days


#7 posted 05-14-2015 08:58 PM

You can find most any recipe any more if you look hard enough. Paint, washes, stains, and food items, it’s mostly all out there. We used to go out to eat quite a bit and then come home and try to figure out a food that we liked. But that was before we had the internet so we had to do it the hard way, by making a dish we THOUGHT would be similar and cook it. Then the taste test, and if it was too far off we often tried again. We still use some of those recipes we broke down back in the 80s.

Yep. Most all big companies call their recipes “proprietary”, and as a rule you can usually find SOMEONE who has broken it down. In this case you happened to find the originator of the recipe. And you probably had to open a BUNCH of links and/or pages to get that far down to actually find it. Good for you, now you can help your customer keep his piece as “original” as possible.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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DrDirt

4166 posts in 3201 days


#8 posted 05-14-2015 09:04 PM

You have to consider that you are trying to make a living by this – - they invested time and money and paid people to develop their finishing schedule – they are not going to give it out.

While your motives are pure, they have no idea who you are… maybe you are someone out copying their designs.

Think about your Title for this thread… “How to Stick it to Stickley”.... and in the end you decided to publish it to everyone worldwide on lumberjocks – so they can build Stickley copies and match the finish.

Maloof is the only maker I have seen share his finish (but of course he doesn’t do much coloration of anything, it is all clear finishes…even at that most people that had his furniture set it back for repairs.

The link you show seems to just describe fuming with ammonia, then “making the color more even” using van Dyke Brown and lamp black…...

There is still a lot of practice boards to get the right color you are shooting for, and the wood really needs to be free of oil and old finish for fuming with ammonia. I am not sure that article is that much of a help.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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bondogaposis

4020 posts in 1810 days


#9 posted 05-14-2015 09:33 PM

It is my understanding that the Stickley Furniture Company of today evolved from Gustav’s brothers factory L and JG Stickley. They may never have used Gustav’s formula as Gustav had his own factory. It is highly unlikely that what ever they used in 1905 is still in use today. No company that uses a proprietary formula for their finishes is going to hand it out. For one they may want to market it at some point like Sam Malouf did.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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DrDirt

4166 posts in 3201 days


#10 posted 05-14-2015 09:42 PM



It is my understanding that the Stickley Furniture Company of today evolved from Gustav s brothers factory L and JG Stickley. They may never have used Gustav s formula as Gustav had his own factory. It is highly unlikely that what ever they used in 1905 is still in use today. No company that uses a proprietary formula for their finishes is going to hand it out. For one they may want to market it at some point like Sam Malouf did.

- bondogaposis


Quite right…. I am pretty sure nobody uses banana laquer. Stickley today may even already be doing fuming still, but using waterbase finishes…. and thus have worked out all the coloration tricks to match the oil base furniture colors of old.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 980 days


#11 posted 05-14-2015 10:30 PM


...now you can help your customer keep his piece as “original” as possible.

- JoeinGa

..To the benefit of Stickley. That’s what makes me scratch my head.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

1762 posts in 1107 days


#12 posted 05-14-2015 10:56 PM



I wonder if they are still finishing the way they did in 1905.

- firefighterontheside

My feeling is probably not exactly, they are probably using modern versions of the older formulas.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://geraldlhunsucker.com/

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

1762 posts in 1107 days


#13 posted 05-14-2015 10:56 PM



You can find most any recipe any more if you look hard enough. Paint, washes, stains, and food items, it s mostly all out there. We used to go out to eat quite a bit and then come home and try to figure out a food that we liked. But that was before we had the internet so we had to do it the hard way, by making a dish we THOUGHT would be similar and cook it. Then the taste test, and if it was too far off we often tried again. We still use some of those recipes we broke down back in the 80s.

Yep. Most all big companies call their recipes “proprietary”, and as a rule you can usually find SOMEONE who has broken it down. In this case you happened to find the originator of the recipe. And you probably had to open a BUNCH of links and/or pages to get that far down to actually find it. Good for you, now you can help your customer keep his piece as “original” as possible.

- JoeinGa

I agree completely.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://geraldlhunsucker.com/

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

1762 posts in 1107 days


#14 posted 05-14-2015 11:05 PM


You have to consider that you are trying to make a living by this – - they invested time and money and paid people to develop their finishing schedule – they are not going to give it out.

Again, if you read the article, there is nothing to invest time and money in, the finishing materials and processes are as common as dirt, furthermore, once Gustav Stickley PUBLISHED the formulation and process, it cannot be proprietary anymore by definition.


While your motives are pure, they have no idea who you are… maybe you are someone out copying their designs.

Nobody’s done that have they… ;-)


Think about your Title for this thread… “How to Stick it to Stickley”.... and in the end you decided to publish it to everyone worldwide on lumberjocks – so they can build Stickley copies and match the finish.

The reason I entitled the post that way, was, again, they LIED about the formula being proprietary, and were completely uncooperative with someone who is working to preserve the legacy of their company. Back where I come from, we would call that “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”


The link you show seems to just describe fuming with ammonia, then “making the color more even” using van Dyke Brown and lamp black…...

It describes much more, you have to do more than give a cursory glance at the first couple of sentences and then go on a rant.


There is still a lot of practice boards to get the right color you are shooting for, and the wood really needs to be free of oil and old finish for fuming with ammonia. I am not sure that article is that much of a help.
- DrDirt

It was most helpful to me because I read it all, and got the gist of what direction to move in. That was all I was asking for from Stickley in the first place, a little guidance so I could refinish this antique without destroying its intrinsic value.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://geraldlhunsucker.com/

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

1762 posts in 1107 days


#15 posted 05-14-2015 11:08 PM


...now you can help your customer keep his piece as “original” as possible.

- JoeinGa

..To the benefit of Stickley. That s what makes me scratch my head.

- Yonak

It’s just me trying to do a good job for my customer. I did a lot of research on refinishing antique furniture before I agreed to do this. The general consensus of the experts is that refinishing antique furniture does not destroy the antique value and actually helps it, but only if the refinishing job remains true to the original finish.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://geraldlhunsucker.com/

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