I mentioned in an earlier post that we were in the process of building a writing desk that was inspired by a Gustav Stickley desk circa 1902. I am happy to report that the desk is complete and in its new home. This was a fun project and one that I think respects the original. At the request of the clients, we made some minor changes which make the desk more usable and functional. To the casual looker, these changes are probably not even visible. I will point them out in photos below.

If you missed the earlier post, here is a photo of the Stickley desk used for inspiration. The second photo shows the original markings under the lower shelf.

Quartersawn white oak was used for the desk and drawer fronts. Poplar was used for the drawer boxes. Mortise and tenon joints were used throughout. The side panels were v-grooved with splines. I think that is stronger than using tongue and groove on thin stock. The finish is precatalyzed satin lacquer over a three color stain process to match an antique arts and crafts chair we own. Look below for some progress pictures.

Starting to dry fit the desk front.


The desk in clamps.

Drawer parts cut to size and ready to glue up.


The lower shelf through tenon ready to be mortised for the peg. On the right, installed with the peg.

Finished size is 54″ wide, 30″ deep, and 30″ tall. The drawers are 22″ deep, with auto closing undermount drawer slides. In addition to being much more convenient, these will save lots of wear and tear on the wooden drawer parts compared to the wood on wood of the original. The other minor change in our desk is the top surface. Our clients preferred a full top. You can see in the photos that the legs pierced the top on the original desk. This desk will be used daily and the full top will make it more functional.

Here are some comparison photos of the original Stickley and our reproduction.





Everybody in the shop that worked on this desk did a first rate job and can be proud of the final result. The clients are also thrilled with their new family heirloom. All in all, a good (several) days work.

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  1. alice gilbert says:

    Yes! I have been waiting to see you post these pics. We are incredibly pleased with the final product. It exceeded ALL expectations. I want you to build all my furniture from now on!

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