Stickley Music Cabinet: A Different Approach

Stickley Music Cabinet No. 70
photo courtesy John Mark Power

A completed piece of furniture provides a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that people who don’t make furniture miss out on. I suppose it’s like most things in life that take dedicated effort and practice; those who have been there know what it’s like and get to enjoy the payoff. I don’t get to build as much as I would like to these days, but guys like John Mark Power enable me to get a vicarious thrill. He sent me an e-mail recently, along with a link to a story on his blog about a recent build.

I always wonder when I send off a copy of one of my books or a set of plans what the end result will be. My hope is that I help my readers get a little closer to the top of the furniture making mountain. When I wrote my first book, “Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture”,  published in 2001, I tried to provide something that I would have found useful when I was starting out in the 1970s. Every so often I hear from a reader with a question or photos of a completed project. The music cabinet at the left isn’t in my book, but it was featured in an article in Popular Woodworking Magazine (my day job for the last 10 years). That article is one of the projects in “Classic Arts & Crafts Furniture: 14 Timeless Designs.”

photo courtesy John Mark Power
photo courtesy John Mark Power

When I built my version, I went over the top with the joinery on the doors. There is a picture of the end result on the Home page  and a blog post about the process on the Pop Wood editor’s blog.The mitered mullions/muntins appeared on some early pieces of Gus Stickley furniture, and it’s a cool detail, but takes some time.

John Mark is a lot more sensible than I am, so he details a different approach to making the doors. He’s also more historically accurate; I’ve never seen that particular detail on this particular piece. If you’re contemplating building this piece, it is worth your while to visit his blog, where he details how he got from a stack of wood to a nice piece of furniture.

clamping the door on the Stickley music cabinet
photo courtesy of John Mark Power

In addition to details about the door, there is a boatload of good information about the entire project, including adding leaded glass to the doors and finishing.


My thanks to John Mark for sharing his effort. It benefits the entire craft when people who know their stuff pass along their methods and approach.

–Bob Lang

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