Excerpt from the book:
Mission Furniture - HOW TO MAKE IT - PART I
Printed 1909

The stock necessary to make a morris chair of craftsman design as shown in the engraving can be purchased mill-planed and sandpapered on four sides as given in the following list:

    4 posts 1-3/4 by 3 by 26 in.
    2 front and back rails 7/8 by 5-1/2 by 24 in.
    2 side rails 7/8 by 5-1/2 by 28 in.
    2 arm pieces 7/8 by 5-1/2 by 37 in.
    7 slats 3/8 by 2 by 24 in.
    2 cleats 1 by 1 by 22-1/2 in.
    2 back stiles 1 by 2-1/2 by 24-1/2 in.
    2 back rails 1 by 2 by 17 in.
    3 back slats 3/8 by 1-1/2 by 19 in.
    1 back support 3/4 by 3/4 by 24 in.
    2 support rests 1 by 1-1/2 by 8-1/2 in.
    2 dowels 1/2 in. diameter, 6 in. long.

Complete Morris Chair Without Cushion

First make and put together the sides of the chair. While the glue is setting on these parts make and assemble the back. The front and back rails may next be made and placed and the cleats and bottom slats fastened. With the adjustment of the back the chair is ready for the finish.

The posts are to be tenoned on the upper ends. These tenons are to project 3/16 in. above the arm and should be slightly beveled. The lower ends of the posts, likewise, all other projecting ends, should be beveled to avoid their splintering. All sharp corners, as on the arms, should be sandpapered just enough to take their sharpness off, so as not to injure the hand.

Details of a Morris Chair

That the chair may be properly inclined, the rear posts are cut 1 in. shorter than the forward ones. To get the correct slant on the bottoms of these posts, lay a straightedge so that its edge touches the bottom of the front post at its front surface, but  keep it 1 in. above the bottom of the rear post. Mark with pencil along the straightedge across both posts.

At the rear ends of the arms are the notched pieces that allow the back to be adjusted to different angles. These pieces may be fastened in place either by means of roundhead screws from above or flatheads from underneath the arms. The notches are to be cut 3/4 in. deep. If more than three adjustments are wanted, the arms must be made correspondingly longer.

The dimensions for the tenons on all the larger pieces will be found on the drawing. For the back, the tenons of the cross pieces, the rails, should be 3/8 by 1-1/4-in. For the slats, the easiest way is to not tenon them but to "let in" the whole end, making the mortises in the rails 3/8 by 1-1/2 in. This will necessitate cutting the sides of the mortises very accurately, but this extra care will be more than compensated by not having to bother with the cutting of tenons on each end of the three back slats.

To finish the chair, put on a coat of water stain, first removing all surplus glue and thoroughly scraping and sandpapering all the parts that were not so treated at the mill. The color of the stain will depend upon the finish desired, whether golden, mission, etc. Water stains cause the grain of the wood to roughen, so it will be necessary to resandpaper the surfaces after the stain has dried, using fine paper. Next apply a coat of filler colored to match the stain. Directions for its application will be found upon the cans in which the filler comes. After the filler has hardened put on a very thin coat of shellac.
What step is taken next will depend upon what kind of a surface is desired. Several coats of polishing wax may be put on. This is easily done—directions will be found on the cans—and makes the most satisfactory finish for mission and craftsman furniture. It is the easiest to apply. Several coats of shellac or of varnish might be put on instead of wax. Each coat of the shellac should be rubbed when thoroughly dried with curled hair or fine steel wool or fine oiled sandpaper. Rub the first coats of varnish with hair-cloth or curled hair and the last coats with pulverized pumice stone and crude oil or raw linseed oil.

Cushions for the chair can be made at home. They may be made of art leather such as Spanish roan skin and the top and bottom parts fastened together by lacing leather thongs through holes previously punched along the edges of the parts. A very pretty effect is obtained by using thongs of a different but harmonious color. The manner of lacing may be any one of the various laces such as are used in lacing belts or as shoestrings. These cushions may be filled with hair or cotton felt. Denim or burlap may also be used as a covering and are much less expensive than the leather. Lace one side and the two ends, then place filling and finish lacing.

Art leather cushions retail at from $16 to $20 a pair and the denim and burlap at $6 to $9.

The bottom cushion should be made the full size of the chair. The front and back rails extend a little above the slats and thus hold it in place. The back cushion will settle down a little and therefore may be made nearly the full length from the slats to the top of the back.

How to Build a Roll Top Desk

How to Build a Roll Top Desk

The Desk Complete

The materials for this roll top desk can be purchased from a mill dressed and sandpapered so the hardest part of the work will be finished. The wood must be selected to suit the builder and to match other articles of furniture. The following list of materials will be required:

    68 lineal ft. of 1 by 3 in. hardwood.
    65 lineal ft. of 1 by 2 in. hardwood.
    3 lineal ft. of 1/4 by 24 in. hardwood.
    45 lineal ft. of 1/4 by 10-1/2 in. hardwood.
    36 lineal ft. of 1 by 12 in. hardwood.
    35 lineal ft. of 3/8 by 9 in. soft wood.
    100 sq. ft. of 1/2 by 12 in. soft wood.
    1 piece 34 in. wide and 54 in. long hardwood.
    30 pieces 1 by 1 in. 48 in. long.

Rolltop Details

The upper and lower back panels are constructed very similar, the only difference being in the height. The inside edge of the 3-in. pieces is plowed with a 1/4-in. plow 3/8 in. deep exactly in the center and also both edges of each 2-in. piece. The 16-in. pieces in the upper back panel and the 24-in. pieces in the lower back panel must be cut 1/2 in. longer and a 1/4-in. tongue made on each end to fit into the plowed groove and form a mortise joint.

The upper back panel is filled in with four boards 9-1/2 in. wide and 16-1/2 in. long, while the four boards in the lower back panel are 9-1/2 in. wide and 24-1/2 in. long cut from the 1/4-in. hard wood. When the grooves are cut properly, the joints made perfect and the boards fitted to the right size, these two panels can be assembled and pressed together in cabinet clamps. This will make the outside dimensions as given in the drawing.

The end panels are made very similar to the lower back panel, the only difference being in the width of the filling boards, which are 10-1/2 in. for the outside end panels and 10 in. for the inside panels. One end panel and one inside panel make the sides of one pedestal. As the end panels are 1 in. wider than the inside panels they overlap the back panel and cover up the rough ends of the boards. A 1-in. piece 2 in. wide is fastened at the top and bottom of each end and inside panels as shown by the dotted lines. The lower back panel is fastened on by turning screws through the back and into the ends of these pieces. The bottom pieces have 2-in. notches cut out, as shown, into which to fit two crosspieces across the bottom of the pedestal for holding the casters. The top end panels are made as shown in [64] the drawing, the inside edge of the pieces being plowed out, making a groove the same size as in the other pieces of the panels. The panel board is cut to the proper shape from the 1/4-by 24-in. material. The length given in the material list will be sufficient if the pointed ends are allowed to pass each other when laying out the design.


Instead of cutting a groove for the roll top curtain, one is made by fastening a 1/2-by 3/4-in. strip 7/8 in. down from the edge and on the inside of the panel. A thin 1/4-by 1-3/4-in. strip is bent to form the shape of the edge and fastened with round-headed brass screws. A 1-in. piece is fastened at the back and a groove cut into it as shown by the dotted line into which to slide a 1/4-in. back board. The top is a 12-in. board 54 in. long.

As both pedestals are made alike, the detail of [65] only one is shown. The partitions upon which the drawers slide are made up from 1-in. square material with a 2-in. end fitted as shown. Dimensions are given for the divisions of each drawer, but these can be changed to suit the builder. The detail of one drawer is shown, giving the length and width, the height being that of the top drawer. The roll top curtain is made up from 1-in. pieces 3/4 in. thick and 48 in. long, cut in an oval shape on the outside, tacked and glued to a piece of strong canvas on the inside. The end piece is 2 in. wide, into which two lift holes or grooves are cut and a lock attached in the middle of the edge. A drawer lock can be made as shown and attached to the back panel and operated by the back end of the roll top curtain when it is opened and closed.

The top board, which is 34 by 54 in., can be fitted with end pieces as shown or left in one piece with the edges made rounding.

At this point in the construction of the parts they can be put together. The sides of each pedestal are fastened together by screws passed through the 1-in. square pieces forming the partition and into the sides of the panels. When each pedestal is put together the lower back panel is fastened to them with screws turned into the pieces provided as stated in making the end panels. The top board is now adjusted with equal edges projecting and fastened in position with finishing nails. As the top panels cover directly over where the nails are driven, the heads will not show. The upper back panel is fastened to the curved ends and the whole top held to the top board with cast corner brackets that can be purchased at any hardware store. The top [66] should not be drawn together too close before the 1/4-in. back board is put in the grooves and the roll top curtain placed in position.

Detail of Pigeonholes

The detail showing the pigeon holes gives sizes for 30 openings 3 by 4 in., two book stalls at the ends, 3 in. wide, and two small drawers. This frame is built up as shown from the 3/8-in. soft wood, and fastened in the back part of the top with small brads.

Excerpt from the book:
Mission Furniture - HOW TO MAKE IT - PART I
Printed 1909



All the material used in the making of this piano bench is 1 in. thick, excepting the two rails, which are 7/8 in. thick. The bench can be made from any of the furniture woods, but the case may demand one made from mahogany. If so, this wood can be purchased from a piano factory. The following stock list of materials may be ordered from a mill, planed and sandpapered:

    1 top, 1 by 16 by 36-1/2 in.
    2 ends, 1 by 14 by 18 in.
    1 stretcher, 1 by 4 by 31-1/2 in.
    2 side rails, 7/8 by 4 by 29-1/2 in.
    2 keys, 1 by 1 by 3-1/2 in.
    6 cleats, 1 by 1 by 4 in.

The dimensions given, with the exception of the keys and cleats, are 1/2 in. longer than necessary for squaring up the ends.

The two rails are cut slanting from a point 1-1/2 in. from each end to the center, making them only 3 in. wide in the middle. The rails are "let into" the edges of the ends so the outside of the rails and end boards will be flush. The joints are put together with glue and screws. The cleats are fastened with screws to the inside of the rails and to the top. The stretcher has a tenon cut on each end which fits into a mortise cut in each end. The tenons will have sufficient length to cut the small mortise for the key.

Piano Bench Details

The kind of wood used will determine the color of the stain for the finish. This also depends on matching other pieces of furniture.

Piano Bench

Excerpt from the book:
Mission Furniture - HOW TO MAKE IT - PART I
Printed 1909

Wooden Waste-Paper Basket - HOW TO MAKE IT


Excerpt from the book:
Mission Furniture - HOW TO MAKE IT - PART I
Printed 1909

Waste-Paper Basket to Match Library Table

The basket shown in the accompanying sketch is designed to be used with a library table having slats in the ends and wooden handles on the drawers. The finish is made to match that of the table by fuming, when completely assembled, in a large-size size, clean garbage can, with fumes of concentrated ammonia.

Detail of Waste-Paper Basket

The following quarter-sawed white-oak stock should be procured in the exact dimensions given. This may be had, planed and cut to lengths, from a mill for a slight extra charge. It is advisable not to have them sandpapered, as the very coarse sandpaper generally used, gives a bad surface for finishing.

    4 posts, 1-1/4 by 1-1/4 by 16-1/2 in., S-4-S.
    4 rails, 3/4 by 3 by 10-1/4 in., S-2-S.
    4 rails, 3/4 by 2 by 10-1/4 in., S-2-S.
    12 slats, 3/8 by 2-1/4 by 9-1/2 in., S-2-S.
    4 handle pieces, 1 by 1 by 2-1/2 in., S-4-S.
    2 handle pieces, 1/2 by 1/2 by 6 in., S-4-S.
    1 bottom, 3/8 by 9-1/2 by 9-1/2 in., S-2-S.

See that the posts are absolutely square cross section. Mark with a pencil—not gauge—the chamfers on the ends of the posts and plane them off.

Carefully mark the tenons on the ends of all the rails with a knife and gauge lines. Be sure that the distance from the tenon shoulder at one end of rail to the shoulder at the other end is exactly the same on each rail. Cut the tenons, using a backsaw and chisel.

Arrange the pieces as they are to stand in the finished basket, and number each tenon and mortise. Mark all the mortises on the posts, being sure to keep the distances between the top and lower rail the same on each post. Cut each mortise to fit the correspondingly numbered tenon. Next, mark the mortises for the slats in the rails, allowing the whole slat to go in 1/4 in.

The handles are next in order. The pieces going into the rail should be fastened with a round [96] 1/2-in. tenon cut on one end and glued in place. The crosspiece should be mortised all the way through these pieces and held in place by a brad from the under side.

Now put the whole basket together without gluing, in order that errors, if any, may be detected.

If everything fits perfectly, the basket is ready to be glued. For best results hot glue should be used. First glue up two opposite sides with the slats in place. Clamps must be used. When these have set for at least 24 hours, the other rails and slats may be glued in place and clamped. It is a good idea to pin the tenons in place with two 1-in. brads driven from the inside.

The handles are then glued in place, using hand screws to hold them until the glue sets. The bottom should rest on thin cleats, without being nailed to them, so that it may be removed when the basket is to be emptied of small papers, etc.

Before applying the stain, see that all glue spots are removed and all surfaces sanded to perfect smoothness. If a fumed finish is not desired, any good stain may be used, after which a thin coat of shellac and two coats of wax should be applied. Allow plenty of time for drying between the coats.

STYLES OF CHAIRS - THE 40 STYLES OF CHAIRS (embracing the period from 3000 B.C. to 1900 A.D.)

STYLES OF CHAIRS - THE 40 STYLES OF CHAIRS (embracing the period from 3000 B.C. to 1900 A.D.)

Excerpt from the book:
Mission Furniture - HOW TO MAKE IT - PART I
Printed 1909

There are 40 distinct styles of chairs embracing the period from 3000 B.C. to 1900 A.D.—nearly 7,000 years. Of all the millions of chairs made during the centuries, each one can be classified under one or more of the 40 general styles shown in the chart. This chart was compiled by the editor of Decorative Furniture. The Colonial does not appear on the chart because it classifies under the Jacobean and other styles. A condensed key to the chart follows:

Egyptian chair.—3000 B.C. to 500 B.C.  

Seems to have been derived largely from the Early Asian. It influenced Assyrian and Greek decorations, and was used as a motif in some French Empire decoration. Not used in its entirety except for lodge rooms, etc.

Greek chair—700 B.C. to 200 B.C. 

Influenced by Egyptian and Assyrian styles. It had a progressive growth through the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian periods. It influenced the Roman style and the Pompeian, and all the Renaissance styles, and all styles following the Renaissance, and is still the most important factor in decorations today.

Roman chair—750 B.C. to 450 A.D. 

Rome took her art entirely from Greece, and the Roman is purely a Greek development. The Roman style "revived" in the Renaissance, and in this way is still a prominent factor in modern decoration.

Pompeian chair .—100 B.C. to 79 A.D. 

Sometimes called the Grecian-Roman style, which well describes its components. The style we know as Greek was the Greek as used in public structures. The Pompeian is our best idea of Greek domestic decoration. Pompeii was long buried, but when rediscovered it promptly influenced all European styles, including Louis XVI, and the various Georgian styles.

Byzantine chair.—300 A.D. to 1450 A.D. 

The "Eastern Roman" style, originating in the removal of the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople (then called Byzantium). It is a combination of Persian and Roman. It influenced the various Moorish, Sacracenic and other Mohammedan styles.

Gothic chair.—1100 to 1550. 

It had nothing to do with the Goths, but was a local European outgrowth of the Romanesque. It spread all over Europe, and reached its climax of development about 1550. It was on the Gothic construction that the Northern European and English Renaissance styles were grafted to form such styles as the Elizabethan, etc.

Chairs 1

Moorish chair.—700 to 1600. 

The various Mohammedan styles can all be traced to the ancient Persian through the Byzantine. The Moorish or Moresque was the form taken by the Mohammedans in Spain.

Indian chair.—2000 B.C. to 1906 A.D. 

The East Indian style is almost composite, as expected of one with a growth of nearly 4,000 years. It has been influenced repeatedly by outside forces and various religious invasions, and has, in turn, influenced other far Eastern styles.

Chinese chair.—3500 B.C. to 1906 A.D. 

Another of the ancient styles. It had a continuous growth up to 230 B.C., since when it has not changed much. It has influenced Western styles, as in the Chippendale, Queen Anne, etc.

Japanese chair.—1200 B.C. to 1906 A.D. 

A style probably springing originally from China, but now absolutely distinct. It has influenced recent art in Europe and America, especially the "New Art" styles.

Italian Gothic chair.—1100 to 1500. 

The Italian Gothic differs from the European and English Gothic in clinging more closely to the Romanesque-Byzantine originals.

Tudor chair.—1485 to 1558. 

The earliest entry of the Renaissance into England. An application of Renaissance to the Gothic foundations. Its growth was into the Elizabethan.

Italian Renaissance chair, Fifteenth Century.—1400 to 1500. 

The birth century of the Renaissance. A seeking for revival of the old Roman and Greek decorative and constructive forms.

Italian Renaissance chair, Sixteenth Century.—1500 to 1600. 

A period of greater elaboration of detail and more freedom from actual Greek and Roman models.

Italian Renaissance chair, Seventeenth Century.—1600 to 1700. 

The period of great elaboration and beginning of reckless ornamentation.

Spanish Renaissance chair.—1500 to 1700. 

A variation of the Renaissance spirit caused by the combination of three distinct styles—the Renaissance as known in Italy, the Gothic and the Moorish. In furniture the Spanish Renaissance is almost identical with the Flemish, which it influenced.

Dutch Renaissance chair.—1500 to 1700. 

A style influenced alternately by the French and the Spanish. This style and the Flemish had a strong influence on the English William and Mary and Queen Anne styles, and especially on the Jacobean.

German Renaissance chair.—1550 to 1700. 

A style introduced by Germans who had gone to Italy to study. It was a heavy treatment of the Renaissance spirit, and merged into the German Baroque about 1700.

Francis I chair.—1515 to 1549. 

The introductory period when the Italian Renaissance found foothold in France. It is almost purely Italian, and was the forerunner of the Henri II.

Henri II chair.—1549 to 1610. 

In this the French Renaissance became differentiated from the Italian, assuming traits that were specifically French and that were emphasized in the next period.

Louis XIII chair.—1616 to 1643. 

A typically French style, in which but few traces of its derivation from the Italian remained. It was followed by the Louis XIV.

Elizabethan chair.—1558 to 1603. 

A compound style containing traces of the Gothic, much of the Tudor, some Dutch, Flemish and a little Italian. Especially noted for its fine wood carving.

Jacobean chair.—1603 to 1689. 

The English period immediately following the Elizabethan, and in most respects quite similar. The Dutch influence was, however, more prominent. The Cromwellian, which is included in this period, was identical with it.

William and Mary chair.—1689 to 1702. 

More Dutch influences. All furniture lighter and better suited to domestic purposes.

Chairs 2

Queen Anne chair.—1702 to 1714. 

Increasing Dutch influences. Jacobean influence finally discarded. Chinese influence largely present.

Louis XIV chair.—1643 to 1715. 

The greatest French style. An entirely French creation, marked by elegance and dignity. Toward the end of the period it softened into the early Rococo.

Georgian chair.—1714 to 1820. 

A direct outgrowth of the Queen Anne, tempered by the prevailing French styles. It includes Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton, but these three great cabinetmakers were sufficiently distinct from the average Georgian to be worthy separate classification.

Chippendale chair.—1754 to 1800. 

The greatest English cabinet style. Based on the Queen Anne, but drawing largely from the Rococo, Chinese and Gothic, he produced three distinct types, viz.: French Chippendale, Chinese Chippendale and Gothic Chippendale. The last is a negligible quantity.

Louis XV chair.—1715 to 1774. 

The Rococo period. The result of the efforts of French designers to enliven the Louis XIV, and to evolve a new style out of one that had reached its logical climax.

Hepplewhite chair.—1775 to 1800. 

Succeeded Chippendale as the popular English cabinetmaker. By many he is considered his superior. His work is notable for a charming delicacy of line and design.

Louis XVI chair.—1774 to 1793. 

The French style based on a revival of Greek forms, and influenced by the discovery of the ruins of Pompeii.

Sheraton chair.—1775 to 1800. 

A fellow cabinetmaker, working at same time as Hepplewhite. One of the Colonial styles (Georgian).

R. & J. Adam chair.—1762 to 1800.

Fathers of an English classic revival. Much like the French Louis XVI and Empire styles in many respects.

Empire chair.—1804 to 1814. 

The style created during the Empire of Napoleon I. Derived from classic Roman suggestions, with some Greek and Egyptian influences.

New Arts chair.—1900 to date. 

These are various worthy attempts by the designers of various nations to create a new style. Some of the results are good, and they are apt to be like the "little girl who had a little curl that hung in the middle of her forehead," in that "when they are good they are very, very good, but when they are bad they are horrid."