The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Stickley style plant stand

The December 2015 issue of Woodworker's Journal has a neat pattern for a Stickley style plant stand.

I entered this pattern into Google Sketchup...........

Some interesting aspects of this design are fuming the oak with 28% ammonia.  It also uses two 12x12" floor tile for the shelves.  The tenons on the sides are fakes, but they cover up the screw holes for attaching the shelf supports.

Making Patterns

The magazine article suggests making a 1/2" plywood pattern for the large horizontal rail and another for the small one.

After you make the pattern, you add stop blocks on both ends of the pattern to keep the piece from moving while routing.

The process I followed was:

-make 1/2" plywood pattern. I used scroll saw to saw out 2 mortise slots for the router.

-cut blank to length and slightly over-size on height

-cut 1/4" thick tenons 1/2" long using table saw tenon jig

-mark outline on blank using pattern

-saw just outside the pencil line on the bandsaw

-use 2-sided tape to secure the blank to the pattern

-flush trim the blank to shape using a flush trim bit on the router table

-use brass bushing guide to route fake tenon holes 1/4" deep

 Picture above shows flush trimming the blank to the pattern OD.

The next picture shows the small router in position with brass bushing to make the fake mortise hole.

You can see the brass router guide, which is 1/2" OD and is using a 1/4" dia straight bit.

Above is the back-side of the pattern for the larger rail. It has  2 stop blocks to help keep the blank in position while routing.

2-sided tape

The 2-sided carpet tape I had been using was a big pain in the *h#@, because it was so hard to unpeel the protective layer.  I bought a new roll from, to try to see if it was better.  It did work much better.










Chisel Clean-up of the Fake Mortise Hole

It required a little chisel work to clean up the round corners and make them square, but not too bad at all.

I chamfered the fake tenons on the router table first, then sawed the 1/2" off the end of a longer board.  This prevents the unsafe act of trying to saw very small pieces :)

As you can see above, I got a nice fit, and the fake tenons looks good.

Leg Size Design Change

The original plan calls for the legs to be 1-5/8 x 1-5/8 inches.  I do not have easy access to 1-5/8" thick red oak stock.  I can get 1-1/2" thick red oak from Menards. So, I changed by Sketchup design to use 1.5x1.5" square legs.  I have used this size on other projects, and it works fine.

Start of Mass-Production

I decided to make 3 of these plant stands. The first step is to make the large and small curved pieces. The 1st problem I ran into was that the new 2-sided tape would not hold the work pieces firmly in the plywood pattern.  I solved this by putting in three 18-gage air nails 1" long into each workpiece.  When I was done, I pulled out the 3 small nails with regular plyers.  I did not want to hit an existing nail with the air gun, because it can cause a ricochet.

The 2nd problem I ran into was the flush router bit tearing out pieces at the top of the curve, where there is thin end grain.  I found a new tool which solved this problem, basically the equivalent of the router flush trim bit, but it uses a 60 grit sanding drum on the drill press.






The robo-sander does not sand exactly to the pattern line, depending on the drum grit used, and the sleeve expands as it wears.  I sanded my pieces in the drill press, then took them to the flush trim router table to finish them.  I had no grain tearout with the router bit, because the drum sander got them so close to the pattern line there was little stock left to route.


I continued using a new technique I learned on my last project, first use a 1/4" wide slot router bit to start the mortise on the router table.  Then take it to the drill press and finish the mortise.  This keeps the sides of the mortise perfectly straight versus going straight to the drill press mortiser.



 Chamfering the Leg Tops

The magazine picture shows the tops coming to a point, but one of the work pictures shows leaving a little rectangle on top.  I chose to leave a little rectangle on top, which is much easier than trying to come to a point.  I used 45 degrees on the miter saw with a temporary stop block, so insure all sides were sawn the same.


First side finished cut


1st Unit Dry Assembled

Final Glue up and Clamp

I used my Merle steel band clamp for final glue-up and clamp of the 1st unit.



Fake Tenon Installation

I used Kreig pocket screws (fine thread for oak) to attach the 45 degree angle pieces.  In the magazine article, the author drilled a countersink for his screws, which lets you push in the fake tenon screws farther in that my Kreig pocket screws.

I had to use a 1/4" sharp hand chisel to clean out the corners.  The fake tenons were first chamfered on the router table on the end of each piece of stock, then sawed to a 1/2" length. This avoids trying to work with small pieces and works well.



1st Unit Ready for Stain


The curved pieces give this plant stand a neat look

 Building Units #2 and #3

Menards red oak comes in a standard size of 5.5 inches wide. It is better to saw off 13 inches, plane to 1/2" thickness from standard 3/4", then use the table saw to put tenons on both ends.  Take this piece and trace and band saw one big curved blank.  This leaves plenty of height to get the 2nd big curved piece from the same blank, plus you only have to make 3 versus 4 band-saw cuts.  If you saw the blank into 2 pieces length-ways, you barely have enough stock to get 2 pieces.

I also just used the Robo-sander to sand the curved pieces, and did not take them to the router flush trim bit after-wards. This saves a step that is not needed.


The two choices for stain on this project were Spanish Oak and Golden Oak. I used Spanish oak on the 1st two units.

Finishing Process

1. sand to 220 grit

2. stain with brush versus cloth because of the tough to get to spots on the 90
         degree angle brackets.  Wipe off stain with white shop towel.

3. Brush polyurethane.

4. sand to 220

5. Brush polyurethane.

I only did 2 rounds of 220 grit and polyurethane on this project.  I do 3 rounds if a table top or shelf is involved.

Finished 1st Unit




Concluding Thoughts

The new tool, the Robo-sander really worked nice to make all the curved pieces from a pattern. There is no risk of grain tear-out that you get with a flush trim router bit.

I also added a small chamfer on the leg bottoms, to prevent tear-out when the table is slid on a hard floor. This is a good general practice idea.

Owners of the stand can change the tile color or texture out if they are in the re-decorating mood. They are only a couple bucks a piece, and are available at Lowes or Home Depot, or Menards.















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