Why is Stickley Furniture so Expensive? (Explained)

Why Stickley Furniture Expensive

It is popularly said that the best things of life are free. Well, there happens to be a deviation to this – specifically a costly deviation: Stickley furniture.

Stickley furniture is among the best you can get. But they don’t come free. If anything, they are some of the most expensive furniture pieces you can get. But once you may have wondered: why is Stickley furniture so expensive?

Stickley furniture is a premium furniture brand renowned for its heirloom quality. Boasting top-notch craftsmanship and uncommon attention to detail, these furniture pieces will last through generations durably without losing class. Also, original Stickley furniture is highly valued for its historical value, giving them high resale value.

Of course, a paragraph wouldn’t suffice to explain why Stickley furniture cost an arm and leg. To adequately explain why this furniture brand is worth any cent you can spend on it, we must first dig into the legacy tied to this furniture brand. 

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How Stickley Mission furniture grew into cult status

Stickley furniture’s renown (and consequent expensiveness) can be traced to the early 20th century. 

Back in the infant days of the industrial revolution, the world of woodworking suffered a plague of poorly worked machined furniture pieces. 

The market was inundated with shoddy construction, mischievous extravagance in design, and unreliable joineries.

With homeowners desperate for succor, they found their salvation in Stickley’s Mission Oak designs. This brand prided in its solid wood construction, simplicity, establishing the foundation of what-you-see-is-what-you-get joinery. 

The Stickley brand quickly endeared itself to the heart of homeowners because of how fervently this brand rallied against the abuse of machinery in woodworking.

Instead of going with the trend of thick gum (which essentially distorted the view of the wood grain, making it harder to decipher poor grain from genuine), Stickley Gustav went with transparent dyes. 

This way, users could clearly appreciate the natural grain of their furniture pieces. Courtesy of the specialized human woodworking expertise that went into producing Gustav furniture, the brand distinguished itself from the hordes of industrially produced furniture at the time.

Since then, Stickley furniture cemented its status as a no-nonsense brand focused on premium quality. Homeowners saw how good the pieces were and how justified their cost was. 

Yes, a lot has changed since the twentieth century. But why is the Stickley brand still in vogue? 

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They yet boast outstanding construction

An original Stickley piece is embroidered with the ancient Flemish saying “Als Ik Kan”. This translates into “to the best of my ability”.

While many furniture manufacturers today are unfortunately more interested in mass-producing and flooding the market with hastily machine-built furniture, Stickley “overbuilds” its pieces. 

Aside from their exotic nature, Stickley furniture is naturally rare because of the overwhelming magnitude of expertly skilled human woodworking labor that goes into producing just a unit. 

This is a solid affirmation of Stickley’s commitment to the integrity of their construction process. Several design features continue to differentiate Stickley furniture, comfortably placing them among the premium furniture brands today.

Stickley yet holds on to its signature mortise and tenon joints

When making furniture, the convention among woodworkers is to hold the pieces together with nails and screws. This is not catastrophic per se, only that it amplifies the risk of wood cracking and splitting across time. 

Stickley furniture instead goes with the old-school approach of deploying mortise and tenon joints for their furniture pieces. This system is entirely free of nails and screws. 

If you do a good job properly maintaining your Stickley furniture, it will last far longer than those pieces assembled with nails and screws.

Stickley is known for its quartersawn timber design

Stickley furniture – as we would learn later – is one of the few brands dedicated to ecological sustainability. This explains why Stickley goes with quartersawn method when the tradition among other manufacturers is flatsawn timber. 

Leveraging such quartersawn timber design, Stickley maximally harnesses the tree in producing pieces with lesser vulnerability to cracking and warping.

The quartersawn method also adds an artistic flavor to Stickley’s furniture, giving these pieces a distinct (and prized) pattern resembling tiger stripes. 

Stickley is one of the leaders of quadralinear designs in furniture

We will admit quadralinear designs are no longer unique to Stickley. Given the massive adoption from homeowners, many furniture makers jumped on the quadralinear design bandwagon the likes of Stickley started.  

What is this design pattern particularly?

This design brings together triple quartersawn boards. These boards were combined around a solid core. This gave the natural wood’s texture (specifically ray-flake in Stickley’s case) to shine through while keeping the post stronger.

But while most brands’ quadralinear designs are largely aesthetic, Stickley’s quadralinear designs are simultaneously stunning and functional.

Stickley furniture yet stands out for its bracket foot construction and quarter rounds. In the former, every bracket is splined, after which it is corner-blocked. This is followed by bracing to attain a more robust foundation.

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Stickley is a brand passionate about sustainable woodworking 

Aside from the woodworking genius of Stickley furniture, their cost also has some ethical triggers. Yes, Stickley is renowned for its focus on sustainable woodworking. 

Since 1909, this brand has been a rallying point for conversation in the global carpentry community.

Its production process is extensively optimized to prevent the unnecessary wastage of hardwood. Stickley’s Mission Oak design is inspired by a strong drive to produce durable and heirloom quality furniture at minimal damage to the environment.

In Stickley’s perspective, the more lower-quality furniture in the market, the more wasted furniture trash in landfills, hurting the environment. 

This explains why Stickley prefers to produce durable furniture that can be passed down generations, eliminating the need for frequent furniture acquisition and disposal.

It may also interest you to know Stickley is a prestigious member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council that promotes durability and eco-friendliness in furniture design in coherence with government environmental regulations.

So next time you pay a premium dollar for a Stickley, do so in the joy that you are getting a long-lasting piece from a brand committed to saving Mother Earth.

Stickley furniture have attractive resale value

Stickley has remarkable resale value. Stickley furniture commands a fortune in the antique market as a collectible.

If you have one of the original Stickley Gustav furniture pieces with the signature markings, you can make a killing selling it to antique dealers. 

Mission Oak pieces commonly sell for way more than their initial acquisition cost (back in the day). 

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Stickley furniture has cult-like esteem among woodworking connoisseurs

Have you ever thought about the craze behind iPhones? Well, iPhones are statement phones that bring a status elevation almost immediately.

That is what Stickley furniture is in the woodworking world. This furniture brand is generally seen as a luxury brand, and a piece of Stickley furniture in your space automatically commands respect. 

This cult-like esteem for Stickley furniture helps to psychologically enhance these furniture pieces’ value. This makes them more expensive. 

What is more, Stickley furniture is scarce – especially the originals. You don’t readily see them in your retailer’s woodworking collection. 

The modern ones are sold through a very streamlined network of diligently scrutinized dealers who can sustain the integrity of the furniture pieces. These dealers are not abundantly distributed across the American continental shelf.

Also, Stickley furniture’s strong connection to history gives them a solid cultural feel that translates to higher economic evaluation. 

Buying Stickley furniture often means connecting to the very roots of 20th-century craftsmanship. Often, most of these pieces of furniture are passed down through generations. 

So more than being a readily dismissible relic of time, Stickley furniture brings history and timelessness to your space. 


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