Mission furniture will have some or all of the following characterizations:
Mission furniture is generally constructed of red or white oak which is then cut quarter sawn. (Quarter sawing the wood enhances the grain.) Quarter-sawing means cutting a log radially to the growth rings to produce a “vertical” and uniform pattern.
Because of the way it is cut, it yields fewer and narrower boards per log than plain sawing, boosting their cost significantly.
Quarter-sawn boards also expand and contract less than boards sawn by other methods.
Quartersawn oak was particularly popular with artisans of the Arts and Crafts and Mission movements, and was employed to great effect by the best-known designers, manufacturers and retailers of the period, e.g. Gustav Stickley and Leonard Wyburd / Liberty's of London.
It is crafted with straight legs, slats and corbels. (Corbels are a type of architectural support that adds strength to heavy overhanging table tops or arms. The favored upholstery is leather and the hardware (pulls, latches and hinges) are most often hammered black, pewter or copper.