Greene & Greene Gamble House Side Chair #6: Marc Adams School, Day 5

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Blog entry by TungOil posted 10-14-2017 12:21 AM 2394 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Marc Adams School, Day 4 Part 6 of Greene & Greene Gamble House Side Chair series Part 7: Marc Adams School, Day 6 »

Today I finished up the center back slat by cutting the mortises for the dominos. Most of the mortises could be cut with the Domino machine, but the two mortises on the underside of the crest rail had to be cut by hand since the domino machine would not fit inside the opening. To cut these mortises I first drilled out the majority of the waste on the drill press then cleaned up the mortise with a chisel.

With the mortises cut I tested the fit of the center back slat. It took quite a bit of fitting to get the mitered ends just right. I’m starting to see why the original chairs used housed mortises for these parts.

I moved on to the side slats. These slats are mirror images of each other and have a compound angle cut on the end. To make the layout more challenging, the slats are slightly angled to follow the curve of the crest rail. Once I was happy that I had established the correct compound angles for the cuts using a scrap of MDF, I then transferred the angles to the sapele for the cuts on the final parts.

With the final length established and cutting completed, I used the templates to lay out the curve and profile of each back slat. At the bandsaw I first cut the front and back curves, then taped the waste pieces back in place to cut the profile.

I brought the rough pieces to the edge sander to clean up the bandsawn edges, cut the domino mortises and did another dry assembly.

I am very surprised at how much work it is to fit the back slats. Bringing together three curved pieces, two of which have compound angle end cuts and getting all of the joints to fit without any gaps is tedious work to say the least. But I’m very happy with the results so far.

Tomorrow is the last day of class. We will not have a full day but should get to routing the center back slat for the ebony bars and talk about installing the ebony plugs and cutting the final angle on the front legs.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

7 comments so far

View pottz's profile (online now)


20670 posts in 2228 days

#1 posted 10-14-2017 01:51 AM

tung this is one great magical mystery tour buddy,and I’m glad to be along for the ride!thank you for all the time you take to document this journey!

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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6346 posts in 4373 days

#2 posted 10-14-2017 01:54 AM

Thank you for letting us follow along – it is very interesting!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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7057 posts in 4391 days

#3 posted 10-14-2017 02:43 AM

I realize I’m a little late to the party on these last three blog entries, but dang that was a quick five days!

I presume that you’re expecting to finish the chair on the last day of class?

For a chair this complicated, I’d definitely want to take a class, and get hands-on instruction from someone like Bob Lang or William Ng. Indiana’s a little far from Portland, but William Ng’s school is down in Anaheim, CA, which would work out well for me, combining a couple of interests of mine.

In addition to being a woodworker, I’m also an amateur naval historian. So I could make a swing through Southern California, seeing the Gamble House in Pasadena, USS Iowa BB 61 in Los Angeles, and taking William Ng’s class in Anaheim. Would be a hell of a week!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

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1615 posts in 4802 days

#4 posted 10-14-2017 04:26 PM

That is a magnificent chair! Thanks for taking the time to blog while you’re at the class. SO COOL!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View a1Jim's profile


118258 posts in 4820 days

#5 posted 10-14-2017 04:57 PM

It’s a great blog it really helps those who had never taken a quality furniture build class before to know what’s involved. Your chair is coming along nicely.


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1 post in 1468 days

#6 posted 10-14-2017 08:25 PM


Relative to a class like this close to Portland, check out the Darrel Peart School of Precision Woodworking in Seattle I took the Gamble Chair making class there last Spring. George Knutson taught the class.

We used the multi-router to make floating tenon joints instead of the Domino. The class went very well.

I previously took a class there taught by Darrell Peart. Both Darrel and George are excellent instructors. BTW: The Chair design is Darrel Peart’s.

If you go to Darrel’s web page you will find a list of upcoming classes. The class size is usually 4 students and the slots go fast and the open enrollment date begins on Oct 23 for all of the 2018 classes.

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7057 posts in 4391 days

#7 posted 10-15-2017 01:06 AM

Thanks for the info, Client!

I’ve been looking at Darrell’s classes also, since he was in Renton, WA. And sometime down the road, I may take one of his at his new place in Seattle. Right now, the swing through Southern California allows me to combine several visits into one trip, so that makes the most sense for me.

I do like the idea of only 4 students per class—lots of hands-on instruction!

Thanks again for the info!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

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