Greene & Greene Gamble House Side Chair #18: Side Slats

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Blog entry by TungOil posted 03-20-2018 02:14 AM 2764 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Center Back Slat- Part 2 Part 18 of Greene & Greene Gamble House Side Chair series Part 19: Preparing Apron Stock, a Router Template and Crest Rail Shaping »

With the center slats completed I move to the side slats, arguably one of the most difficult parts of the project. With the center slat already cut, the side slats must be cut very precisely or there will be a gap in the finished assembly somewhere. In addition, both ends of the side slats have a compound miter and must have a mortise precisely placed.

Bob Lang’s approach to this in his chair making class was to use a MDF story stick to sneak up on the exact angles and lengths, which worked very well. I started by cutting two poplar pieces to use for the test fitting. Once I had established the correct compound angles for each end, I fit the parts to length by trial and error, taking light cuts to sneak up on the proper length.

With careful fitting I was able to achieve a tight fit on my test parts. I then laid out the mortises and profile on the slats to match the mortises in the crest rail.

Moving on to the actual parts, I cut the compound angles on each end then cut the mortises using the Leigh FMT.

With the mortises complete, I lay out the curves and profiles and head to the bandsaw to rough out the parts. After bandsawing I clean the parts up quickly with a spokeshave. Later I will finish sand them on the belt sander and break the sharp edges.

The test fit looks good with a snug fit on all parts.

It’s not easy to see in this image, but all three Slat parts were cut from the same blank and kept in order so that the grain will match in the finished chair.

Next Steps: finish up the side slats for the remaining chairs, then start on the angled side aprons.

-- 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"

5 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


4748 posts in 3587 days

#1 posted 03-20-2018 11:34 AM

This is the part of the project where the details are critical but it seems like things are moving so slow that I am always tempted to hurry or take a short cut, usually to my detriment. Looks like you are staying focused and doing some excellent work.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View TungOil's profile


1384 posts in 1734 days

#2 posted 03-20-2018 12:55 PM

You are right about that Earl. And I have been traveling for work the past 6 weeks so it seems like things are moving even slower. These side slats are the hardest part of these chairs, once I get past these the rest should be pretty straight forward.

-- 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"

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4797 days

#3 posted 03-20-2018 03:58 PM

This chair is turning out to be amazing! I’m loving it and it’s really an inspiration, yet daunting at the same time.

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

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4386 days

#4 posted 03-20-2018 06:30 PM

Well, just keep taking your time, and getting things right.

Sometimes I start getting impatient, and just want to get the step done. When that happens, I force myself to take a break, go eat lunch (or just get out of the shop for an hour) and leave the project be for awhile, or even overnight.

After a break, I’m ready to go again!

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

View htl's profile


5576 posts in 2398 days

#5 posted 04-04-2018 07:40 AM

Great project and beautiful work!!!

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

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