Greene & Greene Gamble House Side Chair #23: Rounding Parts and Establishing Plug Locations- Part 1

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Blog entry by TungOil posted 05-24-2018 01:37 AM 2737 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: Lower Stretchers Part 23 of Greene & Greene Gamble House Side Chair series Part 24: Plug Locations and Square Holes- Part 2 »

With the lower stretchers rough cut and the cloud lifts formed, I move on to some of the detail work.

First, I round over the edges of the lower stretcher parts with a 1/8” round over bit in the router table. With the rounding complete, I compare 3/16” and 1/4” square ebony plugs for size on the lower stretcher.

The 3/16” plug looks better to my eye so I cut 3/16” square holes in all of the stretcher parts using the Lee Valley square punch. Except for a bit of hand work on the cloud lifts and final sanding, these parts are ready to assemble.

Next, I work on getting the front legs ready. The sides of the front legs are angled to match the angle of the side aprons. I lay out the angle and cut the legs on the table saw, making sure to keep the right and left legs oriented correctly. I round them over on the router table and set aside, ready for square plug holes and final sanding.

Next, I round over the edges of the front and side aprons and set those parts aside for final sanding.

Before I begin rounding over the back legs and crest rail, I establish the locations for all of the plug holes. I like to do this with the actual plugs whenever possible, but I’m short on 1/4” ebony plugs so I make up a handful. This chair has 27 ebony plugs in total, plus 8 ebony bars. Not a lot by Greene & Greene standards, but with 15 chairs in the works that’s over 400 plugs and 120 bars.

There are a lot of ways to make these plugs but I use a method that I find fast and repeatable. I head to the lathe and make up a batch using the process I worked out on a previous project. I start with a handful of long 1/4” ebony plug stock mounted in a four jaw chuck. I can make the plugs in batches by forming a plug on each end of several sticks, then cut them off and repeat.

I form the initial pillow shape with a file, then finish up with a 400 grit sanding sponge. This does not leave a polished finish, but since I will be spraying these chairs with lacquer when completed the 400 grit is sufficient.

With a few plugs ready, I establish the locations for all of the square holes in the crest rail and upper part of the legs.

Next steps: finish rounding over the back leg assembly components, cut the square holes and fabricate a batch of ebony plugs.

-- 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"

2 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


4754 posts in 3593 days

#1 posted 05-24-2018 11:20 AM

Looks like you are “plugging” away at it….. yep you knew that pun was coming.

It’s surprising how many plugs and bars are on any given piece of G&G furniture. Without them, though, the piece doesn’t look nearly as nice.

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

View sras's profile


6350 posts in 4375 days

#2 posted 05-24-2018 03:57 PM

Looking good!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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