Greene & Greene Thorsen Sideboard

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Blog series by TungOil updated 09-26-2020 01:22 PM 11 parts 12130 reads 53 comments total

Part 1: Design work and upskilling

07-13-2019 03:25 AM by TungOil | 3 comments »

Now that my Thorsen inspired dining table and Gamble House inspired chairs are completed, it’s time to tackle the Thorsen sideboard. Those that have visited the Huntington Library’s Greene & Greene exhibit will probably be familiar with this magnificent piece. To my eye, the proportions of the original sideboard are perfect, I don’t see any need to modify the design. A search of the Greene & Greene archives at the USC Digital Library turned up the drawings for the Thorsen Ho...

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Part 2: Bolection inlay class

08-22-2019 02:07 AM by TungOil | 8 comments »

The bolection inlay class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking was well worth the 10 hour drive. Reid Eric Anderson taught the class over a weekend. The class project was a small portion of the inlay from the Thorsen House sideboard. Reid uses a combination of CNC and laser cutting to create the recesses and pieces for the inlay. He developed a clever method that uses a secondary working panel (shown on the left below) with slightly oversized recesses to allow carving of the inlay pieces....

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Part 3: Sideboard Design

08-27-2019 01:39 AM by TungOil | 4 comments »

For the design work on this sideboard, I start by purchasing a copy of the original Greene & Greene drawing for the Thorsen House Furniture from the digital archives at USC. There are no dimensions, but having visited the Huntington Library last year I have the overall size of the piece which allows me to scale the drawing and get very close. Combined with the photos I took of the original, I am able to draw up the sideboard in CAD to the point of being able to create the drawings neede...

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Part 4: Material Prep

09-03-2019 03:47 AM by TungOil | 4 comments »

With my design work essentially complete, it’s time to start rough cutting the Sapele for the solid wood parts. I start with the lower stretchers. Using the pattern routing templates, I lay out the parts to align the grain on some 8/4 stock. After rough cutting the overall shape on the bandsaw, I joint one face and one edge of the boards, then plane to clean up the other side. Then, it’s back to the bandsaw to resaw the parts, followed by another trip to the planer for a final clea...

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Part 5: Mortising

12-21-2019 02:48 AM by TungOil | 9 comments »

With the rough material preparation complete, I work on bringing the stock to final dimensions and cutting the mortises. I start by flattening one face of each part on the jointer, then square up one adjacent edge. The opposite face is planed parallel and then the part is cut to width on the table saw. To clean up any saw marks left by the table saw, I make a final pass on the jointer. This sideboard is like a 3D puzzle. I mark the parts carefully to be sure I keep them correctly ori...

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Part 6: Veneering the Panels

12-30-2019 05:33 PM by TungOil | 12 comments »

With the majority of the joinery completed, I move on to making the veneered panels. I use a vacuum press to attach the 1/16” sapele veneer to the Baltic birch cores. The veneer is arranged in a book match pattern. To assure a tight fit between the veneers, I first pull them together with a stretchy blue tape on the back side. The elastic nature of the tape helps pull the joint tight. Once taped and tight, I flip the veneers over and apply a strip of veneer tape down the center o...

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Part 7: Cloud Lifts and Square Plugs

03-13-2020 04:52 PM by TungOil | 3 comments »

With my panel veneering completed, I move on to the detail work for the carcass. Most of the edges get a 1/8” round over, so I handle those on the router table. Most of the rounding work can be completed with a standard router bit, but the slots in the lower stretchers are too narrow for the pilot bearing on a standard bit. For those, I switch to a special bit with a very small pilot bearing, as seen in this image. The cloud lifts and slots on the lower stretchers require ...

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Part 8: Carcass Assembly

03-17-2020 10:02 PM by TungOil | 2 comments »

With all of the carcass components cut and sanded, I begin assembly of the case components. I do the glue-up in stages, working on sub-assemblies of the carcass one at a time. First I glue up each pair of front and back legs with the associated rails and panels. Once those four sub-assemblies are completed, I glue up the center (drawer) section, then finally add the outer (door) sections to complete the carcass. Before I begin the glue-up of the leg sub-assemblies, I cut the holes for...

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Part 9: Bottom and Back Panels

04-01-2020 03:21 PM by TungOil | 5 comments »

With the carcass glued up, I now fit the back and bottom panels. These panels are sapele veneered Baltic birch, 3/4” cores for the case bottoms and 1/2” for the case back. Since the back of this piece will normally be against the wall and unseen, appearance is not as important as other parts of the project. I use inset back panels rather than rail and stile type panels to help simplify the construction. I begin by cutting a 3/8” rabbet around the back of the carcas...

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Part 10: Constructing the Top

07-04-2020 03:11 PM by TungOil | 0 comments »

With the majority of the casework completed, I focus on construction of the top. The finished top consists of a 24-3/4” wide center panel with breadboard ends, along with the usual ebony plugs and splines. I begin by resawing a 13” wide, 78” long 8/4” sapele board into two 4/4 boards. After wrestling this piece of lumber through the bandsaw, I am rewarded with two nicely bookmatched boards. I also revealed an end check that will have to be cut off. I stack an...

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Part 11: Drawer Fabrication

09-26-2020 01:22 PM by TungOil | 3 comments »

With the top completed, I move on to fabricating and installing the drawers. The drawers on this sideboard are 42” wide and quite deep. I elected to use commercial Blum full extension HD drawer slides and 5/8” thick hard maple for the drawer sides. Combined with a 1/2” baltic birch bottom the set up should be strong yet still work smoothly. I begin by preping some rough hard maple for the sides. Since the bottom drawer is is about 9-1/2” deep, which exceeds the...

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