A green, Greene and Greene inspired table

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Project by scottb posted 05-29-2007 02:27 AM 7050 views 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Some projects require a trip out to get new materials, others are made from what you have on hand at the time, for the better – or more often – the worse.

After deciding to throw my hat into the Thorsen Table contest ring, I only intended to make my interpretation as “green” as possible. I wouldn’t be buying any new materials, and hopefully I wouldn’t regret that desicion (and in the end, I surely don’t!)

I like the arts and craft style, and I really like the Japanese influence on it. Ironically, while I like much of the G&G work, I don’t care so much for the cloud lift detail. It’s a little “art deco” for my taste.

My first design decision was to find a new spin on that detail. Perhaps something with a natural edge, or a little rustic. I had a couple of boards in mind, however I wasn’t able to find a way to put it together that I liked, or that I could figure out the logistics of (with the materials and tools I have on hand).

After weeks of pondering, lots of research, and several sketches, I was struck with the reminder of a door I had stored away in the shed. It could have been oak, turns out it was fir (I think). I was happy to have enough of the stock I would need, and that all of it was nice and dead flat. This and some of the slate I had would make a nice table all out of reclaimed materials.

All the lumber in this table, the legs, aprons, rails, lower shelf and even the corner glue blocks are all cut from the old door. No other lumber is mixed in. The aprons are all quartersawn (or rift-sawn), the legs are quartersawn, with veneer hiding the two plain sawn faces.

I used the plan dimensions in the size and contruction of this table, though pulled a little inspiration from the original. While I may have eliminated the cloud lifts, and cut outs of the inspiration piece, I kept the authors addition of ‘quirks’ on the legs, rails and aprons. I also added them to the wood frame that supports the slate top, partially giving the illusion that the top is floating a bit above the surface.

The legs are a hair thinner than the original, and the aprons are thinner, and an inch or more shorter, as well. Overall the piece looks nice and light, though well proportioned and sturdy. The scale of the apron comes right from the rail of the door, the shelf on the bottom is the same size, though I did add supports to the back of those rails so a larger slate shelf could be added. After using a handsaw (see blog) to cut the top, I’m not in a rush to do that again. I’m happy with how the table looks as is, but now that I know there is an easier way…. a larger shelf may prove more functional in time.

The slate top, a little over 14” square, is cut from a piece of salvaged chalkboard roughly 1/4 thick. This was sanded and waxed. The slate is attached to a 1” frame that overhangs the legs by about an inch, which looks to be more than the original – which virtually the same overall size as mine.

The top is waxed, the wood – coats of boiled linseed oil and Howards feed and wax.

I mentioned in the project blog that I was surprised how small this table ended up being overall, though it is just the right size to go next to a couch or chair in our living room. From a table I’m likely to never have made, to a great addition to our house – made from the house!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

21 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5220 days

#1 posted 05-29-2007 02:29 AM

Looks great. It shows well. Nice job.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5283 days

#2 posted 05-29-2007 02:41 AM

Well done, Scott… well done.
love that last line: “From a table I’m likely to never have made, to a great addition to our house – made from the house!”. That really makes this one exceptionally wonderful project.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 5284 days

#3 posted 05-29-2007 02:48 AM


I just hope the kids don’t think the top is a chalkboard and write all over it!

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5450 days

#4 posted 05-29-2007 02:56 AM

- Hence the rough side up Bill. I’d write on the smooth side ;)

Thanks all!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5523 days

#5 posted 05-29-2007 03:58 AM

Great completion Scott. And days to spare. Good job there was a three day weekend.

Kind of like Taxes, It sneaks up on us, while in January we know we have lots of time.

A great table, Congratulations on the design and completion.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1821 posts in 5209 days

#6 posted 05-29-2007 04:29 AM

I really like it Scott…very clean…like you I’m not a big fan of the cloud lift…..seems to stray from the clean lines idea. The slate is a very nice touch….the float makes it look lighter. I also like the whole door idea.

Nice use of recycled materials. I just stripped 4 doors and they are all quartersawn as well…great lumber if I wasn’t refinishing them.

Great design and execution….congrats on finishing.

-- Bob

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5437 days

#7 posted 05-29-2007 05:34 AM

Nice and simple design. I like the slate.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5369 days

#8 posted 05-29-2007 05:39 AM

Very nice Scott, you might have added another shelf though, more room for your trophys. But a very good build. You should be proud. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5159 days

#9 posted 05-29-2007 07:33 AM

That did come out great. It’s been a good read, following it’s progress!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5422 days

#10 posted 05-29-2007 01:40 PM

Beautifully done Scott,
That old door was waiting a long time for something like this. A nice table hiding under that old paint.
That’s what we need, more recycling.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5283 days

#11 posted 05-29-2007 01:49 PM

what’s wrong with writing on the slate? (says the teacher in me??)

I’d be putting it beside my bed with some chalk and when I wake up in the night with a brilliant idea I could just reach over and jot it down… then it would be there in the morning for me!! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Sawhorse's profile


286 posts in 5563 days

#12 posted 05-29-2007 02:01 PM

Nice job, Scott

-- Sawhorse - Sulphur Springs, TX -

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5200 days

#13 posted 05-29-2007 03:04 PM

Scott, this is a great piece of woodworking art. Nice job. Greater because of it being made of recycled materials.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View fred's profile


256 posts in 5221 days

#14 posted 05-29-2007 06:22 PM

The clean lines make this an elegant table. Congratulations.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 5248 days

#15 posted 05-30-2007 11:44 PM

Scott, that looks great!- very nice work! I to am a fan of using re-claimed wood, but man you took it to a whole new level. I really enjoyed your blog and watching this come together!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

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