Gamble House Side Chairs

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Project by TungOil posted 05-20-2019 03:48 AM 1452 views 7 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A set of 15 dining side chairs in Sapele and ebony with nickel silver pins. These chairs are based on a Greene & Greene design for the Gamble House in Pasadena, as adapted by Darrell Peart and Bob Lang. The leather slip seats were covered by a local upholsterer, Jet Upholstery, who did an excellent job capturing the original Greene & Greene look. This set of chairs took me a little over a year to build. The finish is water borne dye stain topped with water borne lacquer.

Here are the project totals, for those that are interested.

Board feet of Sapele used: 315
4’ x 8’ sheets of 3/4” baltic birch plywood: 2
Number of chair parts fabricated: 285
Number of mortises: 720
Number of floating tenons: 360
Number of square ebony plugs: 405
Number of ebony splines: 120
Quarts of finish used: 10
Hours to complete: 596

You can see all of the details of the build in my blog posts.

Thanks for looking!

-- 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"

14 comments so far

View Jamie McDonald's profile

Jamie McDonald

187 posts in 3446 days

#1 posted 05-20-2019 04:38 AM

Wow! That’s a large project in repeating the same perfect pattern over and over again. Did they turn out as consistent from one chair to the next as you hoped for?

Beautiful chairs and love the Sapele. Are you ready for another 596 hour project?

-- "The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides!" --Artur Schnabel

View EarlS's profile


4634 posts in 3513 days

#2 posted 05-20-2019 11:30 AM

Absolutely gorgeous G&G dining room chairs to go with the equally impressive G&G table. In addition, your blog series on both the table and chairs provide excellent reference material for anyone wanting to make G&G furniture.

Looking forward to reading a blog on a G&G sideboard (??).

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

View horky's profile


322 posts in 4096 days

#3 posted 05-20-2019 11:43 AM

I watched your blog on both the chairs and the table. Amazing work for sure. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

View TucsonTim's profile


80 posts in 1208 days

#4 posted 05-20-2019 12:43 PM

Fantastic. The chairs look great with the Thorsen table. Beautiful work…

-- Tim in Tucson

View CampD's profile


1832 posts in 4651 days

#5 posted 05-20-2019 12:44 PM

Beautiful G&G Chairs, well done!
I did check in on your blog progress.

-- Doug...

View edapp's profile


347 posts in 2595 days

#6 posted 05-20-2019 12:47 PM

Absolutely stunning. These are some of the most beautiful dining chairs I have ever seen. You sir are a master!

View builtinbkyn's profile


3028 posts in 2106 days

#7 posted 05-20-2019 12:53 PM

Wow! Fantastic and all of the accolades expressed before! Just really beautiful and professional looking work. The uniformity of the finish is amazing too. I started following your blog, but life got in the way. I’m going back to read the rest.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View toolfooldan's profile


67 posts in 2804 days

#8 posted 05-20-2019 01:01 PM


View sras's profile


6261 posts in 4295 days

#9 posted 05-20-2019 01:24 PM

Congrats on completed such an impressive project! Can’t wait to see what comes next :)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View pottz's profile (online now)


18893 posts in 2150 days

#10 posted 05-20-2019 02:08 PM

having followed the blog it’s nice to now admire the incredible job you did on these chairs over the course of many months.i think the greene brothers would be quite amazed at the quality and level of work you did,and probably offer you a job! so whats next tung-LOL.

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

View awsum55's profile


1096 posts in 1674 days

#11 posted 05-20-2019 04:02 PM

Those chairs are spectacular looking. Congrats on your DT3 you certainly deserve it. seeing your table and chairs and the sleigh bed, I guess your wife doesn’t ask for anything like a bird house or something simple. You have made some beautiful furniture.

-- John D, OP, KS

View SMP's profile


4464 posts in 1071 days

#12 posted 05-20-2019 04:22 PM

Very nice. I just went to the Gamble house a couple months ago. Those do look very similar to some of the various chairs in the house, nice work!

View splintergroup's profile


5488 posts in 2388 days

#13 posted 05-20-2019 04:45 PM

Chairs baffle me with all the angles, you took it to the next level and excelled!

(Patiently waiting for your next adventure 8^)

View TungOil's profile


1384 posts in 1660 days

#14 posted 05-20-2019 11:34 PM

Thanks everyone for the kind words. This was a fun and very challenging project for me, having never made a chair before. Much credit goes to Bob Lang (and by extension, Darrell Peart) for teaching the Gamble House Side chair class at MASW at just the right time.

To answer some of the questions-

1) Jamie- they came out pretty consistent. All the parts were pattern routed and cut at he same time as a batch, so they are pretty much identical except for some slight glue-up inconsistencies. I’ll be starting the design work on the next project shortly. I don’t expect it to be another 600 hour marathon but it won’t be trivial either.

2) Earl & pottz & splinter- yes the Thorsen sideboard is next in the queue….after a short break to teach my youngest son how to make pens. As luck would have it, MASW is coming through again, this summer Reid Anderson is teaching a bolection inlay class- exactly what I need for the Thorsen sideboard doors!

3) assum- no, SWMBO does not ask for anything easy. The sleigh bed was her wedding gift, at her request (insistence?). I spent 6 months trying to talk her out of it, since on a difficulty scale of 1-10 I scored it an 11 at the time. I finally just gave up and just made it.

4) SMP- you are right, the chairs at the Gamble house all have a similar look/feel with the distinctive crest rail and split center splat flanked by two smaller splats. They do vary in height a bit, but all very similar. Looking closely at the original at the Huntington made me realize just how talented the craftsmen at the Hall’s shop were. The crest rail on the original was probably shaped from a solid 4”x6” block of wood, it’s more like sculpture than furniture. Truly humbling to look upon the results of such talented woodworkers. I am but an amateur by comparison.

-- 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"

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