Greene & Greene Style

There was a discussion a few months ago about Darrell Peart's book on Greene & Greene furniture (www.furnituremaker.com).
I got to meet and take a weekend class from him last summer to learn some of the details on this style. Thought I'd share the office suite I did based on things he taught.
The desk is a straight reproduction of the desk you can find on his website (thanks for his gracious help to me and answering my inane and amateur questions). The credenza (shared some pics of it on the binaries site a few months ago) is loosely based on the Thorsen house sideboard and from an article several years back in Fine Woodworking. The computer table is my own based on elements from both the desk and credenza that seems to tie it altogether.
Made from claro walnut acquired from a friend in Northern CA (thanks Beau!).
For anyone interested I have a slideshow in photobucket (did a tinyurl just to make sure it came through OK): http://www.tinyurl.com/d88cte .
Gary A in KC
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I really like the way you brought those cloud lifts into the top drawers on the desk. Looks fantastic. Kudos
r
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nice nice work.
(Fellow classmate)
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hey Sonoma! I even made the leg indent jig and indented the 8 legs on the computer desk. Remember how much fun it was to sand the one leg we made? Try it times 8!
Gary A in KC
wrote:

Greene
of
on
website
few
own
Beau!).
just
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yeah I guess that's 8 x 4 sides, lots o' nickitty little sanding I must say.
The leg jig I used in the class was a little sloppy and my leg indent ramps are a little inconsistent. I could have fixed them but I got the idea and didn't feel the need.
I have played around with the technique used in the jig to create that ramp effect on the leg detail and I have a great idea I'll use soon that will surely get a few "how'd he do that?" questions from other wood-dorkers.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nice stuff.
Bunch of questions
If all that Claro are actually solid boards, you've got a chunk of change in wood in these pieces - crotch and bookmatched at that ain't cheap - nor readily available. Any veneer in any parts and if so - where?
How much fun and games were involved in getting the matching "cloud lifts" in the drawer faces? Having a little gap makes things a little easier, slight differences in the matching curves aren't as obvious as literally a light tight joint that's in a G&G sconce I had a go at doing. Light would literally show out ANY gaps between matching "lift" parts. http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/CBsconce/Asconce.html
I imagine having a drawer face with a "lift" must've presented a challenge when doing the joinery. Dovetails?
Are the panels in the arched top sides of the desk set in rabbets or actually multi-depth grooves? If the former, how are they held in place and still allow for wood expansion and contraction?
The one thing I find incongruous are the drawer pulls. The little dowels look too delicate. If you had access to a lathe you could turn fatter ones - with a smaller tenon on the ends to fit in the ebony supports - and turn end caps to match. G&G did do some parts that aren't actually what they appear to be. Stickly really got into hiding the ACTUAL joinery (often wood screws) with inlayed, or even overlayed "ends of tenons".
Anway - nice set.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie, All the tops, drawer faces, structural pieces and obvious boards (like stretchers) are the claro - and yes, I have a pretty penny in to the wood. There's isn't any crotch - it's all just really figured pieces. The tops for the 3 pieces came from a 17 board flitch of a single 6 foot log, all 4/4 bandsaw milled (by a friend in CA who does the lumber as a sideline of his woodworking business. If anyone's interested he can be contacted through www.robertbeauchamp.com). Since it's all from the same flitch, I was able to do some really attractive (to me anyway) bookmatches - the density of the figure does make it look like there's some crotch there.
The drawers are one of my cheats. The original Darrell Peart desk does do exposed/proud finger joints for the drawer faces (take a look at furnituremaker.com for his great work). He uses solid wood throughout and exposes the finger joint joinery for that nice Greene & Greene detail. I didn't want to spend yet another small fortune on solid walnut for the drawers so I did false drawer fronts over dovetailed poplar drawers. Where the drawer faces have the cloudlift detail (it's actually inspired by the Aurora bridge in Seattle says Darrell), the drawers are just sized to fit the smallest part of the opening. I just created a traced template of the opening and used it to create the drawer faces. A little light planing and sanding to get the fit. And you're right, since it has a gap around it, the fit doesn't have to be perfect - just visually correct.
Panels around sides and back of the desk are veneered panels. Bookmatched quartersawn curly walnut (can't make a claim to the species). On the sides the top arch is cut and shaped in the 1" rail and then rabbeted to accept the 3/4" veneered panel - biscuits between panels and rails for alignment to keep them flush on the interior. That gives a flat interior panel for the drawer hardware and for web frames between the drawers. And since it's veneered panels, expansion isn't an issue.
On the drawer pulls, I was a little worried about their stability as well until I made the first test sample and tried it out. It's actually 3/8 doweling and not a chance that it will break. The weak point of the handles is actually the ebony parts which have been bored to accept the dowels. There's only about 1/8 to 3/16 of ebony left around the bore holes - only time will tell if that's going to be a problem. Darrell has been making his like this for years with no problems, though.
And on the rest of the exposed joinery and "tenon caps", if I don't have to make any more ebony plugs for a few years I'll be happy. There are probably 200 plugs total in the 3 pieces. Each one is individually "pillowed" so it's surfaced is softly crowned, sanded and polished, cut (about a 1/4 deep), beveled and hammered/tapped into place. For the most part, they're ornamental on my pieces, but the do cover screws on the finger joints of the desk base.I tried to convince by 14 year old how much fun it was to make these, but after making about 40 one afternoon, he mysteriously disappeared on shop days.
Thans for the questions and nice comments.
Gary A in KC

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gary A in KC wrote:

NNNNNNNNNNNNNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Great job on the book matches!
My hat is off to you.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
very very cool. I want to build one too. Send me some wood! can't get that stuff around here easily. Wait - can't get any decent wood in do dah flat land (Wichita KS) anymore. Big blue and orange dun rut every one oft.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm in Overland Park and you won't find that wood around here either. Fortunate to have an old college friend in CA who harvests his own wood for his fine woodworking business. He wood ain't cheap but it's some of the most beautiful wood I've ever worked with. I trusted him to pick out the wood I'd need based on some pretty loose specs I gave him. Best boards were a 17 board flitch from a 6' log for all the tops. You can see some of his work at www.robertbeauchamp.com and if interested in getting some shipped to you - he ships this stuff all over the country.
Gary A in KC

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gary A in KC wrote:

Wow. That is really nice.
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ditto all the kudos. I'm curious the thinking behind placing the the stretcher across the bottom front of the credenza. What led you to do that rather than, oh, some other options?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Mark/Juanita had asked kind of the same thing when I first posted some pics of the credenza a few months ago. The "credenza" is really a dining room server/sideboard style based on a lot of the Greene & Greene ultimate bungalow houses. This and the computer desk are "interpretations" of the Thorsen House sideboard. I modified it's interior so it works well for me in my office (like a large lateral file drware).
Take a look at this slideshow from popular woodworking: http://blogs.popularwoodworking.com/editorsblog/content/binary/GnGSlides1.pdf One of the last slides is a pretty good shot of the sideboard but there's a lot of great shots of the house and it's designs. I'm a huge fan of this style (kinda obvious I know). I'd been looking for ideas for new furniture for my office at work and this really hit home for me.
Gary A in KC
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.