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Green & Green Hall Table Laconia NH

The top’s breadboard ends with ebony splines was a favorite Greene & Greene design element. Breadboard ends are short boards fastened to each end of the top. The breadboards keep the top flat and conceal unsightly end grain. The Greenes’ unique design allows the solid wood top to expand and contract, even though the breadboard ends are fastened cross-grain.

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Green & Green Hall Table

Green & Green Hall Table

Exquisite detailing turns ordinary into extraordinary.

by Bruce Kieffer

People just love this wonderful little table with its soft-colored mahogany, ebony accents and finger-jointed drawer. The spectacular detailing is characteristic of furniture designed by Charles and Henry Greene. The Greene brothers were prominent architects and furniture designers in Pasadena, Calif., during the early 20th century. They worked closely with Swedish master woodworkers John and Peter Hall to design one-of-a-kind furniture. 

The top’s breadboard ends with ebony splines was a favorite Greene & Greene design element. Breadboard ends are short boards fastened to each end of the top. The breadboards keep the top flat and conceal unsightly end grain. The Greenes’ unique design allows the solid wood top to expand and contract, even though the breadboard ends are fastened cross-grain. Ebony splines (R) cover the breadboard’s tongue-and-groove joints and help conceal the movement of the top (Fig. B, below). The ebony plugs (S, T, Fig. A, below) serve as covers for screw holes. 

The drawer is a real eye-catcher. It features protruding, unequally spaced finger joints and a gently curved drawer handle. The “cloud lifts” on the aprons are another well-known Greene & Greene design element. Without the details, this table just wouldn’t be the same. 

Building the drawer is not as difficult as you might think. We devised a simple system using spacers to position the cuts. You’ll see how easy it is after you’ve made a few test finger joints.

Don’t let all the decorative plugs scare you, either. A couple of inexpensive mortising machine chisels take the tedium out of making square holes and guarantee perfect results. 

This project requires you to work with precision. At the same time, the techniques we’ve developed will minimize the headaches. Be sure to make plenty of extra pieces to test your router and saw setups before machining the final pieces. 

Materials and Machines

We ordered two 12-ft.-long pieces of 5/4 mahogany and asked that the boards come sequentially from the same tree. 

We cut each 12-ft.-long board into three 47-in. boards. The resulting six boards, from which we’ll choose our top, share similar grain and color. The remaining boards will be used for the aprons. The wood will cost you about $250. 

A jointer, planer, tablesaw, bandsaw, router table, drill press and biscuit joiner are required for this project. You’ll also need a handful of standard router bits: a 3-wing slot cutter with arbor and bearing, a rabbeting bit, 3/8-in. and 1/4-in. straight bits, a flush-trim bit, and 1/4-in. and 1/8-in. round-over bits (see Sources, above). Even if you don’t own a mortising machine, you’ll want a pair of 3/8-in. and 1/4-in. mortising chisels to square all the holes and slots for the ebony.

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