Greene and Greene 'tea tray'

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Project by dadefreese posted 03-22-2009 04:03 AM 5937 views 6 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My college roomie lives in Pasadena, not far from the Gamble House of G&G fame. We’ve spoken about their style of work, but he’s not into woodworking or that much into their specific motif. I decided to surprise him with a little project – it was his 40th B’day, he had just finished talking about how much he likes various teas and I had a bit of time to explore a bit.

It’s not entirely faithful to G&G; it’s made of oak, I used brass screws instead of pins, and I omitted any ebony pegs on the finger joints. I was ready to add them, but my sketch and instincts told me it looked just a bit too busy for such a small project.

That said, I think I got a few basic elements right and the way I liked. In order to set the panel inside the 4 sides, I made a rabbet on the long side finger joints; that allows me to run the groove in all four sides without exposing it. Also, I like that the finger joints are thinner on the short side and thicker on the long sides; it seems better proportioned that way. Also, I ebonized the top with Japan ink (Speedball brand permanent ink is superior to all other ‘black’ methods I tried). I cut the finger joints ‘by eye’ with the table saw and a cross cut sled. I made my first ever jig to use a flush trim bit for the cloud lifts. In all, I did it all in only about 8 – 10 hours….spread over 2 weeks due to other commitments, building new jigs, de-cluttering my work area in preparation and, of course, scratching my head over what I wanted to do!

When you tally up the cost for materials, my new goodies I bought and made in preparation for this project, and the shipping – I could have bought a $10 tray online, but that’s the difference when you make something on your own, eh?

8 comments so far

View Chris's profile


339 posts in 3320 days

#1 posted 03-22-2009 04:32 AM

I wouldn’t know Greene and Greene from Cheech and Chong, but I like the way your tray looks. I bet you buddy does too – I don’t know anyone that doesn’t appreciate a hand made gift.

-- Chris

View MrMark's profile


31 posts in 3338 days

#2 posted 03-22-2009 06:21 AM

I really like your tray, particularly the joinery decisions and top ebonized accent with the brass, I would say I’m not personally fond of the “big wide grain” of flatsawn oak these days -I’ve been using so much lately so I’m just probably unduly biased :)

Nice project I’m sure he’ll appreciate it very much. Thanks for posting.

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4362 days

#3 posted 03-22-2009 06:37 AM

A great looking tray. It looks a lot like a greene and Greene tray might have looked.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4067 days

#4 posted 03-25-2009 08:24 PM

Actually, if I recall, the hall brothers often used brass screws, not pins, and simply filed off the top until it was flush with the surface. =)

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 2608 days

#5 posted 06-13-2011 03:43 AM

Chris- I want a Cheech and Chong Tea tray.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View Josh's profile


1226 posts in 2531 days

#6 posted 04-25-2012 07:01 PM

All in all I think your tray is very.

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View Josh's profile


1226 posts in 2531 days

#7 posted 04-25-2012 07:01 PM

He he he. Nice, very nice.

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3547 days

#8 posted 04-25-2012 07:24 PM

Beautiful tray I don’t think the srews help though sorry. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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