John Hall Frame

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Project by thewoodwhisperer posted 04-18-2009 02:41 AM 6882 views 28 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well here it is folks: the Hall Frame reproduction. This was an incredibly fun project and was one that had a profound effect on me. Having actual contact with the original piece (made in 1909) and creating a reproduction in 2009 just made this project that much more special to me. As you can see above, the frame is a fairly accurate copy in terms of overall shape, size and proportions. (mine is on the left, the original is on the right). Its pretty clear that John Hall did something to color his frame, as it has a distinct red color that is missing from mine. I also made a prototype out of alder which will be a gift for my mom, and you’ll see below how dramatically different the mood of the frame is when made with a lighter colored wood.

I am incredibly proud of this piece and would like to thank Darrell Peart for putting a picture of this piece in his book, since that’s where I first saw it. I would also like to thank Gary Hall (grand-nephew of John Hall) for giving me access to the frame. And I can’t forget to thank my buddy TreeFrog (Brad) for helping me take measurements and photos of the original, and also for exhibiting an enthusiasm equal to my own concerning this project.

This frame will be featured in a future issue of Popular Woodworking, and that’s why the details are a little sparse here on the blog. But I can assure you it will be worth the wait! Hope you guys like it!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

20 comments so far

View Jim's profile


253 posts in 3672 days

#1 posted 04-18-2009 02:58 AM

As usual it’s beautiful Marc!! I will be looking for the issue of Popular Woodworking.

-- Jim in Langley BC Canada ---

View Arnold's profile


215 posts in 3589 days

#2 posted 04-18-2009 03:50 AM

Very very nice, Think the Greene and Hall brothers would definitely hire you. Would like to build one myself.
Great work.

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4300 days

#3 posted 04-18-2009 03:57 AM

What a great piece Marc.. Do you know what issue this will be in yet?

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Devin's profile


164 posts in 3556 days

#4 posted 04-18-2009 04:03 AM

Fantastic Marc…I wish I could see it up close, joinery like that is screaming to be touched. The entire story, from your discovery of the piece to the completion is great. Quick question, is there slightly less arch in your sides then the original or is that just a trick of the eye due to the grain? If it is less, was this intentional and just an artistic decision?

-- If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 3760 days

#5 posted 04-18-2009 04:13 AM

Great job, as always! I never seen such a frame before and I am quite taken with it.

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


604 posts in 4211 days

#6 posted 04-18-2009 04:31 AM

Thanks guys!
Max, I believe they are aiming for the August issue if I am not mistaken.

Devin – The curvature should be exactly the same, with some slight variance due to tracing error (which I hope is minimal). When you lay mine over the original tracing, everything lines up precisely, so I am guessing its a grain illusion. But since the original has a pretty significant roundover, its likely that we have some variability in the tracing.
There is one difference that was completely intentional though. On the original, the left and right vertical frame pieces were not identical. The original has significantly more curve on the inside of the left rail when compared to the right. And the jigsaw puzzle joint is slightly different on each side. If I were doing a one-off, I would have made an exact copy of the original. But since this project was going into the magazine, I had to create a set of plans that was more predictable and reliable. So I chose the right one as my model and duplicated it for the left. This definitely changed things a little bit though. Fortunately, these changes aren’t really visible from the front, but they become more obvious if you look at the backs.

And interestingly enough, despite the difference between the left and right vertical pieces on the original, its hardly even noticeable when you look at it.

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


604 posts in 4211 days

#7 posted 04-18-2009 04:35 AM

I should have mentioned this in the write up, but for those of you who like the design, you might be interested in this. The frame pieces are actually all different thicknesses. This allows the top to sit 1/8” proud of the sides, and the sides sit 1/8” proud of the bottom. Viewing head on this is not all that obvious. But when you see it in person, the variable depth has a very cool effect.

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4246 days

#8 posted 04-18-2009 04:40 AM

Wonderful work! I’ll be looking forward to the issue for sure.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Junji's profile


698 posts in 3409 days

#9 posted 04-18-2009 04:57 AM

Great job! The design of the frame is really unique and interesting. I am sure that the one you made will last 100 years too.

-- Junji Sugita from Japan,

View tinnman65's profile


1357 posts in 3441 days

#10 posted 04-18-2009 02:47 PM

Nice work Marc, and we all know you gotta take care of mom!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3604 days

#11 posted 04-18-2009 06:24 PM

Thanks for sharing this project I really like this frame . I guess I better check out more of you pod cast ,it’s been awhile since I’ve watched any of your projects . Your pod cast is always so well produced and narrated.


-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3382 days

#12 posted 04-18-2009 08:58 PM

Marc, excellent craftsmanship.
I love your work and BTW love the t-shirt I bought.
Larry from downunder

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Woodwrecker's profile


4154 posts in 3603 days

#13 posted 04-19-2009 02:26 AM

Another top notch job from a Master Craftsman Marc.
The Wood Whisperer Rules!

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View steiner's profile


284 posts in 3378 days

#14 posted 04-19-2009 03:50 AM

The amazing Marc. I really need to stop looking at all these great projects and go finish sanding my Spag Special cutting board, and learn how to do some woodworking. This place really is addictive.

-- Scott

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 3726 days

#15 posted 04-20-2009 12:45 PM

Outstanding as usual Marc. Your Mother will absolutely love this, Mothers Day is just around the corner.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

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