Friday, May 22, 2009

Hand Made Modern...Take 3

A Fall Front Desk in Walnut

O.k. so my last few blogs have been about other people's handy work, hand tools and the like and I'm happy to say that I'm back in the wood shop working again on my own projects.
These last few weeks have been busy with life outside of the wood shop so it'll be great to make some shavings again. I'm working on a new piece that follows in the realm of the 'hand made modern' line I'd been designing over the past year. The first was the walnut entertainment cabinet and the second the walnut and aluminum sideboard. This new piece is also made from solid walnut with an interesting take on some through dovetails I've been calling a finger tail split... It's basically a technique where I cut wide through dovetails as per normal procedure and then split each one again with a finger joint. It makes for a unique look but can be a little tricky to execute. The photo shows the main carcass dry fit together with the door panel glued up in the foreground. The upper main carcass is a basic box with a fitted interior secretary incorporating drawers and shelves. The door panel will have bread board face and the cabinet will have a rabbeted back dust panel. The leg frame will really be the component that transforms this piece from a simple dovetailed box and draw it into a more, Mid-Century Modern vein. (at least that's the plan on paper) Funny how things can change when you start to 'get into the grain'.
I'll be posting some more details as I go so stay tuned...
Work really does make life sweet!


  1. Tom,

    I experimented with a rust stain on black walnut. I mixed old nails and steel wool in a shallow dish, spraying them with a salty solution as needed, and in a week had a good slurry of liquid rust that got poured over cheesecloth.
    The "stain" reacts with the tannin in the wood and I really like the results on some dining table legs I made a year ago. In the same room I can see a coffee table I made twenty years ago that had an oil finish and compare its color with the walnut on the new table legs, and, I have to say, I prefer the latter. Also, the rust stain penetrated pretty deep, which enabled me to wet- sand a slurry of varnish, wiping crossgrain to fill the grain a bit.



  2. Handsome dovetails - the effect is similar to the decorative half blind dovetails used on Bermuda sea chests of old.