03/20/12
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Brad’s kitchen

My first shop was located in my friend Brad’s garage and we agreed that as payment for rent I’d build him a kitchen a little at a time, when I had time. He wanted a kitchen that was unique and showcased different types of wood- we both dislike how a lot of kitchens are made up of what I call “walls of wood”; monotone swaths of a single species of wood of little character. We spent a lot of time over a lot of beers coming up with ideas for the pulls (these were drawn on a bar napkin at Bukowski’s), designs and storage options.

The cabinet boxes are 3/4″ pre-finished maple and the face frames, drawer fronts and door frames are solid cherry. The door panels are a mix of veneers- I emailed the guys at Certainly Wood, gave them my rough panel sizes and explained what we wanted- any remnants of veneer they had that would go well with cherry. The first order they put together looked great and we bought it- spalted maple, curly cherry, bubinga and kewazinga. I also used some flat-sawn mahogany and sapele that I had laying around to fill in where we needed misc panels. While the veneer was on it’s way Brad built a vacuum pump set-up and I made the bag and plattens for my new veneer press. (For more details on the veneer press go here).

For most of the pulls I used a 1 3/8″ forstner bit to drill 1/2″ deep holes, into which I glued discs of copper that Brad had cut out and treated to give a nice patina. Over that I glued on thin strips of curly maple, purpleheart, ebony and bubinga to create the pulls.

Other notes-

– the door tenons are pinned with brass brads

– where doors meet in pairs the side-by-side stiles are cut from the same board to match grain, the same goes for the top and bottom rails on all doors

– the drawer boxes are solid dovetailed maple

– there are trash and recycling pull-outs (not shown)

– there is a very shallow functioning drawer beneath the cooktop to hold thin utensils

– there are matching glass-panel upper cabinets in the dining room

– Brad finished the entire kitchen by hand with Danish oil and varnish

I can’t say enough about Certainly Wood- the are very helpful, knowledgable and have an enormous selection of veneer. Years before I built this kitchen, while riding my motorcyle, I barely made it off the road and into their office before the skies opened up in a torrential downpour. While I waited for over an hour for the rain to subside and the roads to clear one of their employees poured me some coffee and told me to look around as long I wanted.

To see a few images of the cabinets in the shop click here.

03/17/12
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Harvard House projects

This asian inspired entertainment cabinet was one of two projects built to a designer’s specifications. There are wire chases and vent louvers in the back, adjustable interior shelving and the doors swing on brass knife hinges. Constructed of poplar solids and birch plywood, the distressed finish consists of two colors of white paint and a brown glaze under lacquer. 

The pics below are of built-in cabinets at the same residence and for the same designer. Built in 6 pieces and installed primed +1 (primed with one coat of paint, the final coats to be done after installation, in this case by the client’s painter) , they span over 9′ wide and hold electronics as well as clothing and jewelry. The angled doors on the sides pull out for easy access to stainless steel shelves.

03/16/12
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Campanella built-in desk

A simple built-in desk, with adjustable shelves, pencil and file drawers and a removable panel in the knee-space to hide computer wires (see last pic). The drawer boxes are solid dovetailed maple with Blum undermount sides. To be able to fit everything into the tiny elevator I constructed it in 7 major components that had been pre-assembled in the shop. I also pre-cut all of the copes and miters on the trim pieces, to make for less cutting indoors. It is made of cherry ply and cherry solids with 4 coats of Arm-R-Seal.

After the installation I felt that the cherry looked very pale next to the Stickley antiques in the room. The clients were away for a few more days so I thought I’d try an experiment- I bought a few heavy duty UV reptile bulbs and left them on to see if they would speed the darkening process. After 24 hours I returned and removed a strategically placed piece of painters tape and there was a slight but noticable difference. I left the lights on for a few more days and it actually helped, thankfully the guy at the pet store told me he would accept the bulbs back for a full refund- because he wanted to know if would work too.