Walnut cabinets

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Project by Jim Kuehl posted 07-19-2016 04:51 PM 1989 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I’ve been a lurker on this site for some time – hanging back, admiring the work of others, using it as inspiration, but not contributing much. Time to post something.

About 2 years ago my brother-in-law was able to get me this black walnut log. Of course the wife said “what are you going to do with THAT?”. Of course my reply was “I’ll think of something”. So I went about having it cut, stacking it lovingly in the basement and waiting. And Waiting. And waiting some more. I had some 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4. I always heard the rule of thumb for air drying was 1 year per inch. The countertop was 6/4 and it wasn’t dried 1 1/2 years… but so far no movement.

Anyways, I bought a lake cabin about a year ago, and the wife decided that the first needed project was kitchen cabinets… and my mind went directly to the walnut. To the basement I went, turning rough sawn boards into finished lumber. I quickly learned that is a project unto itself!! I’d bet that 25% of my time on this entire project was spent planing and jointing rough board into finished lumber, and I have a new respect for that process. I’ve attached a picture of my raw material, on the trailer and ready to go.

As you can see I was very lucky to find that the lumber I ended up with was nicely figured, resulting in in a beautiful end product. I spent a ton of time on this project but in the end, I think most of the beauty comes from the wood itself. As for finishing I went with 2-3 coats of shellac on the carcasses, face frames, doors and drawers. I really like using it because it dries so quickly and you can easily take out any imperfections with minimal time investment. On the countertop I used tung oil and wet sanding to smooth it out. Final 2 coats on the top is satin finish Arm-R-Seal.

Overall I’m very pleased with how this turned out. There are a few imperfections but my heart is at peace with them. See what you think.

Jim (former lurker)

10 comments so far

View Matt Hegedus's profile

Matt Hegedus

147 posts in 2283 days

#1 posted 07-19-2016 07:01 PM

Looks like a lot of very rewarding work Jim! Very nice!

Did you have a local Sawyer rough cut it?

-- From Pittsburgh, PA

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4357 days

#2 posted 07-19-2016 09:23 PM

Very nice piece of work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View whistlingwoodies's profile


43 posts in 2511 days

#3 posted 07-20-2016 12:49 AM

Nice work. Here is a article with more specific drying times for different species, at different times of year, in different places around the US. My 4/4 soft maple was done in one month.

View Ken90712's profile


18123 posts in 4679 days

#4 posted 07-20-2016 08:20 AM

Very nice!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3833 days

#5 posted 07-20-2016 01:02 PM

looks great

View Jim Kuehl's profile

Jim Kuehl

16 posts in 3463 days

#6 posted 07-20-2016 03:38 PM

Thanks, guys for the compliments!

Matt – yes – I was able to find a local guy through craigslist that would saw it for me. Another hobbyist with just a bit more invested than me. He was very reasonably priced and gave me a lot of input into the sawing process and let me be somewhat hands-on (of course I wanted to help).

Whistlingwoodies – thanks for the reference material – I’ll sleep better knowing my stuff was dry a year ago :)

One of the neat things I learned through this process is that there’s a bunch of lumber out there for the taking (when there’s not snow on the ground) if you’re willing to start with logs. So my new hobby is searching out logs on CL. It’s a bunch of work, but very rewarding.

View Derfss2003's profile


112 posts in 2208 days

#7 posted 07-20-2016 10:15 PM

looks nice

-- Love the smell of snow in the morning.

View JCantin's profile


185 posts in 4902 days

#8 posted 07-21-2016 06:39 PM

Loving it!

View GTR14's profile


9 posts in 2279 days

#9 posted 07-21-2016 07:44 PM

Looks great!

-- Gregg

View Tzweber's profile


46 posts in 1369 days

#10 posted 11-07-2018 01:49 AM

Beautiful cabinets. I can’t believe that log had so much character in it. You even did the drawers out of that material?

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