Honey Locust Breakfast Bar Island Countertop

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Project by Brian Strothcamp posted 07-06-2018 12:01 AM 1873 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend commissioned me to build a kitchen breakfast bar that needed to match their table made of an unknown tropical species. It measures roughly 10’ x 10’ and 21” wide. I used a 3 step dye process where I artistically wet sand through the layers using 50/50 spirits and wipe on poly as the lubricant (sand a little then wipe off excess, like a toning process). Only the first coat of poly is wet sanded (toning) which also binds the dye. Add additional topcoats then wax to desired sheen.

Existing table I had to match:

Since I’m seeking 8/4 lumber I soon found my selection was slim and quite pricey. I found some Honey Locust from a tree trimmer on Craigslist, which I deemed a perfect fit (and I was running out of time). Below are pictures of what I was working with and had to go back for an identical load.

First step was to rip them, crosscut them in random 24”- 48” pieces, joint and plane them to rough size then stack them outside in a solar kiln for a week to let them finish drying. Just covered with a tarp in full sun and had a small fan running to help move air. The outside temps were nearing 100*F each day that week so it did a great job. They were already air dried for 8 months and measured about 16% moisture in the freshly cut heartwood which I reduced down to 7%.

Final layout, milling and glue up.

Cut and fit the miter then mill for the connecting hardware.

Finishing process was several stages:
Transtint Lemon Yellow Dye
Transtint Honey Amber Dye
Transtint Medium Brown Dye
Wetsand with diluted wipe on poly

And the final product…

9 comments so far

View Rich's profile (online now)


4692 posts in 1040 days

#1 posted 07-06-2018 12:22 AM

Nice work. You did an incredible job matching the color. That’s truly amazing.

Out of curiosity, why go with denatured alcohol instead of water for the Transtint dyes? I’m not questioning the choice, just wanting to learn.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5967 posts in 2859 days

#2 posted 07-06-2018 12:45 AM

Very impressive. The final color is awesome!!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View oldrivers's profile


1769 posts in 2017 days

#3 posted 07-06-2018 12:57 AM

Very nice job, great color match.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Brian Strothcamp's profile

Brian Strothcamp

114 posts in 3144 days

#4 posted 07-06-2018 01:01 AM

Out of curiosity, why go with denatured alcohol instead of water for the Transtint dyes? I m not questioning the choice, just wanting to learn.

- Rich

No real reason really but it does raise the grain less. It probably allowed me to do the other colors quicker due to less drying time between. I never use water on wood… just something my brain has a hard time allowing me to do.

View swirt's profile


4066 posts in 3422 days

#5 posted 07-06-2018 01:52 AM

Quite impressive. Thank you for all the great photos of your process.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Richard's profile


11291 posts in 3483 days

#6 posted 07-06-2018 02:57 AM

Very Nice & Well Done!


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View CincyRW's profile


165 posts in 2101 days

#7 posted 07-06-2018 12:49 PM

Beautiful. The finishing process is impressive. I’d have freaked out when I put the yellow on :) Very very nice – I’m sure the home owners are very pleased.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3317 days

#8 posted 07-06-2018 03:54 PM

These island tops are magnificent and the wood and craftsmanship are beautiful.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Brian Strothcamp's profile

Brian Strothcamp

114 posts in 3144 days

#9 posted 07-06-2018 07:22 PM

I have a sample board which was artificially distressed with a bandsaw but in the end the client decided against it after seeing the woods natural beauty. The initial goal was “rustic” which I strayed away a bit for the best I think.

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