Kitchen Cart

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Project by Fotodog posted 05-03-2019 01:55 AM 1036 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m a photographer and was asked to get a kitchen cart by my food stylist., So being a woodworker, of course I built one. It’s made from walnut and maple. There are a couple of ways to make the edge grain top and shelves. My approach was to glue up the walnut center sections first, trim to size, and then add the 2 maple end strips. After they dried, they were trimmed off flush and the 2 maple side strips were added. Process repeated until the final length and width were reached.

The frame was much simpler, consisting of just 2 end sections consisting of 2 vertical legs and 3 cross braces each. I debated adding braces that ran the length of the cart, but given the thickness of the shelves, I thought they were not necessary. I was right, and the result is a bit more room to access the shelves.

I assembled the frame with my newest acquisition in tools, the Dowelmax. I am sold on this method of joinery, as long as exposed joinery is not part of the design. The Dowelmax produces joints very quickly, that are very strong and precise. I have no affiliation with them, I just appreciate a very well made tool that delivers as promised.

I struggled a bit with the finish. I wanted something that brought out the richness of the walnut, but didn’t yellow the maple too much. After doing lots of reading online, I tested 3 different finishes on scraps; Minwax WipeOn Poly, Formsby Tung Oil finish (not real Tung Oil I think), and Watco Danish Oil finish. The Minwax WipeOn Poly was discounted immediately, providing almost no richness to the Walnut. The other 2 did provide that richness, but also yellowed the maple. I decided that I could live with that, and used the Watco.

I followed the directions to the letter; flood on a coat, wait 15 minutes, flood on another coat, wait 15 minutes, and wipe off the excess. It was supposed to dry overnight, but took about 6 days! Even then it was still a bit tacky. And while my tests looked good on my scraps, I didn’t like the uneven shine on the edge grain, which runs in different directions. After some deliberation, I sanded off much of the finish with 220 grit sandpaper. This knocked down the sheen to a matte finish, and removed a lot of the yellow cast in the maple. The walnut lost some richness, but not too much. And when I followed this up with 2 coats of paste wax, I got a result that I liked.

I would love to hear some recommendations on finishing maple and walnut projects from some of the experts here, who are far more experienced than me. Thanks!

-- Tim

7 comments so far

View torus's profile


546 posts in 1694 days

#1 posted 05-03-2019 02:11 AM

Good looking cart!

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

View therealSteveN's profile


9206 posts in 1855 days

#2 posted 05-03-2019 02:50 AM

Nice cart.

In the future go with water base against your light woods like Maple when you want minimal yellowing. If it has oil, it will yellow. Your other choice is an ultra blond shellac, after it is well dried you can topcoat it, and avoid excessive yellowing. BUT, more coats of anything increase that yellow effect.

For a strong, plays hard, finish and keeping white wood white, try Sherwin Williams CAB-acrylic lacquer It will cost a lot more than the Miniwax though.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Fotodog's profile


91 posts in 1060 days

#3 posted 05-03-2019 02:53 AM

Thanks Steve. Do any of the water base finishes provide a nice richness to walnut?

-- Tim

View Ivan's profile


17046 posts in 4148 days

#4 posted 05-03-2019 12:11 PM

Those boards realy upgraded othervice ordinary piece of furniture -realy good work, I could have it in living room also as liquer stand.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Bill_Steele's profile


779 posts in 3012 days

#5 posted 05-03-2019 02:38 PM

It’s a beautiful cart. I really like the contrast in woods and the inner border.

It sounds like the center panel is solid Walnut. Do you have any concerns about expansion/contraction of the Walnut center section? Hopefully movement will be minimal and/or the Maple and the Walnut will expand/contract at similar rates.

View Fotodog's profile


91 posts in 1060 days

#6 posted 05-03-2019 03:44 PM

Thanks Bill. I love the look of maple and walnut together.

The center is made up of edge gluing strips of walnut about 3/4”, with the grain running in opposite directions for some. I’m hoping this will minimize wood movement.

-- Tim

View pottz's profile


21264 posts in 2265 days

#7 posted 05-03-2019 04:06 PM

very nice looking cart,well made.great job.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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