Cherry and walnut display case

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Project by RCCinNC posted 11-12-2019 03:50 AM 671 views 6 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A while back, a friend and neighbor from our previous home of twenty years past called and very generously offered some rough cut cherry lumber that he and his wife have been transferring from one domicile to another since the early sixties. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I jumped on the opportunity, only to find what appeared to be approximately ten or so 8 ft boards that had suffered severe bug infestation, some of the exposed sap wood literally crumbling in my hands as I loaded it into my van. My friend asked if I would make a small bookcase from the material for them and keep the rest for myself, only if I had the time…and with no expectation or requirement that I do it.

This material was a challenge. Two of the boards were so bad I pretty much tossed them. As a surprise bonus, three of the boards were actually dark walnut. It took me a good year to get around to working with it. Once planed, I was rewarded with mostly curly cherry heartwood of beautiful color, and the walnut, though a bit stained and a bug damaged, to be beautiful as well.

The above case is the result. The side panels are standard mortise and tenon rails and stiles with walnut inserts. The rails are dadoed for the shelving, with the shelf tenons slightly smaller then the dadoes to allow for movement. The shelves are attached with screws through the stiles, the screw holes slotted to also allow for wood expansion/contraction, and plugged with 1/2” square walnut plugs. I finished with four coats Minwax tung oil finish and three coats of paste wax.

It was truly a pleasure to see my friends faces light up when I delivered the case today. Admittedly, given the tremendous amount of waste, there’s not much left for my personal use, but the joy of working with this gorgeous wood was a reward in itself.

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

16 comments so far

View swirt's profile


4390 posts in 3534 days

#1 posted 11-12-2019 04:33 AM

Wow. I like the design and the wood combination. Flawless.

-- Galootish log blog,

View WhattheChuck's profile


372 posts in 4122 days

#2 posted 11-12-2019 04:44 AM

I think those folks get the ‘Lucky Ducky’ award! Well, as long as the bugs were actually dead!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View jeff's profile


1186 posts in 4027 days

#3 posted 11-12-2019 06:15 AM

Really nice build.I like the contrast in the woods.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3444 posts in 4274 days

#4 posted 11-12-2019 06:58 AM

The wood is lovely and the design really shows it off! I hope it doesn’t get too cluttered with books so that it covers up the beautiful cherry shelves. I really like the open design, but how do you keep it from racking?


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


539 posts in 109 days

#5 posted 11-12-2019 06:58 AM

Beautiful cabinet.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: It is wiser to find out, than to suppose (S. Clemens)

View Peteybadboy's profile


1351 posts in 2511 days

#6 posted 11-12-2019 11:13 AM

Great wood combo, the side design is really cool.

-- Petey

View awsum55's profile


716 posts in 1070 days

#7 posted 11-12-2019 01:04 PM

That is a terrific looking piece. The design and the combo of woods really make this a standout project. I’m surprised this didn’t warrant a DT3.

-- John D, OP, KS

View Redoak49's profile


4273 posts in 2550 days

#8 posted 11-12-2019 01:13 PM

Striking and beautiful…

View SpartyOn's profile


47 posts in 2709 days

#9 posted 11-12-2019 01:59 PM

Absolutely gorgeous! The finish really makes the wood pop!

View pottz's profile


7034 posts in 1546 days

#10 posted 11-12-2019 02:47 PM

nice design and beautiful work,even though you didn’t get much wood you got a lot of satisfaction and that can be worth a lot more.great job.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View EarlS's profile


3309 posts in 2910 days

#11 posted 11-12-2019 03:37 PM

Very nice work. Walnut and cherry are my favorite woods to work with. I especially like the walnut panels. They give a sense of negative space but then you realize it is a contrasting wood, and that it is inset as well. There is a lot to appreciate in the “simple” design.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View BurlyBob's profile


6770 posts in 2827 days

#12 posted 11-12-2019 05:26 PM

I have agree that the Cherry and Walnut are a wonderful combination. That’s a really great design.

View Madmark2's profile


553 posts in 1150 days

#13 posted 11-12-2019 05:42 PM

Very nice work.

How does your design prevent the case from wracking?

View RCCinNC's profile


74 posts in 888 days

#14 posted 11-12-2019 06:49 PM

The dados in the rails and adjoining shelf tenons, though only 5/16” deep, seem to do a good job stabilizing the case. They are fit snuggly, (but not too tight) and the tenons are 1/4” shorter than the dado notch. I glued the middle two inches of the tenon. The outer edges of the shelves are attached with screws centered in 1/4” slots. My intention is for the joinery to act as a breadboard type end cap. This piece will live in a conditioned environment, and should remain relatively stabile. Fingers crossed!

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

View tnwood's profile


267 posts in 3648 days

#15 posted 11-20-2019 08:02 PM

Nicely done. What is the finish and did you stain or dye the cherry?

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