Saturday, April 22, 2006

First Piece

For some reason I’ve started thinking about a project that I’m probably not going to start for 6 months or so. This is pretty common for me. I get an idea in my head and latch on to it like a pit bull. It bounces around in my head and percolates for a few weeks or months until I have fully explored it and then I can let it go. This usually includes a purchase or two. The future project this time is the built-in cabinets that will fill the opening between the dining room and the butler’s pantry. Realistically I probably won’t start building it until October but I can’t seem to stop thinking about it.

In a post a few days ago I mentioned I had bought some burl and curly redwood for the cabinets. The first piece arrived yesterday. This is a slab of burl redwood that I want to cut 4 drawer fronts out of. The cabinets are roughly 8-feet square. I want to have 4 drawers and each drawer front will need to be about 20-inches wide.

Here is the piece of burl I bought. I wet it down a bit to show the grain.

Burl is like a tumor that grows in the wood. I’m not really sure why it forms, but makes large, deformed growths on the tree. Some may only be the size of a basketball while other burl growths can be large enough for 4 or 5 people to stand on. As you can see in the picture, the grain in a burl growth very dense and is uniquely twisted and knotted. Once that piece is sanded smooth and oiled and shellacked it will really look neat.

The slab is 2 inches thick and the idea was to cut two pieces that were 2”X 4” X 20”. I would then split them so I would have 4 drawer fronts that were each 1”X 4” X 20”. However, because of it’s odd shape I think it may be a stretch to get two pieces large enough. I have a few options.

One solution, if I can’t get large enough pieces, is to buy more burl. That is a $50 piece of wood and I really don’t want to buy more. Another option is to cut one piece that is 2” X 4” X 20” and then cut four pieces that are only about a half inch thick. I could then use them sort of like veneer and glue them to the front of the drawer boxes. Another option is to make the drawer fronts a little shorter. I’m pretty sure I could get 2 pieces that were about 18” long. There will be a lot of left over wood that I can use as the stiles between the drawers.

I’ll need to let this percolate a bit more.


Becky said...

What kind of drawer fronts are you going to have? If you were going to do raised panels you could make the frame of the panel out of another cheaper kind of wood that would frame the burl. Just a thought.

allison said...

Sounds like an exciting project. And, hey, don’t worry about planning too far ahead. Most of us get in trouble for not planning enough. Can’t count the number of times I’ve started a project – or two – on a whim and regretted the jump to insanity. Keep us posted!

Greg said...

I'm not sure if they will be big enough for a raised panel. The plan is that the whole drawer will only be 4-inches high. I was thinkning about wraping them in a bead or something.