A Fond Farewell

Mike and I have had a good run. We've met good people and gotten closer as a father and son.


“Kunkel and Son” has run it's course. Mike is pursuing a career in computer programming which I support whole-heartedly and I'm semi-retiring, keeping the shop as a studio where I intend to build one-of-a-kind pieces of my own design. I will be available to do small projects that can be handled by one man, if they appeal to me.

We are leaving our web page up because no matter what, this is a record of our work and we're proud of it. The contact section will remain up for those who wish to contact me.


My new work can be seen at,



Marc and Mike Kunkel


Canterbury - Walnut Stair Railing

Stair railings on iron work can look very elegant if it's done right, but, as in everything, the foundation is the key to a good structure. The contractor chose to have his own people do the iron work on this project. The choice was a good one. The curves and transitions were perfect, ninety degree easements were truly ninety and the curves were clean and flowing. This foundation made our job much easier and the finished product very pleasing to us.

The front staircase was quite a challenge, having the steepest volute we've ever done. It started as a six inch thick block of walnut. Because the stair flared and the steps were different widths, the railing to the volute arched downward, which made it a compound curve. The railing on the opposite side had an up-sweep for the same reason. At the top of the stairs, the horizontal rail was a pretty sweeping piano-shaped curve terminating at the wall.

The back stair was part wall-hung and partly on iron. The sections were joined with an “S” shaped
fitting not attached to the wall at all, creating a floating look. The fittings attaching the rail ends to the walls are attached with blind hanger bolts and plugged with walnut and the rail supports were mortised in.

Below the back stair is the stairway to the basement. This was a combination of wall hung and iron supported as well. All free railing ends were done in a ball shape picked out by the customer.

This kind of work requires both shop work and extensive field work as most of the curves and the
volute had to be shaped to the installed iron.
We are quite happy with the finished project.



A Distressing Situation

We were asked to make three rooms of new white oak woodwork look old. The wall paneling , book cases , ceiling, cornice and kitchen were built and installed by others. Our job was to distress it all. The first thing we did was to make and install over a thousand square walnut pegs at the appropriate places in the raised panel frames. These pegs were cut 1/16” proud of the surface for later sanding. We used hand planes, carving tools rotary tools, wire brushes, logging chains, hatchet, a world war II combat knife and whatever else we could get out hands on. There are worm holes, cracks and wear marks wherever appropriate. The real job was to know where things would get abuse over a century or two. We then finish sanded all surfaces in preparation for finishing.

Included in the distressing was a full wall of painted cabinetry in the hallway to the garage.

We also provided carved pilasters at the front of the counters and on the back unit in the kitchen and the three louvered air conditioning returns. This was quite a job and took a full three weeks labor and a lot of sandpaper.

(Click on the image to view the gallery)


Pine Cone Newel Post

My advice to all woodcarvers, don't carve southern yellow heart pine. It's hard, and doesn't hold detail!


This newel post was commissioned to have a pine cone carving done on top. I used basic carving tools along with appropriate power tools on this and the tedious nature of this kind of carving really made itself apparent after a week or so. I'm quite glad to have it done.


Unfinished Spanish Cedar Entry Door

This large door of Spanish Cedar was left unfinished to weather naturally.