A Different Take on a Stairway

Originally we were to just supply the wood for this project; the aromatic red cedar stringers and risers and the ash treads. That changed when the carpenter sort of messed up. He had gaps where there shouldn't have been gaps.  "Could we help"?

Mike did a CAD drawing of the special cove moulding where the tread meets the stringer and we had the pieces made on a CNC router. The pieces made on the CNC router matched the straight cove material we had made.  I think the overall effect is pretty nice. I haven't seen this done anywhere before. The white oak handrail starts at an ash partition.  The partition is mounted on a steel sub-frame with poplar blocking. Aluminum "Z" clips provide a nice fastener-free panel. The meeting joint between the panels and at the end cap is an ash spline.  It's finished with an aromatic red cedar cap.


Aromatic Red Cedar and Poplar Hutch/Wet Bar


The owners gave us a challenge in this piece. They wanted something made to fit a space but look like it was found in pieces in their barn and put together.

Aromatic red cedar, cut on the owner’s farm was used for the substantial base of this piece. We used our hand tools on this one. Full mortise and tenon joinery,  along with hand cut pegs with offset holes are the only thing holding it together. That’s all it needs.

The upper section, also of red cedar is entirely hand scrub planed including its tongue & groove back.

The top is a full 2-1/2” thick, made of reclaimed heart poplar floor joists and we decided to take advantage of the rat eaten edge. It has a true breadboard end with full through, pegged tenons. Naturally, it’s scrub planed too. Although we ran the crown on our molder, it too has been hit with hand planes to give an old feel. The hammered copper sink fits in a carved recess for proper drainage. Its plumbing is hidden behind more hand run tongue & groove. The slat deck is fastened with hand cut nails.

Finished with spar varnish this piece of furniture will out last us all.


Ash and Poplar Wall Unit

The customer wanted a unit that was ergonomically designed to allow for good traffic movement through the room.

Because of the door to the left, the unit needed to be narrow on that end and widen to accommodate a TV and widen further for the armoire on the right.

The cabinet is constructed of ash plywood and solid ash, having the outside corners lock mitered. We prefer this to having seams showing where the face frame is attached.

All doors are made of 3/4" solid ash and contain 1/2"  solid ash panels. The doors are hung on 165° European hinges. The drawers and pull outs are of dovetailed Maple. The 2” top is of reclaimed heart poplar, scrub planed. The 5/8” accent inlay and the butterfly inlays on the counter top are of aromatic red cedar.

Cedar also caps the baseboard and stepped cornice. The finish is clear conversion varnish.



Glass Display Cabinet

This cabinet was designed to stand between the aromatic red cedar entry doors and the walnut entertainment center,  so we chose to use both woods in its design.  Its footprint is hexagonal to mimic the floor plan of the room and the custom entry door handles.

The walnut stiles have been plowed out with a custom router bit to trap the 3/8" rope lighting which runs continuously through the cabinet (about 45 feet). The  3/4" shelves have 1-1/2" solid edges made up of walnut and aromatic red cedar, coved down to a 3/8" thickness at the outside edge to give a lighter appearance.  The pair of doors have a tongue and groove astrigal to insure that they stay aligned and to prevent light leaks. They are held closed with rare earth magnets.  Some things we especially like about this unit are the hand turned walnut and aromatic red cedar dimmer switch knob and my walnut and cedar acorn door pulls.


~Timeless Advice~ A Pep Talk from Mr. Sawdust  

My Father, Wallace Kunkel, was quite a character. This excerpt is from his monthly newsletter, Bench Talk, which was for woodworkers back in the 70's and 80's.

"THERE IS AN INNATE VIBRANCE IN THIS COUNTRY that will prevail through all our times of weak leadership, economic confusion, gutless politicians.  Recession or depression, there is a pioneer strength in this country that is very much alive.  Whatever comes is momentary -- even though the “moment” is a year or two -- and those, especially those who can work in a craftsman-like manner with their hands, will not only endure -- but will be the first to surface in the good times -- like a crocus in the spring."

Wallace M. Kunkel