During the summer and fall of 2013, I built this credenza, or entertainment cabinet, using solid walnut and the air-dried sugar maple lumber from one of the 300 year old trees. The most challenging thing about building this piece was supporting the heavy top with the four angled side posts. The cabinet essentially has two tops, one that serves as a base and the second one that floats above the first. This added double the weight to the overall structure, but also gave the piece double the character. The floating top is a slab of spalted sugar maple harvested from our land, thick with the live-edges from the outer layer of the tree.
The issue of the angled side rails added a wonderful complication when it came to the execution of the sliding doors, and the interior shelving of the cabinet. Ultimately, it was the angling of those side rails that made the piece so interesting, both to build and to behold.
Aside from the sugar maple that came from our land, the walnut I purchased from Youngblood Lumber was especially beautiful. Usually with walnut you see wonky and chaotic graining, troubled with several knot holes that can weaken the board. This walnut had straight, uniform graining, richly colored and of sound integrity, making it a joy to work with. I used the bold lines in the graining to compose the frames around the lighter panels.
The drawers on this piece I am particularly drawn to. I designed them to function as trunks with homes. Normally with drawers, if you slide them out too far, the weight causes them to crash or bend the metal rails. I wanted the client to be able to take advantage of the full depth of the drawers, without having to worry about weight. So I carved handles on the sides of each drawer, making them portable. You can take them all the way out, carry them to the table, and re-organize.
All in all, this is one of those jobs that comes around every once in a while. In the 15 years I’ve been a woodworker, this is one of a handful of pieces that I’ve built in my life where, when I got done, I wanted very much to be the one who owned it.