Walnut Credenza With Bookmatched Case And Hand Cut Dovetails
This project started after I visited the studio of George Nakashima. I was so inspired that I set myself up to build an incredibly complex project in walnut featuring hand cut dovetails. My design certainly refers to Nakashima but I also was influenced by the simplicity of mid-century modern designs with splayed legs. The credenza is 66" long 15 1/2" wide and 30" tall
I started with a 10 ft 10/4 slab of walnut for the case sides and top and 8/4 stock for the doors. I designed a system of wooden grooves and rails so that the doors slide on rabbits in the top of each door. There is a single divider in the middle of the case and adjustable shelves on each side. The base is also built from walnut with 6/4 for legs and 4/4 for the rails and center stretcher. The only screws in the entire project were used to attach the case to the legs in slotted openings.
The sideboard features a book matched case created by slicing a large timber in half and gluing it back as a mirror image. This timber spans the left side, top, and right side for a continuous grain pattern. Hand cut through dovetails is used to join the casework on all four corners. Each door is also formed with a book matched panel and the doors slide on wooden runners. The doors can be easily removed for cleaning.
I sanded the casework down to 320 grit, then applied 2 coats of boiled lindseed oil/mineral spirits letting each coat dry 48 hours. I then sanded to 400 grit and finished the casework, doors, and shelves with 6 thin coats of Arm-R-Seal sanding to 500 between each coat. Finally, I applied a coat of Liberion Black Bison paste wax and buffed to a low sheen.
Walnut credenza displaying bookmatched doors
Walnut credenza with doors open
Walnut credenza showing the bookmatched side and top, all from a single board for continuous pattern
Walnut credenza showing hand cut dovetails on the top and side
Walnut credenza showing the wooden slides of the doors