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Black Walnut Kitchen Island

Listing #2030   Listed on: 04/15/2009

Company Name: jpg inc.

Contact Name:   jordan
I cut down a large dead black walnut,had it milled and dried and had a large custom kitchen island made out of it.There is a lot of bookmatching and burl throughout it.I am researching how best to finish it.

View Larger, Higher Quality Image
solid black walnut island

View Larger, Higher Quality Image
front of walnut island

Viewer Comments:

Posted By: Peter     [04/16/2009]
looks good but whats with the burn marks on the raised panels? why would you assemble the doors without sanding the panels first?

Posted By: jordan     [04/16/2009]
Peter;I agree with you on the burn marks,that they would be much easier to sand out before assembly.I did not assemble this island,my carpenter did .So while it is MY project and I did design it,Im having it done by someone else.The prep for finishing will take longer sor sure,but thats how the whole project has gone.I had a large dining area done the same way in oak ,and a large great room ceiling done in stain grade pine too so I have miles to go before Im done with this little project.Any ideas on finishing these items?.Jordan

Posted By: Harry DeVrieze     [04/16/2009]
So you "design" some boxes and have them made by someone else? Am I right? While walnut is a nice and pricey wood what I see here is pretty standard stuff. It appears built on site.

Posted By: jordan     [04/16/2009]
Harry;Your pretty close with your assumptions.I had it built by someone else and we did design it.I factored in all the things I wanted with it so dont know whether its "standard" stuff or not.The fact that it is solid wood sets it apart from a lot of cabinets/islands right out of the box.
What might you have donedifferently with it knowing what you know?.Jordan

Posted By: sean m titmas     [04/16/2009]
from the sounds of it you seem quite detached from this project? why so?

if it were mine to do i would put a lot more detail into the design to set it apart from the standard design and layout that is so common in spec homes. you say that because you used solid wood the cabinets are set apart from the big box store cabinets. well, only being one up on the big box stores is not hard to do, i can do it with only a few minor changes to my design. if you really want to improve on the next kitchen i recommend looking for a new carpenter and try to design something unique with custom features and something that is challenging to build. something that pushes the envelope so that you end up with a one of a kind finished product that sells itself.

Posted By: sean m titmas     [04/16/2009]
i like the toe kick design but you could also add

curved rails on the doors
open shelving
pilasters at the corners
different planes to the face frames to give the look of individual pieces of furniture
and beaded face frames with jack miters.

Posted By: jordan     [04/16/2009]
All great observations guys.I will admit I was a bit blinded by the solid walnut aspect of it and didnt develop it as far as I might have.I will be posting more pix of it as it is basically the center piece of the entire downstairs of the house.It is basically one big room divided into kitchen/great room,dining room/cove.Based on that fact I tried to have one side of it look more like a piece of furniture than the other side of a kitchen island.For instance there is a built in book cabinet that faces the other room.I do agree that the front could have had other,more elaborate features and wonder if it is not too late to add them?.
I do still think it has very strong features and not the typical "turned" legs and other,more common kitchen island features.
Does anybody have an angle on finishing this?I feel a product that goes "into" the wood and not"on" it is the way to go.I also thought ,obviously the grain should be enhanced and a finish(buffed wax?)to add a little shine but not gloss or even a satin would be too much I think.Sort of an old country store finish that shines a little and shows the grain as much as possible.

Posted By: Peter     [04/17/2009]
Everyone starts somewhere but yes this is a very basic cabinet. It's the little details that make it better than the big boxes and the attention to those details and how they are built that makes it a good product. Judging by the burn marks I can tell he made those doors either onsite with a router table or just with dull tooling. IMO raised panels should be sanded before assembly and often times stained and sealed before assembly because if those panels shrink its going to show, and especially the burn marks under the profile of the cope and stick doors if it shrinks a lot.

I don't think there is much you can do now without taking it apart a bit. But here are a few things I noticed - and take it as constructive criticism because I'm not saying this to knock your job just trying to help.

For the future sand panels first. With the faceframes you should lay them out differently. The top and bottom rail of a face frame should rarely almost never be broken up. On yours I can see he split the bottom rail and ran the center stiles all the way down. Also watch your dimensions, I see in some areas you're not holding a typical width for face frame reveals. Also watch out for those sap wood areas like I see in a few areas that could have easily been not used and just picked another better board to replace it and save the sap ones for shorter pieces where you can cut it out. Lastly watch out for those doors, I see some joints are either open or he put filler in the corners. Doors should be sanded before fitting (final sanding for finish done last).

Anyhow best of luck in the future you will only get better in time and practice.

Posted By: Ben     [04/18/2009]
Walnut cabinets with chinese plywood boxes??? Tell your carpenter to buy domestic plywood next time.

Posted By: jordan     [04/18/2009] guys are a tough bunch!Can you tell me the pros and cons between the two plywoods?.Im thinking about researching how well black walnut burns...

Posted By: Alex Hendrick     [04/19/2009]
I would cover the side that's exposed where the counter height changes as the veneer seems to be missing or sanded off there.

Posted By: jordan     [04/19/2009]
Alex;The top in the picture is now removed and has been replaced with solid planks approx 2in thick so there isnt any veneer at all on the island.
I will be posting current pix of this as these are 6-7 months old.

Posted By: jordan     [04/19/2009]
Ben;I think I figured out that you were talking about the temporary top.That is gone now or were you reffering to something else?.

Posted By: jordan     [04/26/2009]
I always liked being the center of attention ,no matter how I got there...I realize at this point,my options are less than when I started this but feel that if I do the right things to it going forward I will have a piece that I can actually look at without total disgust.
Cost has always been a factor but realize now if I had this thing designed with a little more thought involved it would have been nicer.Overall ,Im happy with it and cant recall seeing one quite like it anywhere ,built right or wrong.

Posted By: jndj5     [12/06/2009]
Cabinets have their issues, However, I wish you luck finishing the floor under the toe kicks after the install was complete.

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