Book Cabinet — Completion

img_0869This cabinet project was begun back in February 2016 and finally completed in November. A number of other, less involved projects interrupted the process. as well as my desire to savor this build.

I wanted to showcase the stunning sinker Honduras Mahogany I purchased from Rick Petty of Greener Lumber. He salvages sunken logs from rivers in Belize. These old-growth gems sank while floating down rivers to awaiting ocean going ships. I first discovered their story from a series of blog posts on the Popular Woodworking web site and a subsequent magazine article by Kari Hultman. Over the years I’ve built numerous pieces from this treasured material.

IMG_0450A 2015 Fine Woodworking Magazine article by Hank Gilpin showed his “Gilpinoid” leg design. I loved the design and the various ways he used it over the years. It produces great shadow lines and visual depth. From any one view, the appearance is subtle, but it becomes more and more interesting the closer one looks. That said, these legs add to the overall impact even when one does not “see” the specific details.

Motivation for a proper bookcase came from my treasured collection of Lost Art Press books on woodworking, design and history of the craft. They create books of the highest quality and give voice to brilliant contributors, contemporary as well as our legends.

img_0870All of my sinker Mahogany is 4/4 stock, which is great for most casework, but thicker material is required for legs. Rather than mix in current harvest Mahogany, or select a contrasting species, I decided to use poplar painted black with milk paint. The intent was to create a background setting off the highly-figured Mahogany. The shelves and back slats also received this treatment.

Honduras Mahogany from the rivers of Belize
Honduras Mahogany from the rivers of Belize

The asymmetrical top used the plank’s shape as it came from the mill. Numerous cracks required filling with epoxy. The most obvious are on the right corner, but there were numerous smaller, but significant cracks elsewhere.

The bookcase is in our front room looking most pleased with itself. There are many details to amuse close inspection and this piece encourages taking it in from various perspectives.

Earlier blog posts discuss many of the elements, techniques and decisions that went into this piece. I was not pleased with a few of my construction decisions, but overall it works to my eye. A big thank you to those who supplied feedback and encouragement as this journey unfolded.

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