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Kitchen Cart
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Kitchen CartI'm a photographer and was asked to get a kitchen cart by my food stylist., So being a woodworker, of course I built one. It's made from walnut and maple. There are a couple of ways to make the edge grain top and shelves. My approach was to glue up the walnut center sections first, trim to size, and then add the 2 maple end strips. After they dried, they were trimmed off flush and the 2 maple side strips were added. Process repeated until the final length and width were reached.The frame was much simpler, consisting of just 2 end sections consisting of 2 vertical legs and 3 cross braces each. I debated adding braces that ran the length of the cart, but given the thickness of the shelves, I thought they were not necessary. I was right, and the result is a bit more room to access the shelves.I assembled the frame with my newest acquisition in tools, the Dowelmax. I am sold on this method of joinery, as long as exposed joinery is not part of the design. The Dowelmax produces joints very quickly, that are very strong and precise. I have no affiliation with them, I just appreciate a very well made tool that delivers as promised.I struggled a bit with the finish. I wanted something that brought out the richness of the walnut, but didn't yellow the maple too much. After doing lots of reading online, I tested 3 different finishes on scraps; Minwax WipeOn Poly, Formsby Tung Oil finish (not real Tung Oil I think), and Watco Danish Oil finish. The Minwax WipeOn Poly was discounted immediately, providing almost no richness to the Walnut. The other 2 did provide that richness, but also yellowed the maple. I decided that I could live with that, and used the Watco.I followed the directions to the letter; flood on a coat, wait 15 minutes, flood on another coat, wait 15 minutes, and wipe off the excess. It was supposed to dry overnight, but took about 6 days! Even then it was still a bit tacky. And while my tests looked good on my scraps, I didn't like the uneven shine on the edge grain, which runs in different directions. After some deliberation, I sanded off much of the finish with 220 grit sandpaper. This knocked down the sheen to a matte finish, and removed a lot of the yellow cast in the maple. The walnut lost some richness, but not too much. And when I followed this up with 2 coats of paste wax, I got a result that I liked.I would love to hear some recommendations on finishing maple and walnut projects from some of the experts here, who are far more experienced than me. Thanks!

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