Cabinet With Spalted Panel

This cabinet is similar to the one we make in my Cabinetmaking class – in fact, this one remained unassembled for a couple of years while it served as the teaching model. I finally decided it was time to finish it, put it together and hang it on the wall. Often when you cut joinery but leave it unassembled for a period of time, nothing fits quite the way it’s supposed to. I was lucky in this case, the Honduras mahogany behaved nicely, as did the spalted maple and Port Orford cedar panels.

The spalted panel is a bookmatch, which deserves mention. Often the fungal pattern (“spalting”) in wood moves so rapidly and unpredictably, and without regard to grain structure, that when bookmatching a piece the two faces seem to have little relationship to each other. In this case — a 19mm board found in some wood shop or another — I could see that the spalting pattern remained fairly consistent  through the board, and I was rewarded with a fair match. This particular piece was very punky and fragile. It absorbed many, many coats of shellac before any finish build was noticeable.


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