Birdseye maple hutch

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Project by rustfever posted 12-19-2009 05:48 AM 2125 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In 1970, my wife wanted a maple hutch, BAD. So I, a begining woodworker, found some fiddleback and birdseye maple. I had no idea how to work this material. But I was game and I tried. With a 1950’s Dewalt radial arm saw, a 4” short bed joiner, and a router, and a few ‘shakey’ handtools, I tackled the project. Suprisingly, I got it to completion in just a few month.

A good friend owned a paint store and help me decide the finish and the technique. He convinced me a clear finish varnish and to rub it out with pumice and rottenstone. Of couse, I was told I needed to rub the rottenstone with lemon oil. Every single sq inch was rubbed with rottonstone/lemon oil under my thumb. I doubt my thumb will ever recover.

Now, nearly forty years later, it still has a place of importance in our home. It is the repository of a few fine pieces of heirloom china and crystal, and lots of family memories [aka: pictures] All of our chidlren, their spouses, and our Grand Kids live daily at this shrine.

This was my first piece of furniture. I was ill prepared to do the work, but with patience, perserverance, and help from good friends, I made it thru. The finish today, is just as good as the day I presented it to my wife for her birthday in 1970.

-- Rustfever, Central California

9 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#1 posted 12-19-2009 05:54 AM

Wow such a beautiful piece hard to believe it was your first project. Just plan wonderful.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RayCurtis's profile


128 posts in 3126 days

#2 posted 12-19-2009 05:59 AM

Great Work and design for a first project.

-- RayCurtis

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3214 days

#3 posted 12-19-2009 07:07 AM

Lovely, looks extremmely elegant.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3153 days

#4 posted 12-19-2009 08:38 AM

The proof is in your workmanship. That is some beautiful maple.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3319 days

#5 posted 12-19-2009 03:17 PM

great project for a beginner. The finish was never touched up or more coats added through the years. Pretty impressive. Sounds like someone has OCD like most of us lumberjocks. Nice work

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View tnwood's profile


258 posts in 3049 days

#6 posted 12-19-2009 04:22 PM

Nice piece of furniture that will stand the test of time. I remember rottenstone and oil rubbing out of finishes in the 50’s and 60’s. I think one of the modern miracles of today’s woodworking is the many finishes that are readily available to avoid some of the hard work. But even having said that, I rubbed out a finish a few years ago with rottenstone and oil but I used a random orbital sander with a pad on it to do the hard work.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3736 days

#7 posted 12-19-2009 10:08 PM

Beautiful looking hutch. You did a very nice job on it. Love that wood! Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3296 days

#8 posted 12-19-2009 11:04 PM

You must be a brave man to tackle such a demanding project without prior experience. Beautiful wood and great craftsmanship right off the bat! Obviously some are more gifted than others. Well done.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View rustfever's profile


751 posts in 3272 days

#9 posted 12-20-2009 10:07 AM

I have to confess, I had taken a one quarter night class in woodworking at the local high school. I was taught the safe operation of the table saw, planer, joiner, and the lathe. In the night class, I learned to make a chess board, a cutting board, and to turn a file handle on the lathe. However, I watched others make mortice and tenion joints, dados joints for shelves, and make mouldings.
I went home with the buring idea that “Yes I can”. And I did.

-- Rustfever, Central California

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