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Knotty Alder Sideboard with Copper Patina Top

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Project by BigRedKnothead posted 287 days ago 3132 views 38 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a piece I made for some friends. It’s made of knotty alder, with a copper panel for the top. I posted a lot of the build on our Furniture Makers Forum.

Some notes about the build:
- All mortise and tenon frame and panel joinery. The bottom, back and dividers are cabinet grade alder plywood. All the rest is solid wood. I tried to bookmatch all the panels. It made some of the knots look like owl’s eyes.
- This is my first time working with alder. I enjoyed the change of pace. It’s softer than the oak and walnut I’m used to, but the wood has great character.
- The knots give it a rustic feel. I left some hand plane tracks and even a little chatter around the knots. I really like this effect.
- The finish is Old master dark mahogany wiping stain. satin lacquer, and Howard’s walnut paste wax.

It was tough to get some good pics of this peice. Now I see that a door was ajar in some of them. The copper is very colorful as you can see.

Here’s a few shots of the build.


I know some people are going to ask about the copper process, so I’ll give ya what I can.
First I used contact cement to adhere a roll of copper flashing to plywood.


Then I used some stuff called “liver of sulfer” to get some funky colors. Yes, this stuff smells like a million monkey farts. Use it outside and let your inner Picasso out. Rinse with baking soda water to stop the reaction. If you leave it long it will all turn black.

Then I used a vinegar and salt solution. Cover it with plastic for an hour or so. Only let the plastic come in contact on certain parts…this will create different reactions. Mine looked like this now:

Rinse and let it finish reacting. It’s a bit of a crapshoot. If you don’t like it, sand it off and try again. When you get something you like….seal it with laquer. I really like how this one turned out.

Questions and comments always welcome.

Take care knuckleheads, Red

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman





42 comments so far

View Tugboater78's profile

Tugboater78

940 posts in 818 days


#1 posted 287 days ago

Looks damn good

-- Justin - the tugboat woodworker - " nothing changed me like the first shnick from a well sharpened, decent hand plane"

View LesB's profile

LesB

1063 posts in 2069 days


#2 posted 287 days ago

Nice work. Looks great.
Never considered copper for a top. I have used linoleum flooring inlays (the real stuff not vinyl) with a similar affect.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

4595 posts in 919 days


#3 posted 287 days ago

Nice work Red, I really like the way that copper turned out

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

1940 posts in 757 days


#4 posted 287 days ago

Red, that is a really handsome piece of furniture. The curved kick plate really was a great choice in design.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3322 posts in 1440 days


#5 posted 287 days ago

You did it right my friend. I love to see projects in alder. I haven’t had the chance to work with it yet, but not too different than cherry I suspect. Great info on the copper process, I love the look.
I like the dark mahogany stain, it is a great fit for the alder material.
You must shed a little tear every time one of these pieces leaves your shop for delivery.

Going to my favorites list.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Don W's profile

Don W

14837 posts in 1194 days


#6 posted 287 days ago

you do some nice work Red. Thanks for sharing it.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View terryR's profile

terryR

3039 posts in 935 days


#7 posted 287 days ago

Awesome, build, Red. Love the dimensions and the rustic finish. That copper is cool…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Tim's profile

Tim

1241 posts in 588 days


#8 posted 287 days ago

Very nice Red. Hopefully you charged enough to make up for the previous commission from h#!!. I bet they’re happy with it.

View murch's profile

murch

1136 posts in 1251 days


#9 posted 287 days ago

Beautiful piece of work. You can be proud of that one. Well done.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View RPhillips's profile

RPhillips

413 posts in 462 days


#10 posted 287 days ago

Love it man, your definitely an inspiration.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View darinS's profile

darinS

378 posts in 1494 days


#11 posted 287 days ago

Beautiful work as always Red. I really enjoyed this. Gonna have to remember the stuff about the copper in case I need it at a later time.

-- If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you!

View john2005's profile

john2005

919 posts in 804 days


#12 posted 287 days ago

Nice work Red, lovin how the copper came out. Thats a fine piece

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2302 days


#13 posted 287 days ago

Very nice, especially like the top.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112010 posts in 2203 days


#14 posted 287 days ago

Very cool top to bottom

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

4695 posts in 608 days


#15 posted 287 days ago

Thanks for all the encouragement guys.

Willie- it can be painful to watch them go out the door. Especially because I’m getting better, and the recent pieces are nicer than stuff in MY house;) However, it’s rewarding when people really like what you’ve made for them. A little boost to the woodworking fund doesn’t hurt either.
You’ll have to try some alder one day. It’s not as hard as cherry, but it’s fun to work with. Planes like buddah!

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

showing 1 through 15 of 42 comments

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