Maple and Metal Bookcase


A slender bookcase of big leaf maple from Urban Lumber with black walnut accents and black-oxidized steel side panels.  The side panels were designed by the client and were, in part, inspired by a balcony railing in the home (coincidentally, the only place from which the homeowners can see the wonderfully figured top of the six-foot plus high bookcase).

I researched kitchen science methods of oxidizing steel, and tried a few concoctions containing some combination of salt, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and home brewed ale (to fuel the science).  The home brew was good, the science was faulty. Or more accurately, the kitchen science methods were not going to work on my time line.  I was surprised to eventually find a solution to oxidizing the panels from a local gun dealer.  But, not surprisingly, they don’t get many requests from customers about how to oxidize something that does not fire bullets; but they did have options and good advice.  The side panels were oxidized using “gun blue”, a process which initially created an uneven blue-grey haze, but four applications yielded a even dark grey-blue patina to the steel.  The contrast between the matte textured steel and the highly figured big leaf maple is what really makes this piece stand out.