Introduction: Walnut Growth Chart for Child

What you will need for this Instructable:

Wood

Martin Jointer

Radial Sander

Hand Sanding Block

Sand Paper

Mineral Oil

Rags

Hammer

Letter and Number Hand Stamps

Step 1: Select Your Wood

This is a highly personal choice. I picked a piece of Claro Walnut that was sourced locally in California because my son was born in Berkeley. Its dimensions are roughly 1"x12"x6'.

Step 2: Square Your Edges and Remove Mill Marks

I ran the edges of my walnut on a Martin Joiner to clean them up. Set to 3/32" it only took about 6 passes per side. This will vary based on the board you're using.

Step 3: Sand, Sand, and Then Sand Some More

I sanded all edges and then both sides. I worked my way from 80-320 grit sand paper on a radial sander. A crucial component whenever sanding is to be sure that you've rigorously sanded with your rough grits before working your way up to the finer grits. For my board it took about 2.5 hours.

Step 4: Break the Edges

There are several methods for going about this, but I wanted a light break to the edges. Therefore, I simply used a hand sanding block and the same grits that I used with the radial sander.

Step 5: Clean the Wood

Once all sanding is complete use pressurized air to blow off any saw dust. This helps in the finishing steps.

Step 6: Oil the Wood

There are many different finishes that could be chosen for walnut. I wanted to keep it simple so I went with mineral oil. Simply apply a small amount to a rag and rub on. It is extremely tempting to dump this stuff on but try not to so that you are able to achieve an even, light coat.

Step 7: Hand Stamp

I decided to customize this growth stick specifically for my son by putting his name and date of birth at the bottom. Simply select the numbers and letters you want to use and then give a medium tap from your hammer to deboss into the wood. Try to get it right the first time as a second swing rarely works.

Step 8: Repeat Steps As Necissary

The preceding steps can be repeated in order to get a richer finish. Personally, I only gave it one pass to try and maintain a more rugged aesthetic.

Step 9: Final Thoughts

This project was very fun and I can't wait to begin marking my son's height on it. I will continue to use the hand stamp tools to do so to give it a consistent look. Re-oiling varies based on climate. Here in the Bay Area I reoil our walnut every 6 months or so.

Comments

author
seamster (author)2014-11-13

That's a gorgeous piece of wood. I like this idea a lot, and the simple but highly meaningful nature of the finished piece.

author
ma77er (author)seamster2014-11-13

Thanks! Simple quality and richness was what I was going for. The wood really carries the project - MacBeath Hardwood here in the Bay Area is tough to beat for gorgeous pieces like this...

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Bio: MTTR MGMT is an award-winning design practice that ranges widely in discipline, methodology and media. MTTR MGMT’s focus lies on the investigation, representation and ... More »
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