Why are those pickles on the chopping block?



Well, the short answer is, they’re not pickles!  It’s that time of year in Northwest Ohio that the Walnuts are beginning to fall.  We’re walking on them, driving on them, hittin’ ’em with the lawn mower.  So, always wanting to investigate the “old ways” (and always looking to save a buck), I filled up a Vlasic pickle jar with the little darlings still in their husks.  I brought them home and promptly filled the jar with household ammonia.  This is not something I dreamed up.  It’s a recipe from Sam Allen’s book Classic Finishing Techniques (which is, unfortunately, out of print).  Allen refers to it as Walnut husk stain and by its French appellation, brou de noix (brew of walnut, hmm…).  Allen says it will take a week, but after just a few hours, it’s already showing its potential on a couple of teenie scraps on the block (red oak and walnut).  Time will tell…

Then I walked out of the shop and heard the unmistakable sound of someone blowing hot air into their balloon.



As if today was not already one of the “banner” variety, I found that Paulaner Oktoberfest (IMHO one of the World’s very best beers) has returned to our local distributor.  Life is good, very good.

Remember, DO NOT DRINK alcoholic beverages and operate power tools.

There are so many reasons to improve your hand tool skills.

Explore posts in the same categories: Finishing, historic woodworking

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3 Comments on “Why are those pickles on the chopping block?”

  1. Brian Loucks Says:

    Seems like you will need a lot of walnuts to stain a cabinet.

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      Allen’s book indicates that a cup of walnuts (in their husks and mixed up with a pint of ammonia) will yield something near a pint. He also says that you can increase the concentration by adding more nuts or dilute it by adding more ammonia. In a week or so, I’ll let you know how much I get. If I need more, I simply have to walk down the alley and raid the cleaning products cabinet in the pantry. Not sure how much grain lift we’ll be dealing with. But this is part of the fun.

  2. Brian Loucks Says:

    I believe I’ll give it a try myself. Thanks

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