End Grain Wall Art – Walnut 1x2s

I don’t know about you, but I love The Walking Dead.  If you think it’s about zombies, then you obviously haven’t watched the show or read the graphic novels.  Walking Dead fans have leveraged their number and passion to birth a follow-up show called Talking Dead hosted by Chris Hardwick of Nerdist fame.

Inspiration: The Talking Dead has an art piece in the background which I absolutely love.  Here is a look at it:


A terrible shot of the inspiration piece, but it’s the only one I could find. You get the gist.

It’s basically a bunch of random end grain pieces put together in a frame ushering in thoughts of fractals and nature.  I love it.

Materials:  A friend of mine dropped of a minor ton of walnut scraps he had left over from a project he completed and it’s been laying around the shop burning a hole in my mind.  I thought it would be a good candidate for this project because walnut is darker and moodier than pine (which is cheap and easy to find) which was my original choice.

I had a couple of long scrap one-inch by two-inch boards which I quickly dispatched into as many random 1/2-inch to two-inch thick pieces.  Random is a little more difficult than you think because randomness has repeats and we think it doesn’t.

Construction:  Construction on an art piece looks easy and flowing, but it isn’t.  Ever.  On this one, I basically placed all the rectangles together and measured the area.  I cut a backer board out of plywood and set out to organizing my random arrangement.  Organizing “randomness” is “fun” (a.k.a. a pain in the tender bits).

After laying it out, I spread wood glue out on the backer board and started placing the pieces.  Once the pieces were laid out and glued down, polyurethane was applied to the tops and sides of each piece, being careful to get all the cracks evenly.  The poly brought out the grain and darkened up the walnut without it being so dark you couldn’t see the grain orientation, which is what the stain did.

The frame was constructed out of pine slats I had laying around the shop.  I stained them with Natural Stain in order to contrast with the dark walnut color.

Results: What do you think?  I like it.  I think next time I will use 2-inch by 2-inch blocks or maybe even larger.


Here is what I came up with in my garage with some time to spare. It’s only a 16″x16″ frame, but a good place to start.

Lessons Learned:  Want to do something big?  Start small!

Having friends drop off free wood is a blessing unlike many others.  Thanks!

This entry was published on March 24, 2015 at 12:58 am. It’s filed under Construction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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