Norris deviated in some ways from the joinery methods of his 1930s predecessors. Instead of nailing the cabinet carcasses to the face frames, he used modern biscuit joinery to avoid color variations between the cypress (which darkens over time) and the putty-filled nail holes.
Another difference appears on the only curved part of the face frame, a short piece that forms a rounded corner of the counter. The original face-frame curve was made by sawing and shaping a straight piece of lumber. To avoid showing end grain, Norris replaced the original with a piece of bent cypress created via a homemade wood-bending apparatus. His steam chamber was a 4′ length of plumbing pipe with removable end caps and two holes drilled in the side: a steam inlet and a pressure-relief outlet. Steam generated by a teakettle was ducted to the hole in the plumbing pipe by a length of rubber hose. After the wood was made flexible by steaming for a couple of hours, Norris clamped it to the original piece to duplicate the curve’s radius.
To match the new cypress pieces to reused originals, Norris applied colored shellac. He then gave all visible surfaces two coats of polyurethane varnish, a finish Frank Lloyd Wright might have specified if it had existed in 1934. The result is remarkable consistency. A slight darkening around tiny dings and dents is the only thing that distinguishes the 1934 wood from the new pieces.