Archive for November, 2010

Have a Seat… or Two?

This past Saturday I went to a local estate auction to see what treasures might be up for bid.  It turned out that the house was the real treasure, a beautiful big old bungalow with gorgeous woodwork & cabinetry all throughout…  but enough drooling, I am not in the market for a house.  What I did stay to bid on, however, were the old wooden chairs that were in the backyard.

When it comes to auctions, it seems like the things I want are the last items put up to bid.  That almost proved true again this time.  Let me take you through the play by-play on how the assortment of 15 or so chairs went to bid.  The auctioneer opened up the chairs at choice bid; this means the winning bidder takes his or her choice of chair or chairs, then the remaining ones get auctioned off again and again, until all they are all taken.  As the auctioneer went from $10 to $5, trying to get a first bidder, the crowd was unresponsive.  I casually raised a peace sign on one hand, mouthing $2 to the auctioneer.

“I have $2, looking for $3; $3, who’ll give me $3; $2, going once, going twice, anyone,”  the auctioneer kept trying to get someone to outbid me.  But luck was on my side as no one would give the auctioneer $3, so I got my choice of chairs at $2 a piece.

“Sold.  Take yer pick, what one ya want,” the auctioneer asked.

“How about these 4…

…and these 3…

…and this rocker,” was my reply.

“Well folks, you just lost your chance at half of these chairs just like that,” replied the auctioneer.  The remaining chairs, another 7 or so but all mismatched, were all taken by the very next high bidder; he had to pay $6 each.

I felt good.  I had done it.  I bought all 8 chairs (for a steal!).  But if you remember one of my earliest posts when I replaced my car mirror, you will know I drive a small compact automobile.  How in the heck was I going to get all of these dirty, lead (probably) paint chipping chairs back home.  And where am I going to put them until I am ready to refinish them?

Thankfully my sister & brother-in-law were also at the auction, along with his mother who drove her pickup truck that day.  They were gracious enough to help me load all the chairs in to the back and drive them to my garage where I’ve piled them in the corner for the time being.

I simply cannot wait to begin taking them apart, stripping off paint, sanding, and gluing; I simply cannot wait to begin restoring.  So there is a sneak peek at some future projects and, undoubtedly, future posts.

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If you’re gonna do it,


That is my mantra.  I like to see the end results just as much as anyone else, but a hurried project will look hurried.  That being said, this is Post 2.5 of  a 3 post series of the Roadside Redo cabinet project  Click here to read Part 1 in this series, or here to read Part 2.

When this cabinet was originally built, the top wide drawer was made to slide on wooden rails inside the cabinet walls.  This is a very simple solution for a drawer slide but by far not the best solution for such a wide, heavy drawer such as this cabinet features.  On its original slides the drawer would not have extended from the cabinet very easily; it would have torqued from one side to the other when pulled out or pushed in.  Also, once extended more than halfway, the drawer would have begun to fall out of its opening, potentially falling onto the floor (or someones feet) if pulled out all the way.  Below is a SketchUp model of what the left cabinet slide looked like originally, highlighted in red.

With all the time I have invested in refinishing this cabinet I wanted a smooth sliding drawer that would operate easily even when weighted down by objects stored inside.  For this purpose I purchased drawer slides from my local hardware store.  Simple drawer slides come in various lengths; my local hardware store had them in even numbered lengths from 14″ to 24″.  My cabinet is just over 17″ deep, so I chose a set of 16″ drawer slides.  They came with 2 drawer rails, 2 cabinet rails, all required screws, and detailed instructions (in multiple languages).

Because I had already assembled the cabinet face frame, I would have to make a slight adjustment for the new drawer slides.  The instructions call for the drawer opening to be between 1″ and 1 + 1/16″ wider than the drawer width.  The width of my drawer was already 38 + 3/4″, and making it narrower would be far too much work.  Instead I chose to make notches out of the face frame to allow for the metal drawer slides to operate.

The opening in the cabinet face for the drawer was 39 + 1/16″, and I needed to make it 39 + 3/4″.  This meant cutting a 3/8″ notch out of each side of the face frame.  Once the drawer is in place, these notches would be practically unnoticeable as they would be hidden by the perimeter of the drawer face.  Below is the left of the cabinet opening showing in red where I needed to cut out the notch.

I cut these notches very carefully with a handheld jigsaw, trying to keep them as square as possible; the notches will be noticeable when the drawer is opened and I want them to look very clean.  I made the notches just taller than the height of the metal slides.  You can see how these notches allow for the metal slides in the photo below.

And in the next photo, the drawer is in!  It slides quite well, but is a bit difficult to lift in and out; I don’t plan on removing the drawer very often so it will work fine for me.

Ignore how bright the wood looks in these photos, I was working in a poorly lit garage and the flash seems to think the wood is much lighter and uglier in color than it really is.  But you will see that in the Final Reveal in the last post of this series, where I will explain what finish I chose and how to apply it, secure the glass in the doors, and put on all the hardware.

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