Archive for the ‘construction and finishing TIPS’ Category

a recently given "gift"Old friends of my mother were moving— “Would [ I ] like this old dresser?”

Yes -and- Thank You.

It’s very solid, simply styled, and sadly, not without issues needing attention–but nothing I can’t handle.

The drawer tracks and guides are the biggest issue, and one of the wooden wheels is broken~ c’est la vie.

a "plain Jane" gets a makeover!Sure, I could just  do some repair and a paint job,

but where would the fun be in   just that?


So I pried out the rails for the 2 larger drawers and ripped them down at the table saw, and then re-installed them at a shallower depth.

In the original style, the face frame and drawers were all flush—but I thought it would be fun to create Full Overlay Drawers and something more architectural !!!

I grabbed a 2×4 sheet of birch veneered plywood and the jig saw…

a facelift for a "plain Jane"

…and applied a new face to each of the drawer fronts!

a facelift for a "plain Jane"

But wait, there’s more. . . !


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Plans change.

What I always wanted was open storage so I could SEE ALL my pretty china!

So when I -just for kicks- propped the doors back in place I was pretty surprised at how much I liked them.  Oh. Poo. Now what…?

the plan and the change--?

…even you guys like it with doors. . .hmmm.  Sooo. . .

Another change of plans became stripping it.  Professionally.  I had a full plate of projects and this little addition was going to take a good bit of time.

*I negotiated a good price + Blizzards for an immediate strip-job.  ; D

My hope was that all the woods would strip down light enough and be REstained in one united light-medium, soft-medium color.  Fingers crossed.

getting my project professionally stripped--

getting out the tools for the next phaseSo the guys hustled to strip my project and I promptly jumped on sanding.

I pulled out 3 different sanders and coarse-med-fine paper to get the look I was wanting. Unfortunately, even after a bleach-job, the header and feet were still darker.

Plan B.  After focusing on all that sanding -just to the outside- I got out the Liming wax.  Which did give me more of a “natural~bleached wood finish” but the feet and header were still a miss-match.

This was all last Friday.

I finished the outside -which looked nice- but I wasn’t 100% sold.

And -I decided to wrap it up for the night—with good timing because two of my princess-nieces came to spend the night and go to Oktoberfest the next day!  Where I made the mistake of having a chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick.  SUPER GOOD but TOO RICH and left me feeling “off” on such a FAB-78° day!

keep-calm-and-go-to-flea-marketSunday was to be an even better day!  It was the very last Elkhorn Flea Market ~and the only one I would make it to for the whole season!

But somewhere between the cheesecake-on-a-stick and the alarm going off at 3:10 am. . .

I got the flu.

As much as I was trying to fake being WELL and go anyway–it just wasn’t gonna happen, and I’ve had a miserable week.  My biggest project was changing the bed sheets Wednesday to psych myself into feeling better—or write this post. . .

sickBe back soon,


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revamping the bottom of the cabinet--The bottom.

Since deciding to “work with” the cabinet, adjustments had to be made.  It was a deeper cabinet, had a face-frame, and a solid deck/base with only a decorative front molding.

~I pried off that decorative front molding to discover about a 2″ rail underneath, which was just enough to work with, so I cut off the sides to match.

~I beveled the bottom edge using a chamfer bit in the router, which made a clean and simple “eased” design to meet the new feet.

~I used some scrap 2×8’s to make 4 corner blocks. The over-sized, thick cuts more than filled the corners and let my salvaged ball and claw feet sit flush and well secured.  The blocks were glued and nailed in place.

my chamfered edge blocks for feet--

Above, you see the feet I decided to use. (Salvaged off a thrift store desk, THIS is the 1st project I used them in–8 total, I only have 2 left now.)

To get them placed right and accurately, I used an old template trick.

Using what was on hand, I grabbed some worn out sandpaper,

I took advantage of its holes and cut the size and shape of the foot,

then positioned my template on the blocks one at a time

marking where I needed to drill!  So easy–no guess work!

templates to get the feet placed accurately--

one of my STEP DRILL BITSNext, I used a step drill bit to create the pilot holes to screw in my feet.  Since this is SO much easier explained “in person-live,” I’ll do my best here. . .

I wanted the feet to screw in tight.  Using a standard drill bit just a little smaller than the threading of the feet would have been fine, but would become loose in time.

Using my step drill bit from the right size down, 5/16ths, created 3 sizes to screw into

my biggest and proper size where I began to screw the threading of the foot in, working progressively smaller -and tighter- as it met the smaller drilled area/hole.

I only drilled up to the 5/16ths measure (the 3rd smallest diameter) for my threaded feet.  I added a link above, and again HERE to a page that sells these bits so you could see the wide variety of step bits out there for just as many tasks!  I have and use about 5–

*The big box stores and hardware stores all sell these, but probably in the most commonly used styles and sizes.  I’ll try to share some other projects, ways, and reasons you’ll want to use these things down the road!

The EASED/chamfered edge and the new feet attached!Above, you can see how the small detail of

the doors and new hardware--beveling/chamfering the bottom edge of the cabinet EASED the contour of the design to the feet!

The devil’s in the details~right?

I started to play with hardware (since the doors are going back on)—I was excited to finally get to use this FABulous pair of handles I found flea marketing so looooong ago!  I know you can’t see them fully, but they’re incroyable!♥


~promise, next post will be more about the finishes!

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Once again, THIS is what I started with.

the thrift store 90cent cabinet


the sketch and idea of what I wanted--An incredible deal at 90¢ …I truly figured I would take it apart for its wood to build the cabinet in my sketch.

Then I realized my design could potentially be found  -in the core of- this cabinet.  Obviously, I’ll have to make adjustments -but it could be done!

~See, cut-cut-cut!

1st– I needed to lop off the ugly, boxy, valanced top to shorten it, which you can see in the upper picture.

2nd– I had to re-figure the 3 sectional depths.  My original design plan descended from 14″ to 11″ to 8″ –this cabinet 16½” deep, reduced to 12½” to 8½”.

I used painter’s tape to give a better visual while I was trying to re-plan the sections, and then make the cuts~and I traced the painter’s TAPE ROLL to make those soft curves!

cutting the 3-sectional depths

the new header--
This is the header I bought looong ago at  A Classy Flea on a trip to Atlanta.  It was wAy too long/wide for my project and had to be cut down–but isn’t it just perfect!?!

I used some of the scrap wood cut off’s to create the rail the header will sit on/attach to. (picture collage below)  The easiest thing was to use a section of the original front face-frame, or, stile.

*STILES are the vertical pieces and  RAILS are the horizontal pieces you see in the frame work of doors and cabinetry.

In the collage below, you can see my very sophisticated re-configuration process to keep the decorative ends of the header.  ; D

I’ll leave things here for this post with these “upper” alterations.

Hope you’re finding this interesting and will come back for the 2nd part of this transformation…..


Oh!  The doors have it!

working on the new header--

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This is for you Kathy Nielsen!

Thanks for asking–guess I should explain better when I talk about these things!  Sure hope this helps and I haven’t added more confusion….

I know pretty pictures of cool projects are more fun and interesting, but maybe THIS could be too!


explaining a "rabbet"rabbet

also re·bate


  1. A cut or groove along or near the edge of a piece of wood that allows another piece to fit into it to form a joint.

  2. A joint so made.

Okay, so that’s the technical definition, now let’s talk turkey.

 explaining a "rabbet"

explaining a rabbet cut


 THIS is the primary bit used in a router that makes the cut~

although it is my preference, it’s not the only bit or way to accomplish this cut….

a RABBETing bit
You can also make this cut at the table saw.
cutting a rabbet on the table saw

This type of joint/joinery is very stable and once you start to really look at the joints in/of your furniture, you’ll see it a lot!  And thanks to Kreg jigs, you’ll see a lot of pocket screw joinery now too, which makes another very strong joint.

why a rabbet joint--

But you’ve probably also heard me talk about dado‘s.

dado vs rabbet

These are BOTH commonly used ways to join two sides together  -AND they’re also something you see all the time and probably never realized!

For instance, and some quick examples

using a RABBET to sink the chicken wire--A DADO cut is that little channel that holds the screen and spline in your door and window frames, and sometimes shelves are “buried” into the sides/walls this way for more stability.  Pull a drawer out and see which parts of the box are built this way too–like the bottoms.
A RABBET cut -is what glass sets into to sit flush or deeper/counter sunk from the inside/back of a cabinet door  -it’s that part of a frame you set your pictures, mirrors, and chalk boards into  -and what I set/fixed the chicken wire into for my china cabinet project (pictured at right).  And once again–look at your drawer boxes!

You’ll probably be surprised at how many things you’ll find throughout your house built with these joints.

Once you see it, you’ll notice it even more and start to understand how a lot of things are made.  Just start looking!


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The old record cabinet.

I bought this in Atlanta in 2009

~while visiting my cousin, JeanAnn.  I think she’s suspicious of just WHO I am coming to visit since I’m always running off to go shopping while I’m there.

the old record cabinet

My plan was to convert it into a little girl’s armoire.  I was going to shorten the legs some and add an architectural crown at the top.  But–I had so many children’s cabinets to be sold–I back-burnered it.  However, I did not mean to abandon the poor thing all together.

It’s been so long, I may have had a change of heart regarding its new design.    At 37h  x  15½d  x  18½w . . . .

How about a small space night stand–??  Too tall?  A side table?  Drop a sink in it to go in a very small half bath?  I could keep going here you know…!

One change I intended is still happening—I’m cutting out the center door section!

After adding back some missing appliques and deciding on the thickness of the “sides,” I used a piece of wood as a measuring and marking guide–then free-handed, or, eased those finished lines with a sharpie marker so it was easy to follow with the jig saw.

altering the old record cabinetcuuting out the center door section--Did that just freak you out?

I drilled pilot holes at each of the corners -and a few extra places- to poke the blade through to cut out the center.  I did a pretty accurate job with the jig saw (it’s a curved door), but I still eased the edges really carefully -and again- free-hand at the router table with a dado bit.  Lastly, I switched to a ¼” round over bit and finished with a little sanding.

after the cut-out---

the door with its cut-outthe parts primed and laid out---This is where I left off last night… everything sanded and primed, except the top is stripped (for now).

Here are all the parts laid back out.  The poor little cabinet was so loose-y goose-y and super rough, I thought it would be easier just to take it completely apart.  I know~looks like crap right now, just gimme a minute….

more tomorrow. . .


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the old farm chair--I found this on a curb last year, and stuck it up in the garage attic. . .

. . .Until Further Notice.

[We] all know and understand the dreaded “Until Further Notice” piles, -to layman it’s just a hoarder thing- but Wendy told me at Haven, it’s “…a garage full of GOOD IDEAS.”

Since I’m working on things for tomorrow’s Trunk Sale AND to refill my antique mall-space, this got pulled from the GOOD IDEAS pile for a quick makeover.  ; D


fixing the damaged seatWhat I thought was just a de-laminating veneered seat turned out to be deeper damage, so this project became more than just -a quick paint job-.

With the chair laying face down, I drizzled some amber Gorilla Glue into the splits and cracks and clamped it up for the night.  Knowing it still wasn’t going to look “pretty” painted up I decided to upholster the seat.

I pulled some grain sack cloth and burlap -and both looked gOOd- BUT. . .and this might sound cheap, BUT. . .

Knowing the chair won’t fetch much money, I don’t want to surrender my cool grain sack cloth to it.

Yes, I cheaped out—but you know what?

I really like it!

Simple-clean-nice!  Just needs a tiny touch up & trim. . . . . . . . . Wish I had more to go around the farm table I’m also taking. . . .


the curbie farm table chair--

my curbie farm table chairI’m sharing this project with one of my favorite linky parties!


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