Small Red Cabinet

It has been a long, long, long time since I’ve updated my page. My personal life took on a life of its own and some of the things I once enjoyed most fell by the wayside. I’d like to believe I’m back and that this post (along with the associated project) is evidence. Truly, only time will tell.

A number of years ago (as many as 5) I was helping my grandma and extended family clean out my grandpas garage. I came across this cabinet.

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The doors are actually turned around because when I first found the cabinet, one of the doors was missing.

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I found it, but (as you can see) it was covered in grease and all sorts of other unidentifiable matter. As you perhaps cannot see, the hinge edge had completely broken off and had to be glued back on.

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The drawer (in the lower right front next to the dutch oven) had the bottom broken out and the face was split in two. Rather than repair it, I built a new drawer with a new bottom and used the face to make parts of candlesticks.

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Also probably not obvious was the fact that the top was very bowed. So I used a the top of an old mahogany dresser to cut a new top. Then it was a matter of squaring up the base and reinforcing all the joints.

My original plan was to sand it down a bit, fill in the holes, and repaint it. Unfortunately, there were possibly as many layers of paint on this piece of furniture as there are on the supports of the New York City Subways. So I decided to strip the paint.

At first, I used chemicals. It was smelly and not as effective as a heat gun turned out to be. By the time I finished, I ended up with about a half gallon of stripped paint. (No picture; sorry).

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The wood beneath is oak and it is beautiful.

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Unfortunately, due to the deep grain patterns, the paint was quite ingrained in the wood and would have been very difficult to get out, though not impossible. The bigger problem was the grease had soaked into and stained the wood and there was a pretty sizable gap where I had to repair the door.

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Even so, I couldn’t completely cover up the wood. Despite the fact that he was best known for his knowledge of horticulture, my dad was also a very skilled woodworker. When I see wood with a pretty grain pattern, his voice kicks in and I have a difficult time painting it.

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I used a vinyl cutter to make a stencil for the door. Due to the intricate pattern, it wasn’t flawless, but overall, I like how it turned out.

Once I got the paint taken off and sanded it, it was ready to paint. I like to spray paint when possible because the finish goes on more evenly than it would with a brush or a roller. I use a pneumatic paint sprayer and enamel paint.

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Based on many of my posts, you can tell I am quite fond of red, especially that chipotle red.

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The new skill I learned was how to use a router on a curved edge. It takes a specific type of router bit with a stop at the top. The bit has a spinning pilot bearing at the top that keeps the blade from cutting too far into the wood.

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One of my very favorite features of this cabinet is the glass knob. In the original drawer there were holes for two, but when it came to me there was only one and it was covered in paint. I love the shape. I love the color. I love that is glass and not acrylic.

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I also like the handles of unknown origin. They were horribly rusted, but I like the designs on them, so I removed the loose rust and painted them a dark walnut brown. 2015-10-31 18.51.59

With the top stained, the cabinet painted, and everything put back together, I think it is a piece I am proud to have on display in my home. I like to think it was something that belonged to my grandparents and now I have it in my home, but the reality is it was sitting in a rarely used garage, behind a couple of engines and an air compressor and it stored all sorts of chemicals. It could just as likely have been something they found on large trash pickup day, but that is far less comforting a thought.

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