Recover(ing/ed) and change in construction direction

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Blog entry by JohnTM posted 11-15-2017 10:57 PM 992 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

My earache has subsided, though it’s weird that as soon as I go outside, the symptoms return (though less than the last time out each time I do go out). Anyway, will be back “to it” tomorrow for certain.

The change in construction direction comes courtesy of Craigslist. As I had nothing better to do while holed up inside dealing with the earache and accompanying bouts of vertigo, fever and fuzzy vision, I haunted CL for the last few days and kept seeing a couple different “free kitchen/other cabinet” listings. The first 2 times I had nothing better to do, so I watched them get snapped up and removed when they’d been picked up by other scavengers within minutes of being put out/listed. Yesterday afternoon, there was another listing that said the listing would be removed when the cabinets were gone, but I didn’t go after them. The listing was still there this morning & at noon; I finally decided that the Prius’ gas there and back would be pennies – so I went for a look. Surprise, surprise, they were still on the curb. The Prius’ rear hatch opening is just over 31.5” wide by just under 25” tall – standard cabinets should fit inside (notice the should).

After loading the one in the best condition, coincidentally the largest, I tried to take a second and found… um, no. Not in that configuration. Unload, load the 2nd one first this time, turn it sideways, reload the 1st again (this time hanging out the back of the Prius), look for the rope to tie the hatch down… um, hey – it’s not there/I KNOW I brought it/s*/it’s under the 1st cabinet/unload that cabinet again/get the rope/reload the “first” cabinet a 3rd time, tie the hatch down, load drawers into the front seat (seem to be ‘extras’ that don’t go with any units on the street), and take off for home. Unload, eat lunch, decide to gamble again and made a 2nd trip…surprise. Still there. Took 2 more. Left the 3 in the worst condition. Home. Unload – try my luck a 3rd time? Why not, though the ear begins to act up. Got back and the remnants were still there but now there’s no parking spaces within 50 feet, only across a 4 lane divided road. Humph. Well, I hadnt done the gym thing in a while, so why not. Humped all three pieces through city traffic across the divided ground roadway one at a time and dealt with a homeowner who didn’t like that I “dropped” them off one at a time behind my car before going to get the next. Soothed his angst slightly by getting them all loaded (under his watchful eye of course) and headed home.

Quality and style-wise, these are 1960’s era, a mix of 1/4” – 3/8” plywood and MDF and cheap hardware (hinges, drawer slides, etc.). Construction-wise, there’s no dovetails or anything fancy. Instead, some of the drawers, not all, are merely stapled together. Where quality joinery would be screws and glue, there’s a notable lack of glue, some “wood” splitting due to misaligned screws. And other signs of “slap-together” and be done with it construction. But, hey.. it was free and most of it seems to be modifiable/salvageable with a little bit of creativity and effort.

So, the plan now is to mod/convert two of the cabinets into worktable bases. I need to trim and/or replace some of the damaged side and interior pieces, salvage some of the hardware on the one that’s probably not recoverable, and then, I’ll probably mount at least 2 on the 3’x6’ plywood piece I was going to use as a benchtop, turning it into the bottom piece. I’m thinking that one of the two cabinets will work as a router table base, another as an upside-down jigsaw base, while the largest of them all make work well as an outfeed/assembly table. I need to check that one carefully, maybe replacing one of the sides or thickening it with another piece of plywood. It would be nice to be able to stick a 6” vice on the end/corner – might also need some interior reinforcement for that.

I also have to figure out the top surfaces as there wasn’t any melamine or plywood with these. No big deal. I was going to face this problem with the bench I was making anyway.

I kinda hate CST – it gets dark too early now. (Dark being relative with my aging eyes and vision.)

Pics tomorrow – before, during and after hopefully.

1 comment so far

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127 posts in 1912 days

#1 posted 11-16-2017 04:36 PM

It will save you a lot of time not building cabinets.

The easiest thing for tops is to get MDF and layer at least two pieces. Then feed it a few coats of thinned out poly and wax if you want. Dry Glue Pops right off. Some people add a 1/4” sacrificial hardboard top. I’ve had my MDF tops for at least 3 years and they have a few scratches but look and function well. The marks show it s a working top and not a piece of furniture.

One caution is that 3/4” MDF will sag over long unsupported stretches so when you glue up two pieces you want to make sure the it is well supported and leveled.. And it can come bowed from the store too. Look at building two Level beams first to use to glue them on.

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