1880s Counter

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Blog series by Smitty_Cabinetshop updated 03-20-2020 04:15 AM 13 parts 8404 reads 243 comments total

Part 1: What is it, what you gonna do with it?

01-13-2020 04:10 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 8 comments »

Here we go again… It was a dark and stormy night. Well, no, not really stormy. Or even night. But it was dark. And wet. My son was with me, along with my dad and daughter, in October of 2018 to discover and salvage whatever millwork we could find in a 135 year old commercial building in a nearby town. The brick structure was slated for demo; the roof had leaked for years, all the windows in the rear were bricked shut decades earlier, and the upper floors had been vacant at least a co...

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Part 2: Okay, What Exactly Do I Have?

01-14-2020 12:09 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 14 comments »

The title of this post has actually been a recurring question since the counter was pulled out of a derelict building fifteen months ago. How bad was that structure? Here’s what it looked like six months ago. Anyway, in the kick-off to this series I talked about getting back to the beginning. There’s one bad picture of the piece before it was moved, and a very bad memory bank in my head that doesn’t remember what it looked like before it was taken apart. Seriously, no...

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Part 3: One (Re-)Turn Deserves Another

01-15-2020 01:38 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 13 comments »

If you’ve paid attention thus far, you know the counter was cut off on one end, and that a single example of a ‘return’ is all I have. Aside from being incomplete (bottom rotted away), it will serve as a good pattern for a recreation piece for the other end of the counter. I propped it in the face vice of the bench to have a look. I need to rehab this original piece to replace rot, but first it must be duplicated! Face boards are 7/8” stock. Stiles (?...

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Part 4: Figuring things out

01-17-2020 01:20 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 13 comments »

Went to dad’s shop space and did some “assembly,” or staging of the pieces of the counter to revisit how it needs to come together. Yes, a great many of the pics have the piece upside down; that’s the way I’m able to work it at this stage. Enough discussion, let’s take a look. The top is on the concrete; to that, I’ve added the complex moulding assy that has not been completely deconstructed as well as parts of each of the returns. Once that...

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Part 5: Front Panel 'King Board'

01-19-2020 08:24 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 12 comments »

It happens at some point during every significant project. I get a bit hung up over completion details and then progress slows, while I play around the edges of the project or piece. In this case, it’s the inset panel of the counter that has my undivided attention. It needs to be cut down, and the end ‘length’ is not critical as it’s buried behind 6” + of other pieces on both ends. Cutting the 45˚ lap joint, gluing it, and getting it cut to length is all my distr...

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Part 6: Big Moves, Big Progress

01-22-2020 12:22 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 13 comments »

Okay, big statements in the title, so let’s get right to it. First color matching. Yep, I’m talking paint. I laid down a tan-ish base coat to approximate what I’ve seen as a lighter finish that’s under the green that survives on most of the rest of the carcase. Then laid down the green. The finish on the surviving end-cap is NOT green like the millwork I used to get the color mixed, that’s for sure. So the whole thing may end up getting a coat when ...

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Part 7: And to Top It All Off...

01-31-2020 03:29 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 10 comments »

The top has been a nagging issue. On the back burner, but an outstanding issue nonetheless. It started as a wet, rotting mass under glued-down linoleum. After some cleanup, and with a rough cut to length, the problem of rot was isolated to one corner area. I’ve decided to cut the board to a narrower width and restore it to size with donor material. That’ll get rid of 90% of the rot and also get me a solid edge the entire run of the piece. It’s not something I&#...

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Part 8: Square Up, Trim Out

02-05-2020 03:14 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 8 comments »

So, in the beginning, we started with a single complex moulding assy that supported the underside of the top. It was 11’ long and had one ‘return,’ or 90˚ el that was on the left end of the piece. I didn’t take pictures, but several weeks ago my Dad convinced me to cut this long piece at the 8’ mark, at a 45˚ angle, and use that cutoff to make the right return. I used the small crosscut saw from my tool tote that Bob Summerfield sharped and restored for me...

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Part 9: What's the Latest on the Top?

02-06-2020 02:38 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 57 comments »

I ripped the top that was just under 24 1/2” wide to get rid of 90% of the rot problem. The challenge then is to replace the rotten wood with good stuff. Dad offered a vintage “red pine” 2x that we dug out of inventory. Here it is after cutting it to rough length. Let the planing begin. And it did. A lot. When it got to the right thickness (just under 1 1/2”), it headed to the bench. First, had to remove the crochet. Then, in the vises it went. ...

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Part 10: Top, Trim-out, and Infrastructure

02-11-2020 11:54 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 43 comments »

Lots of content added to comments section of last blog entry, but I’ll catch everyone up on progress. Specifically, the top has been cut to final width, planed with various smoothers (4, 4 1/2, 1), and edged with stock that matches the stuff originally found around the top. I decided to paint said edging, as the original was. Then it was placed on the counter carcase at Dad’s shop; AND IT FIT! :-) Today it was about cutting and applying the large ori...

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Part 11: Cutting Skirtboard Bevels

02-19-2020 12:39 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 16 comments »

Started with this, needed to complete framing. Then all that framing needed a 1/2” shim job to get it all prepped for skirting. That was a pain to complete, too. But while I was at it, a number of screws were put in place to tie all the pieces together a little more rigidly. 2” finish nails were shot in as well. We’ve got a pretty tight old carcase now. Skirt boards need a number of perfectly cut (!) inside and outside bevels. How to do that ran the gamut. Free ...

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Part 12: Reassembly Complete!

02-25-2020 11:06 PM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 18 comments »

Ah, so nice! From this: To this! Next time some basic framework in the back before sealing the top then taking a break on the project. Thanks for looking!

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Part 13: Filling Holes...

03-20-2020 04:15 AM by Smitty_Cabinetshop | 18 comments »

Yep, that’s what I did tonight, under the threat of quarantine! Not because anyone in the house is expected to be sick or exposed, but because Illinois is tight and getting tighter. Anyway, started by turning the top upside down and taping holes so they’re be no bleed-through. Then turned it over and got ready to fill by taping the hole ‘surrounds’. Mixed up the epoxy, filled holes! Yeah, not exciting. Know what is exciting? The beams in the cellar of Dad...

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