Hoosier Cabinet Reproduction

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Project by Carbide posted 06-17-2015 09:26 PM 2713 views 4 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the local Mennonites in my area that owns a furniture store referred a man to me to build a custom cabinet. The man told me that he had the top portion of an old Hoosier cabinet that he wanted me to salvage and build a new base cabinet for. I thought it was going to be a simple project until he brought me the top portion of the cabinet. He tried opening the flour bin and it started to crumble because of the extreme termite damage. He then just dropped his head and said “This is the only thing that I have left that was Grandma’s.” I then said “All hope is not lost Bob. I can salvage the pretty glass in the two doors and the flour sifter and build you a brand new cabinet. Then you will still have a part of your Grandma in the new cabinet.” He sat there for a couple minutes and then his eyes lit up and he started nodding his head. He then said “You’re the doctor. Go ahead and do it.”

It is easy to build a cabinet carcass, add a face frame, measure the opening size, and then build doors to match the opening size. Well the door glass and flour sifter were salvaged and there was no changing their size. So this whole process had to be done in reverse. The whole cabinet size was based on those three original pieces. The glass determined the door size and that size then determined the opening size which then determined the cabinet size. It took a lot of planning ahead to prevent mistakes.

Well he decided that solid red oak would be his preference of wood. Oak plywood was only used in the drawer boxes and cabinet backs. I spent hours gluing up panels for the carcass of the cabinets. I chose to use wormy oak and tight knots throughout the piece to give it the “old” look. He wanted me to use raised panel doors instead of the original flat panels. I decided to use European style hinges and 100 pound drawer slides. So the cabinet has the “old” look but has all of the amenities of new style cabinetry. He chose oil based golden oak and semi-gloss poly as a finish. I needed assistance to flip the pieces during the finishing process because the pieces were so heavy. I offered free set-up and delivery. Mainly because I didn’t want anything to happen to it on the ride to his house. Once the set-up was complete he was completely happy with the outcome. I had roughly $700 in materials and 96 hours of time that I recorded. I never charged a dime for my tool set-up or planning. The last picture shows the original cabinet and what I had to work with from the beginning. I had a rough time letting it go once it was all completed. It was a large part of my life for 4 months. Thanks for looking.

-- When it feels like a job, it isn't a hobby anymore.

12 comments so far

View Andrek's profile


544 posts in 2684 days

#1 posted 06-18-2015 12:15 AM

Very nice work, bravo, thanks for sharing.

-- andrek

View Snowbeast's profile


136 posts in 2112 days

#2 posted 06-18-2015 12:36 AM

You did grandma proud. Very nice work.

View nkawtg's profile


297 posts in 2025 days

#3 posted 06-18-2015 05:23 AM

Nice job, a well executed bit of reverse engineering.

View packymule's profile


4 posts in 2177 days

#4 posted 06-18-2015 05:55 AM

Very nice.! It’ll be handed on for generations . My wife knows I like restoring furniture. Came home with a Wilson brand Hooser cabinet , covered in cobwebs with many busted or missing wood parts. Funny part is that all the glass was intact just like yours. It was my birthday gift, and something she had wanted for a long time. Took about a week just to remove all the layers of paint. And two weeks to restore or replace all the wood. Now it sits in my kitchen doing what is was made to do.. Caught my daughter fingering it , so I know it will be in her kitchen some day..

Need to know something? I sign all my restores. Did you sign the one you just made.?

Again very nice work..

View recycle1943's profile


4493 posts in 2396 days

#5 posted 06-18-2015 10:02 AM

Love those Hoosier cabinets – great build

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3118 days

#6 posted 06-18-2015 02:32 PM

looks great

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3641 days

#7 posted 06-18-2015 06:31 PM

You did a beautiful job on this cabinet.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Carbide's profile


210 posts in 3220 days

#8 posted 06-18-2015 09:04 PM

Thanks for everyone’s kind comments. Yes packymule I did sign it. I hot brand everything I build.

-- When it feels like a job, it isn't a hobby anymore.

View Pointer's profile


453 posts in 1885 days

#9 posted 06-19-2015 06:04 PM

The time spent reverse engineering paid good dividends. The piece turned out very nice. You were the right man for the job.

-- Joe - I am not entirely worthless, I can always serve as a bad example.

View BusterB's profile


2298 posts in 2782 days

#10 posted 06-21-2015 03:35 AM

Wow….that’s a super nice build buddy!!!! My wife and I were talking about Hoosier cabinets the other day…hope she doesn’t see this…lol

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View romanweel's profile


17 posts in 2020 days

#11 posted 06-21-2015 10:08 PM

Beautiful, beautiful work! Question, though (and not to criticize, this project knocks it out of the park!)...why did you decide not to reproduce the decorative bottom piece on the original hutch?

View Carbide's profile


210 posts in 3220 days

#12 posted 06-22-2015 11:00 PM

What’s your wife’s email Buster?? I will be sure to send her a pic.!! I didn’t really like the look of the decorative trim on the bottom romanwheel. Thank you very much Pointer!! I appreciate that!!

-- When it feels like a job, it isn't a hobby anymore.

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