Tag Archives: drawers

Where have we been

So here we are at the last day of August and I haven’t posted anything in ages. Now it’s time to rectify that.

This is going to be a mishmash of a bunch of different things.

First, some projects that we’ve been working on.

If you recall from last year, we installed a new counter top around the sink in the kitchen, along with associated cupboards and drawers.

Notice that gap at the 45° angle where the bare wood behind is showing. We now have a new piece put in to cover that.

It wasn’t all that difficult, however I did discover that my table saw can’t handle cutting a piece of red oak 19mm (3/4″) thick at a 45° angle. The motor isn’t powerful enough to do the cut. I had to take the piece over to a friend’s place and use their table saw to do it. After that, it was stain and varnish as usual.

Next on the project list is our front steps.

When we put them in last year we only put one coat of varnish on them. They got all mucky during the winter, as you can see, so we decided to redo them.

Of course, we couldn’t take them all off at the same time as then we’d need to put a trampoline in front of the door to get in and out. So we’ve been working on it one step at a time, as it were. I have a spare piece of the same lumber that I cut to size and clamp it into position while we work on redoing each step. This means we can take our time and we can still get in and out of the trailer without issue.

Here is the first step after refinishing.

I put each step through the planer a few times to get rid of all the junk on top. Then we stained it. The stain we used was one we bought for some other reason that neither Kat nor I can remember, and when we put it on it was hardly even noticeable. We applied two coats of stain and then six coats of varnish. In the end, they have turned out alright.

We’ve finished two of the three steps and are working on the third right now.

In other news, wood shavings. We were getting low on bulking material for the composting toilet so we stopped at one of the many lumber mills they have around here and asked if we could have some. We filled up four large garbage bags from a mountain of the stuff that they had at no charge.

The only thing about those wood shavings is that they were wet and we didn’t want them rotting in the bags, or worse frozen into one clump come winter so I devised a method to dry them out.

I put a tarp in the truck bed and spread the shavings out on top of it. This did require several stirrings and a few days of good sunshine, but in the end it worked pretty well.

One of the last big things to rebuild in the trailer since we tore it apart to have it spray foamed, is the kitchen pantry. Being on a limited budget this year, we haven’t been able to go out and buy the materials for it. I did, however, have enough materials on hand to build the drawer that forms the base of the pantry.

Above is the spot where the pantry will be. You can see how I have already put in the side pieces on the left. The reason we are putting a drawer here is so, in the event we need to get access to the plumbing at the back, we can take out the drawer and still get to the clean-out in the pipe.

Needless to say, there was a lot of fiddling to get things just right as nothing is square or level and we need to make all sorts of cut-outs for the pipes and wiring.

Here is Inspector Fizgig checking out the work so far.

Further along, we have the final framing for what the drawer will be mounted to and what the pantry will be sitting on.

Why the double layer on the left side, you might be wondering? You can’t see all of the details of the back wall there, but the left edge of the pantry will actually not be up against the edge of the counter due to irregularities in the wall. As a result of this, I wanted to have something solid for the left edge of the pantry to sit on so I put a double layer of lumber on that left side. To cover the drawer there is going to be two layers of 19mm (3/4″) plywood for the pantry to sit on, so it should be pretty stable. It’s not going to be made of particle board so there will be some significant weight to the pantry, especially once you fill it up so I want to make it as stable as I can.

Anyway, I put the drawer together for the spot and then discovered that it was too wide. This is partially due to the fact that I thought the drawer rails were 11mm but they’re actually 13mm. Also, I was using lumber of different dimensions. The drawer front and back are 16mm (5/8″) but the sides are 19mm (3/4″) and somewhere I forgot to take that extra width of the sides into account.

At first I thought I only had to fix one side of the drawer as I hadn’t discovered my mistake with the rail thickness yet. I pulled the one side off the drawer (which isn’t fun after you’ve glued it) and I ran it through the planer. Note to self, don’t ever put plywood through a planer. It’s okay if you are planing in the same direction as the grain, but as soon as you get through that layer, the next one will have it’s grain going 90° to the previous layer and the planer will destroy it. I got it down to the right thickness, but it looked really ugly.

After putting the drawer back together, it was then I discovered the issue with the rail thickness. This time I used a table saw (again a friend’s because mine couldn’t handle the job) and cut 4mm off the side of the drawer. I ran it through once, then flipped it over and ran it through again so there was only a strip in the middle that I had to deal with. I used my reciprocating Dremel (or oscillating tool) with a cutting attachment to handle this, but it wasn’t pretty nor was it quick.

After all was said and done, I did managed to get the drawer installed.

We plan to put shoes and boots in it as we seem to have an over abundance of those lying around.

I have also been putting in a fair amount of time at the top of the hill where we plan to build the earthship. I’ve been working on clearing it and it looks like quite the area of destruction.

There was quite a bit of brush saw work to handle all of the small stuff. That was several days worth of work. Once that was done, I brought out the chainsaw and in two tanks of gas I had the entire section cleared.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a before picture. Now we need to do something with all of stuff that was cut. We’ll probably wait until November and just make a big bonfire. Can’t do that now as there are restrictions on having fires during the day.

Our garden is quite interesting this year, mostly because we didn’t plant most of the stuff that is growing in it. This picture was taken near the beginning of August and we have quite the huge squash plant going on there in the foreground. Behind that we have potatoes and tomatoes. Somewhere in there where you can’t see are the watermelons we actually planted.

We were away for a week and came back to this.

The squash has jumped out into the yard on one side and one of the compost bins on the other. The tomatoes have also jumped the boundary and started taking over the other compost bin. It looks like we’re going to have enough tomatoes and squash to sink a small ship.

Here is an awesome picture of some day lilies from our flower garden.

And just to put the icing on the cake, here are Gurgi and Fizgig hanging out together on the bed.

Everybody got that?


Kitchen Counter, reprise

Okay, way back in July I posted about finishing the kitchen counter around the sink. In case you forget, this is what it looked like:

As you can see from that picture, there was still some work to do below the counter: namely build some drawers and cupboards. The drawers were finished fairly soon after the counter but we had a few delays with the finishing of the whole thing.

Let me share that particular adventure.

After we had put the counter in, I immediately went to work on the new drawers. I used the same technique I came up with while working on the kitchen cabinet. So it wasn’t long before I had the basic drawers constructed and ready for a fitting test.

Here is Fizgig trying out the first drawer.

He had to try it while it was pulled out as well. He matches the wood pretty well.

The high back on that drawer will make more sense in a moment. Moving along, I made the other two drawers that were to be installed above that first one. We put them in and it all looked good.

Of course, after that they headed out to the staining department. Our staining department (Kat) was also busy working at her new job this summer, so finding time for her to get some of these projects completed meant things were delayed more than once.

In any event, the drawer interiors were all stained a nice red and put back into position.

At this point, I also installed the interior hardware for that bottom drawer.

Yes, we made it a drawer for all of our baking trays and cutting boards. It is awesome because those types of things are a pain in the butt to put in a stack in a cupboard. If you want one close to the bottom, you have to shuffle through the entire stack. We knew when we had put in a drawer like this when we lived in Ottawa that having a similar drawer in the trailer would be really handy.

After that, we needed to put the drawer faces on along with handles and knobs. We also needed cut the pieces for the cupboards, put their edges on and finish them as well. You wouldn’t think that would take very long, but it did.

The drawer fronts didn’t take too long, but the cupboards sat around for quite a while. Part of that was Kat working, distractions of other projects and the fact that several measuring mistakes were made. The cupboards were cut to fit the space, but once you put the hinges on it forces them to sit within a certain small area. I ended up having to trim and redo two of the cupboards because they ended up being too big to fit once mounted to the hinges.

This also meant that Kat had to refinish the edges that I trimmed, which delayed things even further. As a result, it was the third week of October before we reached this stage.

We finished all three new cupboards and everything looks rather nice now.

There is that small space between the center pair of cupboards and the one on the right that needs to have something put in it. I do have a plan for that, but as it is cosmetic, it may wait until next spring as we do have some other things that we are currently working on.

I should mention that the cupboard on the right holds a little secret: I mounted our recycling bin to it and it is hinged at the bottom.

You pull it out and have easy access to the recycle bin, and it’s also kept out of sight which helps to reduce the clutter. You can see I put in some stops to prevent the cupboard door from dropping to the floor (they’re just below the white recycle bin).

In addition to this, while we’re getting caught up on things, remember that bed frame with the drawers we built last year? It looked something like this:

It sat like that for quite a while, with no faces on the drawers. That has now been resolved as well.

Kat painted them green and I put them on sometime in August. It’s so nice to have handles on those things, having scraped the flesh off my fingers a few times trying to get the drawers open without handles.

That gets us caught up with the kitchen and bedroom. We have a couple of other things going on, but time is rapidly running out. It is getting colder, we run the fire quite a bit now and we’ve even had a bit of the white stuff.

We’ve also started into more cloudy weather, so we’ve been trying to conserve our solar power to make it last as long as we can. This means no long days using power tools.

Winter is coming. Are you ready?

Trailer Bed

Unfortunately, I can’t spend every day writing song parodies, though there probably isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t destroy a line or two from whatever song I have stuck in my head that day. When I’m not messing with song lyrics, I make things. Today’s topic is bed frames.

If you have been following along, you’ll know that we had the rest of the trailer insulated with spray foam a little while back. This was only possible after ripping out everything down to the metal framing. As a result, we have a lot to rebuild.

I’m sure you all know what that means? Right, make a plan first. So here is the plan I made in Sketchup for the new bed frame.


Here is another picture of the plan with the top removed so you can see the framing and drawers.


Plans are great to have, but once you start dealing with the real world, they need to be adjusted. For instance, our floor isn’t level, despite what the level indicator on the outside of the trailer says. I had to make some adjustments to the measurements so the bed would be level, or at least a very close approximation there to.

Once I had all of the adjustments I needed recorded, I stared to cut the pieces. I spent four days cutting pieces of wood. This may sound like a lot, but it might take me fifteen or twenty minutes to setup a cut as I was using my skill saw for most of it. That means measuring, marking and then placing a cutting guide in the proper position to make the cut straight. I’m pretty finicky about that so it can take some time.

Once I had all of the pieces cut, it was time to assemble the drawers. I used the same technique I used when we made the kitchen cupboard. Here is a picture of the drawers after assembly.


We also decided to try out this new stain we heard about called Sansin. It’s Canadian made and it’s supposed to be environmentally friendly stuff. We had a few issues with it, however. First, the place in town only sold the exterior version of the stain. Second, it was expensive. A full 3.8L can (1 gallon) was $100. Fortunately, we didn’t need a full can and bought the 890mL (0.23 gallon) can instead.

Kat, being the staining department at this shop had further issues with this stain as well. It was difficult to apply with a brush. Brush strokes were quite evident and pools of stain would soak in and harden so quickly that you would end up with raised portions that only sanding could smooth out. You would be left with a darker section though. The instructions on the can did say that using an aerosol system was ideal for applying it, but we don’t own such a thing.

Here is a picture of the drawers after staining, being tested.


Seems to fit purrfectly, wouldn’t you say? 😛

The other thing I will mention about the stain is I didn’t like the colour after we had applied it. I was hoping for something a little more on the yellow side, not burnt orange. Fortunately, these are drawers and you don’t see them unless you pull them out.

After the drawers got two coats of stain, we were ready to start the installation. I made sure to have everything ready so we could complete it in one day, as otherwise we would have some seriously complicated sleeping arrangements. We did, after all, need to move the mattress out of the way to install the bed frame, which meant leaning it up against the kitchen table.

With the space cleared, the first part of the frame that goes under the window was put into place.


Using markings I had already made on the first piece of framing, I was able to easily just pop in the first side wall. I added the little 2×4 for extra stability.


From there, it was a matter of simply working left to right. I added the first drawer rail, then I positioned the drawer and second rail to get the position of the middle wall. Once that was marked, I bolted down the middle wall, attached the second rail to it, and then connected the rails to the drawer.


There we go, one side completed. It was much the same procedure for the right side. Here I am sizing up my last drawer rail.


We managed to get all of the drawers installed in short order, though I did run into a few complications. The drawer on the right, after it was attached to the rail, was hitting the floor on one corner which is bad. As I mentioned above, the floor isn’t level and I had put in a spacer at the back to make sure there was enough room for the drawer to slide, but apparently it either wasn’t enough, or something moved when we did the final attaching. Anyway, I just took out the screws on the rail, put another spacer in and reattached it. Interestingly enough, the level indicated that the drawer was level when it was touching the floor. Things to keep in mind if you’re ever trying to do this.

Here is Fizgig looking things over and not liking it.


Another part where I goofed was the bracing walls I had at the back of the drawers. You can see the one in place on the left in the picture below, but the one on the right is still leaning up against the wall. The mistake I made is they were too short. The other rails I had used for the kitchen cupboard were all 13mm (1/2″) thick, but the ones I used for these drawers were 19mm (3/4″). My plan measurements were based off the 13mm rail thickness, so when it came time to put it together, my support walls were short.

Fortunately, it was easy enough to just put another piece of wood in there and screw it all down.


After all that, it was time to put the top pieces on. Here is the first one.


And the final frame, with edging and the drawers hanging out so you can see them. There is also a sexy guy in the picture too.


Not to be outdone, the sexy woman who is a resident here had to try it out as well.


We put the mattress on it…


… and then made the bed, which the cats thought was just great.


You may have noticed that the overhangs from side to side are not the same depth. That is by design. We needed enough space for feet on the left side so I made the overhang bigger there.

We do still need to put the facing pieces on the drawers, along with the handles, but right now, we have a functional bed frame with spacious drawers underneath. We were able to unpack the rest of our clothes and put them in the drawers, clearing up a lot of room on the floor of the closet.

Every project we complete gives us just a tad more organization in our lives. It’s a good feeling to have.

As a bonus, we had a full moon a few nights ago and it had this huge halo around it. I attempted to capture this on camera and was moderately successful.


Unfortunately, the camera frame was not big enough to get the whole thing in, but I think you can see most of it.

Kitchen cabinet saga, part 2

Keep your hats on, this is going to get exciting!

Continuing off from the previous post, we have made significant strides in completing our kitchen cabinet. As you can see in this first picture, we have TWO whole drawers installed!


What’s that you say? Yes, the staining faery got her hands on them and now the drawers are stained. But let’s not stop there, let’s see if we can go for all three drawers…


Yes, we can. Look at that. In case you are wondering, that top drawer is stained as well, it’s just that Kat decided not to use the dark red for parts that weren’t going to be seen.

So, we have three drawers installed, what’s next? Making it look nice, that’s what. It’s time to make the front facing pieces. These are the decorative outer layer that everyone will see when then come into the trailer. If you remember from the last post, I bought some red oak veneer on press board for this purpose.

I won’t bore you with the details of cutting out the pieces, as there was enough of that in the last post. However, I was digging around in a box of stuff my Dad had given me and I found a roll of this stuff.


For those unfamiliar with cabinetry, that is wooden edging that you iron on to cover the ugly inner press board looking parts. In case you want to know what that looks like, here it is.


The roll I had was pine, so it doesn’t precisely match the red oak, but we weren’t going to be fussy. It was great that I found the roll in the first place.

I had to borrow a friend’s iron to do the job, but I have to say it went pretty well. You really want to go over it several times with the iron to make certain that the glue melted and has made a good bond with the edge of the board. If you press on it, it shouldn’t bounce back. That’s the rule I used, anyway.

Here is a picture of a finished corner.


Now doesn’t that look a lot nicer than the innards of the press board? I thought you might agree.

I also have a picture of the front face piece for the top drawer, with completed edging.


After putting edging on all of the drawer faces and cabinet doors, they were all shipped over to the staining and varnishing department to make it look even more awesome. How awesome, you say? Well, here is a picture of one of the drawers with its finished face on.


Pretty snazzy, eh? Kat did an amazing job with the staining and varnishing. It looks even better in person.

Here is that same drawer, now back in its place.


The other two drawers now look naked compared to the one on the bottom. We better fix that.


There’s no stopping there either. We did the cupboard doors too.


That was just after I installed the doors and they needed some adjustment, as you may be able to tell as the one on the right looks a little crooked.

Here you can see the cabinet with the cupboard doors open, along with the top drawer pulled out partially.


For the final frosting, we even put handles on everything. It’s a bit like making a cake: the innards of the cabinet are the cake part, the facing is the frosting and the handles are the decorative frosting roses 🙂


By this point I had also fiddled around with the fine settings on the cupboard doors so they fit nicely now. I have to say, this turned out awesome. Yes, there were a few mistakes made, but nothing super bad and nothing that caused any injuries or extra expenses. Hooray for us!

It’s not quite one hundred percent done yet. I still have two sliding shelves to put in the big interior, but I wanted to get the cupboard doors in first to make sure I left enough room on the sides so the sliding shelf won’t hit the hinges or edge of the door. It shouldn’t be too much longer. We’ve already started filling the drawers and it’s making our life just that much easier.

Kat and I are already looking towards the next major project too. Never a dull moment here, that’s for sure.