Tag Archives: varnish

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?

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Kitchen Countertop Adventures

So I had left off previously talking about the new counter-top we were working on for the trailer. I can’t say that it is all complete, but we have made some progress.

We decided to put an epoxy finish over the wood to give it a nice shiny, protective coating. This has turned out to be a little tricky. I am, however, getting ahead of myself.

We started off with the prep work. I took the counter out to our truck shelter which is acting as our work shop. Out there, Kat applied the stain and varnish to it.

Once that was done, I propped it up to it was all as level as I could get it. I taped all of the edges to prevent spill-over and I also prepared a sheet to cover it after we finished the pour.

If you’re wondering what the big log in the middle is for, that’s to hold up the cover sheet so it doesn’t touch the counter.

So, let the pouring begin!

We learned quite a few things doing this. First, epoxy likes it to be warm. The warmer, the quicker it will cure. Secondly, humidity is bad. This will encourage bubbles in your epoxy and that’s not a good thing.

Kat and I did this together because the epoxy starts to setup pretty quickly after you mix it. We managed to complete the pouring in short order. Fortunately, the counter-top isn’t that big.

Once the pour was completed, I spent some time trying to get rid of some of the bubbles, but that didn’t go so well. According to the instructions, gently exhaling on them should make them burst as it supposedly reacts with the CO2 from your breath. Well, I did a lot of blowing and the bubbles didn’t pop at all.

I also couldn’t spend forever working on this because it was starting to set, and also bugs kept falling in it. We did fish some big ones out and eventually I just covered it.

I used an old shower curtain for the cover, which worked really well. After that we let it sit for a long time, over a week.

When we finally went in to look at it, it was all nice and shiny, but there were a few bugs sticking out of it and lots of bubbles. Also, the tape didn’t work quite as well as we had hoped and there were a lot of drips down the sides that we had to shave off.

Here you can see Kat in her bug hat removing the tape.

I took some time and dug out the bugs I could find, as well as many of the bubbles. Then I did a filler coat on top of that. It has since dried, but I plan to do one more final thin coat as that last one came out a bit rough.

I did some searching online and found one website that said the most ideal setup for doing epoxy is in a vacuum. Not having a vacuum chamber readily available, we went with what we had. Hopefully, after this third coat, it will look nice. I’ll let you know how it goes after we get that done.

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!

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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 🙂

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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.