Friday, November 1, 2013

An Upcycled Dresser Drawer becomes a Lampstand and Some Storage

As you may remember, I had to elevate my lamp/mirror on my dressing table and had resorted to this less-than-lovely solution:

(My dad and I made the jewelry stand.  It spins.  Nifty, yes?)

I wanted something with storage underneath and wherein one could not see cardboard boxes from the side.  If it weren't for wanting storage, I would have sewn something.  

But instead....  I came up with this:

  First, I found a drawer that would fit in the space.

The dresser is long-gone, but I saved the drawers.  The front plate on the drawer is bigger than the sides, so it doesn't rest flat on the desk.  Plus the front plate blocked me from storing anything underneath.

First I took off the handle....
Then I got a hammer.  The side were just glued (I thought).  At any rate, there weren't any of the those lovely dovetail joints, so I figured taking a hammer might work.  I could always resort to the saw if it didn't.

It did work.  But that stubborn face plate turned out to be what was keeping the whole thing together.

My husband has come downstairs after talking with his parents in Germany.  We decide to reinforce the two places where the sides join the back.

First we had some staples to remove:
 I convinced him that if he shows me how to properly use the hammer, he won't have to keep nailing things for me for the rest of my life!

(I am not wearing the safety glasses for fear of lawsuits. I am wearing them because I once interviewed an eye doctor for a freelance assignment and he told me that not a week goes by without him removing something from someone's eye that shouldn't have been there IF they'd worn safety glasses.)

Next, we cut a thin piece of wood from the scrap-wood-to-burn pile (thanks, Dad!) and glued it across the front of the side where the front plate had been.  This is me being excited about using a miter box:

 We nailed the piece down so it wouldn't float away on the glue.  (This was Handsome's idea.  It wouldn't have occurred to me.)
 Some more glue, and then clamps.

Making the swinging front panel...
Apparently most folks who work with wood and tools have this glorious thing I call A Miscellaneous Bits Box.  It is full of screws, nails, random bits of plastic left over from assembly projects, and, happily for me, a hinge.  (Like the good geocacher that I am, I added an object before I took one: the drawer pull that I had removed from the original drawer.)  So that was the source of the hinge, which must have come from somewhere originally, but my beloved couldn't remember where.

The wood for the front was scrap wood from my father's workshop.  I think it was a cabinet door gone horribly wrong.  So there’s one piece of quality wood (probably oak) amid the pine and pressboard.

We cut the door to size.

We used a router to soften up the edges.

Then we sanded it using an orbital sander and two increasingly fine types of sandpaper.

We put the hinge on, which involved a good deal of measuring and hesitation on my part.  (It was another power tool, though, which I really love using!)  We discover to that dad's Miscellaneous Bits Box unfortunately did not have screws that were flat and brassy, so before that we used will probably get swapped out after my next trip to the hardware store.  For one thing, they stick up so much that the door doesn't open as far as I would like, although it's plenty far enough to be workable.  Dad also pointed out that two hinges would have worked much better than one cheap one.  Since he likes to work with oak and mahogany while my idea of a successful project is one where I don't have to buy anything, I didn't say anything.  He is right, of course, and I probably would switch out the hinges if this was the drawer I was going to access all the time. 

We discovered that because of the sides of the drawer being higher than the piece of wood to which the hinge was fixed the door would not open as far as I had wanted.  Dad got out a utility knife and whittled down the soft pine a little bit to help with this problem.

 Now that we are done, I'm really thrilled with it.  Of course, the fun part is yet to come: Decorating!  (Update: click here for decorating!)
If you're thinking about doing this here are some tips.
1.  Check to see if your drawer has dovetail joints.  If it does, you aren't going to be able to hammer the front panel off.  You will have to use a saw instead.  The good news, however, is that you are dealing with sturdy, high-quality furniture.
2.  Check the bottom of the drawer.  Is its sturdy enough?  Granted, this depends on what you are going to put on top of that, but the bottom of my drawer was the only part of the whole affair that wasn't actually solid wood.  It wouldn't hold much more than I have on it now.
3.  Consider how far you want the drawer to open before you pick your hinge. 

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