With the master bath complete I turned my energy on the kitchen built-in. It’s been in my basement awaiting stain ever since Tom added trim to make it look finished on the outside. Not having it in place is stopping the installation of the last of the crown moulding install and the completion of the kitchen (minus the floors, still an issue that I want to fix, but doesn’t stop the function).
I have so many different combinations I’m using on my wood projects. For this I first applied a coat of Minwax Prestain. I can’t say I’d ever buy this product again, but I had it left over from the front door project. Then I applied a coat of Zar’s Oil Base Stain in Early American. I needed to get the outside (new and previously unexposed) wood to match the aged patina of the inside of the cabinet. Until I started my head board project I had planned to put poly acrylic on the outside, but now that I’ve been introduced to Danish Oil I ended the process with two coats of neutral.
Now this is where got ambitious. The crew from Two Men and a Truck took those pieces down to the basement for me. I needed to get them back upstairs. This is the downfall of being a solo act in this phase of the project and in life. I got the dresser from my Pinterest project upstairs by myself. It was just as heavy as the bottom of the built-in, but not as wide. I decided to give the bottom a shot. The width proved to be the obstacle. I couldn’t get a grip, so I literally somersaulted it up the stairs to the top landing where I then became trapped in basement. The movers took it through the front door and around to the back door to get it in the basement. It was not going to make the turn, so I had to climb over it, lean it back down the steps enough so I could open the back door, I got my car, loaded it in the back, drove it to the front door, somersaulted it up the front steps, and got it reloaded on the wheeled dolly. She suffered some scratches in that ordeal, which I applied Restor-A-Finish to help blend out. Worked like a charm.
Of the four doors (all drawers were missing) of the built-in, the bottom one was in worst shape; faded and dried. I decided to sand the outside down (inside was fine, just needed cleaning) before applying the stain. It also got a coat of Danish oil.
Now it was time to move the top part. I assumed I couldn’t do it by myself given its height, so I did solicit help but my neighbor was out of town and Tom (carpenter) couldn’t help that day. I decided to try it by myself. It was actually lighter than the bottom and the top shelve location was at my shoulder, so I treated it like a cane, taking one step at a time. This time I had the door open and my car ready. However when I drove to the front, another neighbor was driving by so he stopped in the middle of the street, hopped out and helped me carry it in the house. No scratches!
Now the moment of truth. During the framing phase of this project, my father helped me put in a bulkhead that the built-in would rest under, similar to how it was when it was built-in the wall. With the two pieces combined would it fit. The answer was a crushing NO, I was about 3/4″ too tall. Knowing that the floor sloped and thinking that I needed to make the base level before putting the top on, I had purchased adjustable furniture glides. I ended up removing them and putting on felt pads just to protect my floor. In the end I ended up removing them too.
Ultimately what allowed the cabinet to fit was using my hand planer and shaving off some of the top. When Tom installed the trim pieces, he extended past the top of the cabinet by about a 1/2″. The pile of shavings was created by planing down until I was flush with the surface. With that the piece slid into its space, wedged on the left side as it appears the drywall crew made that side extend down longer than the right side.
I put the bottom door on and called it a night. Almost two years ago I found a piece of remnant soap stone at Ohio Valley Solid Surface. They’ve been holding it until I reached this point in the project. They’ve come out and made their template to cut the stone to the opening; I’ll have it next week. To make it fit the way my mind’s eye envisioned, the cabinet will need to be notched, so check back to see how the finished project turns out.
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