August 29, 2012

Plus one.

When we got home from vacation we obviously couldn't control ourselves and wanted to add more to our to-do list. Mr.B thought it would be nice to add a cabinet next to the fridge. So for not a lot of money we set out to do just that.

This is what we were working with. The spot next to our fridge had quite a bit of space and we previously sat down and designed a whole new kitchen which included the addition of a cabinet to the left of the fridge. So we thought why not just get a cabinet and add it there now?

We looked online to see if Lowe's or Home Depot had a cabinet that was exactly the same. Neither did but they were close so we headed to Lowe's and picked up this guy. For $94 we could deal with the few differences and once it was stained the same color who would really know but us? Well, I guess everyone now.

This is exactly what it looked like when we brought it home. 24" unfinished oak cabinet.

I laid it down on the back so that I could stain it that way because I personally think it makes it easier. I don't need access to either side because the sides are particle board so I wouldn't be staining those.

This is a side panel that they also sell at Lowe's that would need to be installed on the left hand side of the cabinet because the right side would be touching the fridge so we wouldn't need on there. This is also unfinished and was going to be stained the same color.

Here were my supplies: stain - minwax golden oak which gets used a lot around here obviously, small sponge brush and an old shirt. I also laid down some drop clothes just so I didn't get drips on the floor - it's only the basement but still I like to keep things mess free.

Here's the panel after one coat. I like to brush on the stain, let it sit and then wipe it off and rub it in with the cloth.

Here you can see where I brushed on a little bit and was letting it sit. It is really simple to stain an unfinished cabinet. You really just need to wipe it down and apply the stain - easy peasy. I took the drawer out because I had it laying on its back so I didn't want it to stick and I needed to the parts where the drawer touches. It was just easiest to take it out because then I could get the best coverage.

After I let it sit for a minute or two I'd go back and wipe it off and rub it in better to get it darker and more worked into the grain.

Here's the cabinet after one coat of stain. Not to bad - we took the panel upstairs to compare it to the cabinets and decided that once we sealed it, it would probably get a little bit darker and match perfect. 

Here is the side panel after it was stained.

After it had dried for about 20 minutes or more I did 2 coats of poly with dry time in between each of the two coats. I used a little box of nails we had laying around so that the door wouldn't dry and be stuck together. 

Here is the side panel with one side with poly one side with out - just wanted to show the difference. It does make it a little bit darker right at application and as it dries it darkens a little bit more.

Here's both sides poly-ed. You can really see in this picture how it enhances the grain and just makes it look a lot better.

Here is the cabinet after the poly. I took this picture from so many different angles and for some reason I kept getting that white streak but it wasn't like that when I was looking at it. Don't worry the poly wasn't globbed on one side I promise.

Here is the drawer after the poly. The poly I just apply with a foam brush that you can see in the upper right hand corner of this picture. They are throw aways but they work great for staining and poly-ing.

This is what the side of the cabinet looked like. I stained the small strip of wood on the front so that when we put the panel on everything would be finished. 

Mr.B held up the panel and then marked with pencil where it needed to be cut. 

The cut was pretty simple to straight lines and it was done.

This is what we were left with so that we could wrap the base molding all the way around. 

To secure the panel we used some all purpose liquid nails on the back side. Mr.B got fancy with it and did little globs. Globs are the new polka dots - duh!

He lined it up and then pushed on it to smooth out all the adhesive and get a firm hold.

To help hold it in place he did 2 staples at the bottom and 2 at the top. He choose those two locations because the base board would cover up the bottom two and the counter top over hang would make the top two impossible to see.

I took a picture of the ones he did on the bottom. They're in the bottom left and right corners and honestly you can hardly see them.

The next step was the base board. He measured it and cut that at a 45 degree angle and made sure his short point would end at the edge of the cabinet.

When he cut the base molding he had it flipped over with the top of the base facing him so that his short point of the 45 would end at the edge of the cabinet - like so. 

Here's house it looked after we used the trim nailer to nail it in place.

He cut the front piece the same as the side piece making sure his short point would end at the edge of the cabinet so that the two long points would join up perfectly.

A few more nails and this is what the front piece looked like after it was all trimmed out. The right side wouldn't be getting trim because it was the fridge side. In kitchen design that's what we call an appliance edge. That term is used more for counter top but works in this case also.

Here is a nice shot of how it looked all trimmed out. We chose to do the base molding like we did because our other cabinets had that around them so we wanted it to look uniform. The last thing we wanted was for it look like we just slapped a cabinet into place. If we were going to do it we were going to do it so that it looked finished and like it had been there and try to match it up as much as possible.

Next step was adding the counter top. When you measure for your counter top make sure you measure to the very edges in front of the cabinet because they stick out more. We did a 1" overhang simply because that is what we currently had. It wasn't like someone was going to measure it when they came over but we would know and it would bother us. 

The counter top we got is an in-stock item at our Lowe's and matched what we currently had already and like with the cabinet we wanted things to be uniform. It's called Travertine and the smallest they come in is 4'.

The next step was to measure out the counter top and mark it. He did it on the back because he was going to cut from the back to help with any chipping that might occur.

Also to help with chipping we taped the finished side. We marked where it would be cut so we had a guide and then taped down the middle and to each side of the line so that it would be less likely to chip. If you are ever going to cut laminate this is a step I would highly recommend not skipping.

The only problem we had was when we cut the back plash section the blade got pinched so it chewed the back part of the back plash. There was a few chips on the front but the bulk of the 'damage' happened on the backside. One good reason to cut from the back.

Here it is just resting on the cabinet. Our 1" overhang is on the opposite side and our appliance edge is facing us. The little bit of chipping we had on the back splash was also going to be in the corner so it wouldn't be noticeable.

You can see the overhang here. Some people do 1.5" and some people do an 1" it is all personal preference.

The next step was to install the end caps which they sell in a kit at Lowe's. It comes with 2 long pieces to build up the sides and 2 small pieces for the back or the front however you decide to do it.

Here they are installed. The counter top in this picture is upside down so the short length is the back splash. One of the small pieces we installed on the left side of the back splash to build it out for putting the end cap on the other in our case could be used for shimming the front of the counter top to pull it away from cabinet.

We installed them on both sides and then realized that it didn't work. The way it sat on the cabinet made it slope and that just wasn't working. We just pulled them off and were fine. I think you could use them all the way around you just need to measure and account for that so that your cabinet sits properly - ours didn't no big deal.

The end caps are easy to install you just line them up so that you get the best coverage. They aren't made to fit perfectly you will have to file them down. So just line it up so that you get the most coverage because the top and bottom won't be flush.

After they're lined up you just iron them for a minute or two and the glue warms up and as it cools down it hardens and they're in place.

This is what it looked like after it was ironed on. This is the over hang we were left with that we had to file down.  We were skeptical of the whole filing process at first but then realized the package directions say that for a reason. Do it.

Mr.B got to work filing it down. It is not that bad at all - here is the front edge which had about a 1/2" over hang. 

Here's how it looked after we had it all filed down. We used a little bit of sand paper to help smooth it down a little, but overall the files were our best bet. We contemplated using other tools, but each time we ended up saying we didn't want it to ruin it.

To attach the counter top to the cabinet Mr.B just screwed through the triangle pieces that are in each corner of the cabinet. Again, this is easy.

I took these pictures before we filed the side down so you can see the overhang, but this is when we had it all screwed on and in place and with the draw in. Looks good!

Here's another shot.

That's not all she wrote. This post is FULL of pictures so tomorrow I will show you how we finished it off and how it looks like in the kitchen and few other little updates - including a JEM we found while on vacation.

Because I know the suspense is going to kill you I'll leave you with this...

This was happening next to us while we working on this project. Max knows that Kota works with the public so he thinks its necessary to give him daily facials. That's what I call a good brother. Really though, they're friggen cute!

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