Category Archives: Quick Fixes & Touch Ups

Making Those Missing Shelves

You may recall that I recently transformed a discarded 1990s microwave cart into this rolling serving center. However, each time I looked at the inside of the doors all I could see was the opportunity to add a pair of shelves to them.

So, I picked up some half-inch thick oak boards from my local home improvement center, then cut them to fit the inside of each door.

These thin boards were easy to glue and nail together, but I was left with some unsightly nail holes. To fill them, I squeezed in a small amount of Minwax® Stainable Wood Filler, which I sanded smooth as soon as it dried.

To match the rest of the serving center, I left the oak boards natural, but sealed and protected them using Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer.

The lacquer dried quickly and it was easy to attach my shelves to the inside of the doors with small L-brackets positioned under each of the two shelves. Now when I open the doors, I no longer see a missed opportunity!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

A Rolling Holiday Serving Cart

The holidays are always a time for parties, so when I took a closer look at this 1990s rolling microwave cart Leigh Ann had been using to pot plants in our garage, I got an idea.

All it had was a thin natural finish over the birch boards, so a light sanding with #150-grit sandpaper quickly removed it, along with the unsightly water marks.

Inside the cabinet was a single shelf and an open storage area, which I decided to use for a wine rack. Needing just four boards, it was easy to cut and nail together.

Under the shelf, I wanted to hang glasses. Using some scrap wood, I made some simple glass racks.

Birch boards always look great when kept natural, so I knew this was an ideal project to finish with four coats of Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer. Note: see how I have my garage door open for ventilation? You can see, too, how the Aerosol Lacquer brings out the natural rich color of the wood.

Remember those dated round, white porcelain knobs? I replaced them with a more contemporary pair of square knobs.

When I was done, the rolling cart looked like this when closed….

And like this when open. The white center section is the original formica, after I scrubbed off the dirt from Leigh Ann’s potting projects. And in case you want a closer look at the interior….

Here it is.

So, the next time you are out hitting the thrift shops, keep an eye out for an out-dated kitchen cart you can easily transform into a contemporary serving cart.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce

Tips for Dealing with Dust

Dust

Ask any wood finisher and you will learn that dust is the enemy of a smooth finish. Eliminate dust and you eliminate the problem. So, how do you do that?

First, recognize that dust is everywhere; on your project, around your workbench, on the floor, on the ceiling, even on your clothes. And, as soon as you brush on a sticky stain or finish, it acts like a magnet, pulling dust to it.

Second, pick your work space carefully. Working outdoors only trades wood dust for pollen, road dust and bugs. Working indoors is better, but you still want to avoid brushing a stain or finish beneath an active heating or air conditioning vent. Also, avoid areas with a strong natural breeze that brings dust indoors. If you rely on an open window for ventilation, put a screen on it to block out dust particles.

 

Rag

Third, a rag or a dry brush are not the best ways to eliminate sanding dust. A rag forces dust deeper into the pores of the wood, where it will come back out once you start applying your stain or finish.

 

Brush

A dry brush or, worse yet, an air compressor simply blows the dust up into the air, where it hovers before landing back onto your wet stain or finish.

 

Vacuum

Finally, the best way to control dust is to eliminate it with a vacuum. A soft bristle brush on the end of the hose will gently dislodge dust from the pores, joints and corners of your project while the vacuum draws it into the canister.

Sanding

Even with vacuuming, however, you will still have some dust settle into your wet finish. To eliminate it, after your clear finish dries, sand it lightly with #220-grit sandpaper before applying your next coat. If needed, wet-sand your final coat with #400-grit dipped in mineral oil, which acts as a lubricant to prevent your sandpaper from leaving scratches.

Until next time.

The secret to a smooth finish is a smooth surface.

Bruce

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

 

A Workbench Transformation

Truck

I enjoy working on old furniture, which means I need wide workbenches. This maple workbench proved to be too narrow for many of my projects, so I moved it over to a storage room. But Leigh Ann decided it would be a perfect addition to her new potting shed, so we loaded it into our truck and brought it back home.

I knew this would be my best opportunity to give the maple workbench a quick makeover, removing the two woodworking vices that would only get in her way and refreshing its worn finish.

Sanding

After washing off the dust and dirt, I lightly sanded the legs with #220-grit sandpaper. I then used the aerosol version of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane to replace lost finish around the feet and to strengthen the finish on the legs, shelf and drawer.

Aerosol

The top had some more serious issues, but Leigh Ann reminded me that she was going to be using it to re-pot plants, not fix dinner, so I opted not to give it a complete refinishing.

Poly

Instead, I cleaned it thoroughly, scuffed it lightly with #220-grit sandpaper and brushed on a coat of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane to protect the wood against dirt, water, trowels and flower pots.

Hero

When Leigh Ann came home, the workbench was ready for us to carry it across the yard and into her new potting shed. She will give the new finish overnight to completely dry, cure and harden, but we could already see that the narrow workbench is perfect for her 8’ x 12’ potting shed.

Until next time,

Refinish, recycle, repurpose.

Bruce

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.