Sunday, December 21, 2014

Kitchen Update December 21

Lots of good stuff happened this week!

Almost everything happened in the first half of the week since we did some Christmas activities this weekend. It was nice to not be scrambling with kitchen stuff all of Saturday.

Drop Leaf!

Last week we got the counter tops fastened. This week we got the drop leaf in place.

Party mode:

Not as party mode: 

It's hard to see in the picture, but the last slat of the drop leaf is missing. The drop leaf needs clearance to get past the sliding door's trim that we'll be putting on soon. The dowel that we used as a hinge pin goes through that gap and has a hole with a wooden pin in it to stop it from working its way out. 


The water is hooked up again. It's the same faucet we had before, but we like it and it works, so there's no reason to change.

Garbage Disposal!

Some friends were replacing their garbage disposal and said they thought it leaked. I thought it might just be one of the connections and took it to try it out...

...but it really had a cracked housing which really did leak.

Then another friend heard about it, and mentioned that he had an extra disposal in his garage that his wife wanted him to get rid of. And that's how we became the proud owners of a 3/4 horse power Montgomery Ward garbage disposal.

Pendant Light!

With the ceiling painted it was finally time to hook up the dome light again and replace the bare light bulb above the sink. Caroline picked up this pendant light at the ReStore for a couple dollars. It fits in well. 

New Kitchen Table!?

We didn't make this. Our old kitchen table was given to us about 6 years ago when we moved to Fridley. It was already well-used when we got it. We beat it up pretty bad, culminating in a minor jig saw accident while cutting a board for the kitchen project.

This one came up for free on Craigslist and we were the lucky ones to get it. It's solid oak and came with a matching bench and 4 chairs. Yay!

Painted Wall!

The back wall is finally painted.

Cupboard Doors!

The doors are finally back up on the cupboards!

With new knobs...

...and hinges.

(Some of the) Shelves!

We also got some of the shelves back up. We just cut dowel segments and drilled holes, so the shelves aren't adjustable. We never moved them once since we moved in, so that'll probably work for us. We can always put in some sort of adjustable track if we decide we want it later.

We lined the shelves with more of the cork that we used under the counter tops.

We only got these shelves in. We'll hopefully get the others in next week!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kitchen Update December 14

This week we kept working on parts of the kitchen project which we had already started, but not finished, so we don't have much to show off.

We started the week with a few more rounds of wood putty and sanding as we noticed imperfections. We are using tongue and groove flooring for our counter top, and where the sink cutout is the grooves could all be seen. We had to fill them in, and not just for the look. We don't want water getting up under the counter top. We glued some little skinny sticks in the holes and then filled in the gaps with wood putty and sanded again.

Then the waterlox treatment started. Waterlox needs oxygen to dry and is kind of stinky so we left our sliding door and kitchen open and turned on some fans. 

We used our shower rod to hang up a tarp across the kitchen entry way which kept the rest of the house warm enough, and the weather has been cooperating this week, so that was nice.

We got two coats of waterlox on the bottoms of the counter tops, and three coats on the top. We're doing at least 4 on the tops, but the bottoms are only getting 2 coats, so that meant we were ready to install them.

Oooh! Shiny!

The counter tops aren't perfectly flat (and neither are the tops of the cupboards) so I bought a roll of 1/4 inch thick cork and laid a sheet of it down for the counter tops to rest on. The cork has a little give and cushions  the counter top so it doesn't rock and gave it something soft to snug into when I fastened it down.

You can see it under the counter top here. 

To install we used the method from This Old House. Wood counter tops expand perpendicular to the grain, and a counter top can grown and shrink up to 1/4 inch. So if you cinch it down tight something is going to crack. Probably the counter top, but maybe the cupboards themselves.

So what you do is screw the back of the counter down tight. This will force the expansion to all happen away from the wall. For the middle and front fasteners you drill a 1/2 diameter hole through the supports.

Then you use a screw and a fender washer to keep the counter top from raising up, but the 1/2 inch hole allows it to shift around as the wood expands. Here's a shot from the bottom.

You need to drill pilot holes before putting screws into hard woods like Maple or it'll crack. I couldn't get the pilot holes lined up correctly with my 1/2 inch holes. The drill didn't fit under the counter top because of the bottom shelves and other support members, so after getting grumpy about it (sorry, Caroline) I just went and bought a small right angle adapter for the drill.

There was a bigger chucked adapter, but I went with the skinny one to make sure I could get in where I needed to. It takes 1/4 inch hex bits, and luckily I have a set of hex shank drill bits. It worked like a charm. Things work so much better when you have the right tools.

I also fixed up the back wall of the area under the sink. I wasn't going to bother with it since it's the area under the sink, but Caroline said I'd be sorry if I didn't. I didn't take down the old drywall, I just put up a new layer over it and mudded. It'll need sanding and one more coat to be completely smooth, then we can paint under here.

What's Left?

People keep asking what's left, so here's hopefully the complete list:

  • Build cupboard faces and paint the new cupboards
The small cupboard is new and the tall one got expanded. They both need new faces and doors and need to be painted. 

  • We need to install our shelves. I think we're just going to drill holes and put in short segments of dowels. 
  • Also, we need to install the cupboard doors. 

  • Fix the shelf supports above the microwave. When we put up the shelf we didn't know exactly how long the microwave would be. We need to trim those two square  boards and close off the hole above the microwave...and paint it.

  • Replace the lower window on the door and paint the door. The lower window must've been broken at some point and was replaced with a sheet of plastic. I saved the glass from the old storm window and will cut it to fit this window. Well, I'll try. I'm really bad at cutting glass. 

  • Build two cutting boards

  • Tile the backsplash

  • Build a spice rack/little shelves. It'll be the height of this cupboard and 3 or 4 inches deep. I think. I have to make a plan still.

  • Install this light after we get a 2nd coat of paint on the ceiling. 
  • Replace our mis-matching light switches and flip the garage switch right side up.
  • Install the faucet and garbage disposal.
  • Fix the wiring for this light (it flickers when it's on. I think it's just a loose wire)
  • Build roll-out shelves for the back tall cuboard. It's going to be a free-standing cart on big castors that goes almost up to the ceiling.
  • Cut and install a window sill

  • Cut cork draw and shelf liners. 

Home depot only had cork in 200 square foot rolls.

  • Install the drop leaf supports and the drop leaf

  • Miscellaneous stuff without photos
    • Finish the waterlox applications on the counter tops
    • Put a 2nd coat of paint on the ceiling
    • Paint the back wall
    • Trim work (Sliding door, window, baseboards, molding) 
    • Screw down the flange around the rag chute
    • Clean up. Lots of clean up.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Kitchen Update December 7

Lots of good stuff happened this week. Caroline got more painting done, I got more sanding done and then finally on Friday night we took some huge steps forwards.

We disconnected the kitchen sink, took off the counter top and dove into the big counter top replacement.

We started by centering and cutting down the sink support. Even though our sink will be underhung, it's not actually going to hang from the bottom of the counter top. It's going to rest securely in this nice frame.

One sink, perfectly dry-fitted.

Next we added a second bread-board slot. I cut a test board to fit the other breadboard slot then traced that board here so that the bread-boards will be interchangable. I then routed tracks and put in the the two supports for the breadboard.

When I removed the old supports from the inside of the cupboard and pulled out the nails I made a small crack. I glued and clamped it, placing a paper towel over the glue area before clamping so that the clamp wouldn't glue to the cupboard. That light-blue junk by the corner of the breadboard slot is the remainder of the paper towel and will be sanded off soon. It was still a little wet in the picture.

Then came the 2nd most terrifying step. Cutting the counter top to length. We measured, and measured and cut and measured and cut and measured and cut again. We kept trimming it too long, just to be safe, then re-fitting and verifying our measurements again and again. Finally we got it just right. 

Next was the MOST TERRIFYING STEP OF THE WHOLE PROJECT. Cutting out the sink hole. We'd left a hole in the middle, and now with the sink fitted we placed the counter and then used a marker to trace the inside of the sink. I then used a jig saw to cut about 1/4 inch inside the traced line. 

At this point, with all the pushing and moving a few of the boards came loose. They must not have had good glue contact, or maybe they were clamped too tightly and all the glue squeezed out. I don't know.  In any case, Calvin was super happy to help fix them. I drilled diagonal holes across 3 boards at a time and Calvin hammered in little glue covered pegs cut from a dowel. They held really well.

Back to the terrifying sink cut out. We put tape around the inside of the sink and then used the router to make the edge.

I almost bought a new router just for this task, and maybe I should've. The right bit would've been a 2 inch flush trim bit with a bearing. But the 2 inch bits I could find all had a 1/2 inch shank. My router is a 1/4 inch shank router so I had to make do with a 1 1/4 inch flush trim bit, and a 45 degree angle bit.

I'd cut back a bit with the 45 degree angle bit, which would leave almost exactly 1 1/4 inch of wood to cut with the flush trim bit. Then I'd switch bits, trim that back and then repeat the process. Finally it was trimmed back correctly and I smoothed out everything with the palm sander.

After that Caroline and I did a happy little jig and drilled the hole for the faucet. We drilled from the bottom with a spade bit until the point poked through, then drilled from the top so we wouldn't get any tear out.

With all the cuts made we're finally getting it prepped for sealing. We're going to be using Waterlox which requires 4 coats, with 24 hours between each coat. And it's supposed to be stinky. Yay.

Sealing prep meant sanding everything with 220 grit paper with the random orbital sander, getting it wet to raise the grain then sanding it again. Let me tell you, baby's bottoms have nothing on the smoothness of this counter top.

The Drop Leaf

Finally the moment you have all been waiting for. Real life photos of our drop leaf! The light from the window washed some of these out a bit, sorry.

Here's the drop leaf folded down. It goes all the way to the floor. 

End view.
 Top view. There are some gaps because 1) our boards were slightly uneven 2) I'm bad at cutting things exactly the same and 3) so that as the wood expands and contracts with the weather the drop leaf won't bind up. 

The two support boards will be attached to the cupbord and hide behind the dropleaf.

They'll hinge out into a V when the drop leaf is open. They're nice and solid. I could probably sit on the drop leaf. (But I won't).


Top view of the hinge.

We're pretty excited about all the extra counter space.  We're gaining the 3 feet or so of the drop leaf, an extra 6 inches by the stove and one extra cutting board. We won't even know what to do with all this space!