This is a pile of red oak taken from a kitchen down in Washington, PA. A customer was happy with their kitchen but really disliked the style of the cabinet doors. The cabinet boxes were very well built and in good shape so all that was needed were some new doors to make the kitchen new again.
When taking out the old doors (which were solid red oak), it was very tempting to just throw them in the dumpster. That was the plan until that evening. I was sitting on my front porch looking at my neighbors giant, 70+ year old red oak tree. I started thinking about how long it took for that to look the way it does and then all the work it would take to mill it up and make it in to something. So the next day, somehwat, half-heartedly, I unloaded them from my van to my shop rather than the dumpster.
All of the metal hardware, was stripped off and sent to the scrap yard with a friend of mine. The boards were ripped down, the old finish planed off and they were ready to be useful again.
Although it took some extra time and was somewhat labor-intensive to reuse them, I am very glad that I did.
From those kitchen cabinet doors, I was able to build 18 drawers and a new workbench top for my shop. (see below) If you know of anyone throwing away any old furniture or hardwoods, feel free to get in touch!
Bathrooms are a place where custom cabinetry can make a HUGE impact. With factory built, store bought vanities, you are stuck with the sizes and layouts they offer. Bathrooms can often be tight spaces where every inch counts.
Take, for example, the two pictures above. This is a 7 ft x 6 ft full bathroom. Originally it had a single sink with a small cabinet below. There was plenty of space along the wall, but because the space between the wall and the door opening was only 18" deep, no standard vanities would fit, especially not ones that would maximize the space.
The solution was a 17" deep cabinet that stretched the entire wall, now with two sinks, twelve drawers and two cabinet openings. That's a big difference!
The other down side of many factory built vanities is the use of particle board. Particle board is essentially wood chips and saw dust, glued and compressed into a board with a thin veneer of plastic or wood glued over top of it to give it the appearance of wood. It can be OK in some situations but not anywhere where there is water. Whether it be on the floor after a shower, from the sink or from the inevitable leaky faucet or drain, there is going to be water in a bathroom. There's just no way around it.
Of course no type of wood is completely impervious to water if exposed for extended periods of time. But with the use of high quality, furniture grade plywood, topped with the correct, high quality finish, your bathroom vanities will hold up to a lot of abuse and withstand water better than any other type of sheet-good (particle board or MDF) available on the market.
Feel free to get in touch about getting a quote for a custom bathroom vanity for your next bathroom remodel.
Something I've always wanted to do is use leftover scraps of hardwood and build furniture out of it.
After completing a couple projects out of maple (see below) my scrap pile was getting a little out of control so over the course of a few weeks I stole a few minutes here and there from other projects to attempt my first scrap-wood project. I can't say that I was overly happy with how it turned out (the legs seemed a little over-sized and the table top shape seemed a little off), but I did like certain aspects of it and it will make a solid little table for someone.
Here are the maple projects that produced the scrap wood:
Here's a few pictures of the process and the end result:
This was one of the most fun projects I have done to date. The customer showed me a picture she had found on the internet of some suspended bookshelves. She was unable to find them anywhere or even get any more information about how to build them so I had to do a little reverse engineering to come up with a design. The biggest challenge of this project was how to make certain that the shelves were sturdy. Obviously, books are heavy and seven or eight shelves worth of books are really heavy. Not only did I not want the shelves to sag, but because of the lean design, I had to be concerned about safety to ensure the whole thing wouldn't come tumbling down.
First, I drew a model in SketchUp to make sure the proportions were right and also to figure out how many shelves to make. It was important in this case to take a look at the customer's book collection and measure some of the biggest and smallest books and space the shelves accordingly because the shelves were going to be fixed in place. Here's the SketchUp model:
As I mentioned, making these shelves as sturdy as possible was the number one priority. Because the customer was already remodeling the part of their house where the shelves were going, I decided it would be best to open up the ceiling so that I could add some framing to hang the shelves from. The other option was to attach a board to the ceiling that was the same size as the shelves and hang them from that, but in the end I thought having the rods just coming out of the ceiling would look better. Luckily, I also had access to the back of the wall (and the wall framing) so I was able to add framing behind the shelves as well so I could screw into the back of the them. There are other ways to deal with this if you don't have access to the back, but this worked out perfectly. Here is the support framing (see captions for explanations):
Once the drywall was all patched and the painters had done their job, it was time for install. The metal rod and fittings as well as the shelves were all prepped and painted/stained/clear coated in the shop before the installation day. And in case you're curious, the components of the hanging system are 3/8" steel rod, joined together by some brass compression tee's and couplings from the plumbing aisle at your local hardware store, as well as some other bolts and hanging brackets which are also readily available. The little black clamping collars that actually support the shelves I had to order special though. The shelves were made from 5/4 solid Red Oak (1" thick actual dimension), stained with Minwax Early American stain and clear coated with 4 coats of Minwax wipe on Poly.
Here are some pictures from the install. Read the captions for explanations:
The install was a long one and took almost ten hours but it went super well and I was super pleased with how it turned out. Here is the finished product:
Sometimes you have a specific location and a specific design in mind for what you want a table or piece of furniture to look like. Maybe you saw something on Pinterest or other home website but can't find it anywhere in the store. Save yourself the time of running around to twenty different stores and let me build it for you!
In this case, a customer in Bethel Park really liked a bar table she found on Etsy but had a specific place she was going to put it which required a specific size, which was not customizeable from the Etsy vendor.
As always, it's best to start with a drawing:
Once we confirmed all the details, I tracked down a slab of Walnut for the top and started building. Here are some pictures from the build: (see captions for explanations)
The finished table:
Aaron and Cardinal Woodcraft are now a recommended manufacturer for the Create-A-Bed Murphy Bed Hardware!! Give Aaron a call today to get a price on putting a murphy bed in your home. It can be as simple or as custom as you want depending on your needs and budget.
Products used on this project:
WHY BUILD A MURPHY BED?
My wife and I live in a three bedroom, two bath, 1200 sq ft ranch style home in Pittsburgh with our two kids. We absolutely love our house, yard and neighborhood but there have been many occasions where our little 1200 sq ft house can feel pretty small. Each of our kids have their own room and because of the age difference (6 years) and the fact that we have a boy and a girl, it doesn't make sense for them to share a room. There have been several times though when we've wanted to have family or friends who are in town stay with us but we don't have anything but a couch to offer them. That's where the murphy bed comes in.
A couple years ago we finished our basement which was great in adding about 350 sq ft of additional living space. After a couple years of living with the new basement, we noticed that one end of the basement usually just collected junk and wasn't really useful for anything. We decided that some built in cabinets and a fold down murphy bed would be perfect! It would essentially add a 4th bedroom to our house and also give us a sort of apartment downstairs - complete with full bath, fireplace, TV, couch and bed in case one of our parents or friends ever wanted to live with us for an extended period (or just a weekend!).
This is what the space looked like before:
After about a lot of planning and discussing, we decided to put the bed in the middle with two cabinets on either side to store office supplies, games, books, files and really anything else we can't find a space for. Again, our house is not huge and every little bit of storage is extremely helpful in things not getting cluttered. Using Sketchup, I drew up a 3-d model of what everything would look like, which always helps (especially when dealing with customers) to work out all the kinks on 'paper' before you ever purchase any materials or spend time building anything. After several versions, this was the design I finally came up with:
The design allows us to use ALL of the space on that end of the basement and added about an additional 73 cubic feet of storage to our house. That's a lot!! Once it was done, it didn't take long at all for those cabinets to be nearly full.
One decision I had to make in designing it was whether or not to come up with my own hardware for the hinges, bed frame, etc. by browsing the aisles of Home Depot and letting the creative juices flow. In doing some research, I found the Create-a-bed hardware kit. For the queen sized bed kit, it was around $300, which to be honest seemed a little steep. In the end, I decided that I valued my time more than the $300 so I would give the Create-a-bed kit a try. It came with instructions on how to use the hardware (which I stuck to for the bed frame, but customized everything else). In the end, I was UNBELIEVABLY happy that I went with the kit instead of making up my own. It is so sturdy and well made and honestly works so well. (I don't get any sort of kick backs from Create-a-bed. I just like their product.)
Here's a picture of the build in progress:
We could not be any happier with how everything turned out. We get an extra bedroom and tons of storage. My wife and I lived down there for about a week after it was finished and it was incredibly comfortable and functional. Here are some pictures of the finished product:
If you would like to get a price on having a murphy bed built and installed in your home. Give Aaron a call, text or email today: 412-212-8626, CardinalWoodcraft@outlook.com There are beds available for every budget and need including twin, full and queen sized mattress. There are also options for having the bed fold down vertically or horizontally.
Your bed can be as simple as a wooden box tucked up against the wall or you can also add bookshelves, cabinets or anything else you can come up with on the sides or behind the bed depending on how much space you have and how much you would like to spend. Either way, you will not regret turning one of your rooms into a dual-purpose room!
Here are some more examples of beds that I can build for you (credit: Create-a-Bed Website)
This small mudroom bench was a lot of fun to build and a great use of this space. Features of the project:
Customer had an antique Singer Sewing Table that had been handed down through the generations. She wanted the old top removed, the cast iron base restored and a simple, 3/4" square solid oak top constructed to make a unique, one-of-a-kind table.
The original table:
All of the old hardware, screws and other items were either saved to be reused on future projects or sent to the scrapyard to be recycled:
The solid red oak top was constructed from 1"x6" boards biscuited jointed and glued together for extra strength.
Only clamping lightly and applying weight to the middle ensures that the table top will remain flat and not bow when clamping pressure is applied.
The finished product: