DIY Project – Making a bathroom vanity from reclaimed wood

Hi, folks. Chris Schmit, Key West Makers. Today
I’m going to show you how I made this three drawer bathroom vanity from
reclaimed lumber. I didn’t have a detailed plan for making the cabinet – just some
pictures and my memory. So I just started making the legs.
I guessed that the crosscut of the legs is about two and a half inches square. I
didn’t have any reclaimed wood thick enough to make these pieces so I
laminated a few pieces together to get the thickness I needed. I made the blanks a little oversized
and then ran them through the planer to get them to the final thickness and cut
them to their final length on the miter saw. The main reasons I opted to make and
not buy a vanity for this bathroom is that I had a very specific dimension I
needed: 24 inches wide by 18 1/4 inches deep. I was prepared to make a
custom concrete top with the sink built-in, but strangely I found a
porcelain vanity topped with the odd dimensions I needed online. With the
leg dimension set I could move on to the rails that connect the legs on the front, back of the sides. I used wood I salvaged from an old pine door for these
and the thickness seemed about right so I only needed to rip them to width and
then cut them to length. Speaking of salvaged wood I guess I
should take a moment to talk about where I get mine and how I prepare it for use
in projects. In the 1800’s in Key West most of the houses were built with Dade
County pine – a now extinct version of southern yellow pine that is really
hard, is absolutely beautiful, very tough, tight
growth rings. A lot of the old ship captains’ mansions and cigar makers’
cottages still exist here in Key West so as I’m driving around the island I’m
always keeping my eye out for old doors, trim, studs that people have thrown out
in the garbage as part of a renovation or restoration project. I of course
pick them up, throw them in my truck and take them home – where I strip it down and
get it ready for projects. Now to dive into my full process for doing this is a
subject of another video, but what you really need four things: a lead test kit
make sure that there’s no lead-based paint on it, you need a nail puller to
pull out any visual visible nails (and you want to pull those through not back them
out), you need a metal detector to find any hidden metal
(which can also be fun at parties) and you also need some way of removing the
paint or the finish that’s on the wood. I recommend a belt sander, but in my
upcoming video I will show you a couple alternative methods for doing that. Now
back to our project The side panels will be held in place by
a groove or a dado cut into the legs and into the rails and the legs. The dado
does not continue the entire length of the piece so I’ll use a router to create
a series of stopped dadoes. On the rails the dado does run the entire length of the
piece so it’s easier to use a dado blade on the table saw to cut those. I’m using a floating tenon system called
Domino’s to connect the rails to the legs, and this tool cuts the holes or the
mortises for the floating tenons (or Dominos. The ends of the rails get a
small chamfer – a design detail I took from the original cabinet. Perfect
chamfer every time. Well, the pieces of the cabinet frame are now complete and I
can make the side panels to fit. I took a few more of the old door parts and
re-sawed them to make thinner pieces and I planed them to their final
thickness. I wanted a really perfect glue line so I
hand planed the edges that would be glued together to get the panel to the
desired width. With the glue dry I cut them to their
final dimensions on the table saw. The panels are actually a little thicker
than the grooves that they have to fit into, so then I used a dado [blade] to cut just
the edges to the right thickness. The finishing on this piece: I want to have
that sort of reclaimed, aged pine look so I’m first going to take a wire wheel to
the pieces. I will then use some weathered oak stain and finally a coat
of dark wax. I’m actually going to finish the pieces before I assemble them just
because – the especially the wire wheel – will be too hard to do once it’s
assembled. Here we go! I made these pieces for the drawer
runners out of poplar, and now I need to get them assembled with screw and glue,
and install them in the carcass. OK, onto the drawers. One drawer (the bottom drawer) is a full drawer – pretty straightforward. But the other two are
U-shape drawers to fit around the plumbing, so armed with a sketch and some
ciphering of all the pieces I need and how they’ll fit together, I’m getting
started. There are three drawers and the bottom drawer is a fairly
straightforward drawer; two sides, front and back and a bottom. But the other two
drawers are U shaped to fit around the plumbing and wherever two pieces come
together thee joinery used is a tongue on one piece and groove on the
other. Well there’s just an awful lot of cuts and grooves that have to be made
exactly perfectly to get these drawers to fit together. Wow this all
looks great on video, but in all honestly it did not go that smoothly.
I completely forgot to make a whole series of parts, and another series of parts
I put the dado on the wrong side. It was a rough afternoon but I soldiered
through. The drawers are done gluing. Time to take them out of the clamps and then I
will make the drawer bottoms for them. I made up the big blanks for the drawer
fronts earlier on when I was making all the other parts I’ll get these kept on
the table saw to their size, route the edges a bit and then fit them to the
front of the drawers. Just put a little bit of a round over on each of these –
about 1/8 inch roundover – eighth inch radius. And in the end the drawers turned
out absolutely great and I’m super happy with them. And that, friends, brings us to
the end of this Key West Makers build. Now if you like or
we’re inspired by this video please give the video a ‘Like’ and consider
Subscribing to our channel. Right next to the’ Subscribe’ button you’ll see a little
bell; you’ll get notifications when our new videos come out As always,
thanks so much for watching folks! Chris Schmit signing off from Key West.

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