Once upon a time last spring Jay and I went to this cool salvage store/house in midtown Houston called Adkins Architectural Antiques. Inside is a lot of dirty old stuff, but once you get past the main rooms and wander into the back you find even dirtier older stuff. The attic of the bajillion year old house is where they put all the stuff that no one could ever possibly want ever (other peoples plastic trophies, a MacDonald's sign), and that's where we found this sad little trunk.
I guess Margo has given you the basic idea of the vanity remodel project, but I think I’ll give a brief synopsis up through the assembly so we are all on the same page. Sorry if this post sounds less like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde wrote it than you are used to.
The original table was about 25.5 inches tall which was too short and also the sides of the table were only about 3 inches tall at the smallest point, which is far too shallow for a drawer. The depth and length were perfect at 24 inches wide by 19 inches deep.
With that in mind I drew this plan to modify the table: as you can see, the drawing is of the front of the
table showing the original legs plus the extension and the front panel with the opening for the drawer. The back is identical to the front except for its a solid board and the sides are the same except only 16 inches long instead of 21. The legs needed an extension of 5.5 inches to make the total height 31 inches. The sides I enlarged to 8 inches high to give room for large drawer depth of 4 inches.
So this means I needed 2 boards that are 8” x 16” for the sides and 1 board that is 8” x 21” for the back. The front was more difficult as it would be made of 4 smaller pieces glued together to make the opening for the drawer. As you can see in the drawing, I needed 2 boards 1.75” x 21” and two boards 1.75” x 4.5”.
I went to Rockler to buy the lumber, as they had various sized pieces of .75” thick poplar on sale that day. I used the table saw to rip the boards to the proper width and the miter saw to cut them to the needed length. So all laid out together it looks something like this:
Margo has already posted about the leg extensions assembly you can read it here. My suggestion is get legs the correct length already and save yourself the annoyance of the extensions. I should probably apologize to the original builder of the table, “I was angry that you didn’t feel the need to make all the legs the same width or keep them square, but I shouldn’t have referred to your mother like that or insinuated that she was unfaithful to your father. My bad.”
So assembly time! The first step was to glue the front panel together to make the outer dimensions 8” by 21” and the drawer opening 17.5” by 4.5”. Just glue the ends of the wood that will be touching and clamp the heck out of it to be sure they stay aligned properly. Something like this:
Now I get to use the Kreg Jig to make pocket holes. I put three pocket holes per edge that would form a joint:
Just clamp the board into the jig, drill the pocket hole and screw it together! Don’t forget to drill pocket holes on the inside top edge of the sides to use with the top, its easier to do now than after its assembled.
With drilling complete its assembly time. Be extra vigilant to ensure all the joints are 90 degrees as you put it together. The pocket holes really are nice, making the pieces go together with ease. I built a jig to hold the pieces tightly in position as I screwed them together:
All assembled it should look like this:
Now for the drawer install. Margo already blogged about building the drawer, so the only thing left is to install the supports and the tracks. The supports were scrap pieces of the lumber that were 3.5” by 18”. First I drilled pocket holes in the boards then screwed them right at the edge of the opening for the drawer. I then installed the drawer track by following the instructions in the package. Pretty straight forward but take your time and get it even to be sure both supports match exactly when you are through:
Now fit the drawer into the opening and mark on the outside of the drawer the location of the slides on the supports. Be sure to leave a gap between the bottom of the drawer and the vanity so the drawer can move freely; I used a couple of nickels placed between the two as a spacer. Screw the slides to the drawer between the marks, put the slides together and presto:
I routed the edges of the drawer face with a round over bit to make the edge sleeker (really this was just to justify the purchase of a router). I then measured carefully to be sure the drawer face was perfectly centered on the front of the vanity; its better to be perfectly centered on the vanity then on the drawer because that is the first thing you see:
Now all we have left is screwing the top on:
If you did the pocket holes at the beginning its super easy. I did buy a couple of corner braces from Rockler to use behind the front face since you can't drill a pocket hole in a 1.75” wide piece.
That completes my part of the vanity rebuild, now I'll leave it up to Margo to pick (and most importantly) to apply the paint.
Hey! Sorry it's been awhile since the last post. I took my internal medicine shelf exam on Friday so I was busy learning all the things. We have been busy working on the vanity too (and a few other projects) so this post is all about how we made our occasional table vanity height!
The first item on the list was extending the legs to make the table high enough to put a chair under. We took advantage of Jay's lumber hook up and got some little stumpy guys to add to the end of the legs. They look like this:
Dowel pins? You ask. They're basically sticks that you use to increase your glue surface area and make the bond between the two pieces stronger. The trick is to put your holes for the dowel in exactly the same spot of the leg and the extension so the line up nice and square. To do that we drilled the first two holes in the extension and placed these metal pokey pieces called dowel centers in the holes.
Once the centers are in place you line up the two pieces you want to connect and use a hammer to tap them together. The dowel centers make a indentation on the piece you haven't drilled yet to serve as a guide when you drill the next holes. The only trouble is if you don't get the holes in exactly the same place with your drill at exactly the same angle, the two pieces won't match up and you (Jay) will become frustrated and grumpy. After trial and error, the solution we came up with was to use a larger drill bit on one side so the little dowel had a bit of wiggle room. So you make one hole with the 1/4 drill bit and one with the 5/16 bit on both the leg and the extension, and then when the dowel goes in one side is snug and one has some wiggle.
The we added wood glue and clamped the with pieces together. Observe:
Once the glue was dry we used wood putty to fill in any little tiny gaps and get the seamless the-legs-have-always-been-this-length look we were going for.
After that all we had to do was sand the wood putty and the old finish down until it was nice and smooth. We used a combination of our handy-dandy power sander and some good ol' fashioned hand sanding to prep it for paint!
The seam is still pretty obvious at this point because we used two different kinds of wood, but once the paint is on there it's going to be impossible to tell. In the shot below you can see where the wood putty filled in a small gap. So that's it! I would say this part of the project was a bit of a pain since we had a few learning curves to deal with, and if we were going to do this project all over again we might purchase the size legs we needed in the first place but this was a fun experiment and the price was definitely right!
I'll be writing soon about how Jay used his fun new tool (the Kreg Jig!) to put the whole vanity table together.
That title's a science joke. You know what makes it hard to work on DIY projects? Being at the hospital all day. Jay's been working quite a bit too, so unfortunately progress is not as rapid as one might hope. Such are Margo and Jay's projects. We have been beating the vanity table into submission slowly but surely. Turns out using an old table for parts is not as straightforward as we expected. Our $45 table snag was a deal, but it isn't exactly the most well put together piece of furniture. The legs in particular are a bit crooked and being difficult to extend. Neither here nor there, we shall start with nice simple things like the drawer. Onward!
I want to take you down to where the magic happens. Our janky little half garage half carport mosquito-ridden palace of rentovations! Behold!!
You guys are sort of getting the less exciting version of this, because a few months ago there was a homeless man who was actually living down here. Helpfully our downstairs neighbor discovered him before I did and asked him to move along (the man responded that he would leave as soon as he found his pants, and later Jay discovered mystery boxers), you can't say living in H Town isn't an adventure. We make lots of noise with power tools down in ye ol' garage which I'm sure is less than pleasant for the girl who lives in the apartment above, but she's a bit of a design junkie so she tolerates us. Hooray.
Step one of this project was to cut all of the table legs to the same length so we would have a nice clean straight edge to work with. Jay got to use his fun new miter saw.
Miter saws actually come with a laser guide to help you put your cut in the right place. The downside to this is they aren't calibrated and refuse to calibrate so all that really happens when you use them is you mess up a bunch of cuts and then get frustrated. Forget about the laser guide and just use your eye and some measurements to line everything up, your life will be easier.
Step two was to sand the edges where we popped some of the decorative curves off nice and smooth. Here's me putting the electric sander guy to work. If I look uncomfortable it's not because I don't like power tools, its because its 100 million degrees this time of year in Houston and our lovely garage is full of wasps. Now you're uncomfortable too.
Since the leg extension is being obnoxious I will save that for the next post.
We decided the path of least resistance would be to build the drawer first because it's made from all new pieces of wood and its only a box. Easy peasy.
The first thing we did was decide what we wanted the inner dimensions to be. I like the makeup dividers you can get at the Container Store so I knew my drawer needed to be at least 15 inches wide inside to fit them. To fit the bottles of cosmetic goodness we determined it must be 4 inches tall. The table top itself determined our final dimension since we are reusing the original one from the occasional table, so the drawer could be 16 inches deep. Remember this is all on the inside of the drawer, so the actual pieces of wood are a bit bigger than this to accommodate.
All we did next was cut the pieces of wood to length and width using our table saw. I would upload the picture of Jay's planning diagram but it appears to be written in hieroglyphics. I shall summarize instead.
Back: 15 in x 4 in
Sides: 16.5 in x 4 in
Front: 18 in x 5 in (this is taller so the drawer face rests on the front of the table itself)
The great thing about starting with this was that it didn't have to be pretty since it will always be hidden, so we just squared up the pieces and screwed them together.
For the bottom we picked up a nice thin wood panel at Lowes and cut it to 16.5 by 16.5. Here's a picture of Jay attaching the bottom to the sides.
And here's the finished thing flipped over! So much storage!
The front piece is not attached yet because we want to do that after everything else is put together to make sure it will fit properly.
Here's just a little demo showing the drawer without the face inside of the front piece of the vanity. It fits very nicely inside and should work out great. To attach it we bought simple drawer hardware at Rockler and will attach it to some support pieces inside the finished product. I'm thinking of painting the inside of this drawer a fun bright color that's different from the rest of the vanity. What do you think? Teal? Chartreuse? Orange? PINK?!
So currently we have all of the pieces cut out, the drawer put together and two of the legs extended. More on how to do that next time! Hope you guys enjoyed seeing our glimmer of progress. Oh and check out our "Our House" tab at the top, the bf cleaned our house one day (OMFG) and so I took advantage and snapped some pics of the abode.
Hope this gives you an idea of what's been going on. I know you're not impressed, but the best is yet to come.