Recently, a beautiful pair of cabinets came into my life -- battered, beaten, but with noble bones. A careless string of miserable individuals had heaped abuse upon them under the sickly fluorescent light of some back office. Yet they stood, faithfully storing files, holding up lamps and coffee makers, enduring the indignities of scratched paint and scotch-tape repairs. After thirty-five years of service, they were dropped on the curb, left in the Chicago cold, winter wind rattling a few last papers around their feet. A gentle soul scooped them into his truck and brought them to our warehouse
According to the certificate inside, these two Steelcase
credenzas were manufactured in 1977, with chromed bases, a stamped steel body, and fake-woodgrain laminate top. Built like tanks, and painted a similar color, they were made to last. However, the outdated colors, broken doors, and damaged tops relegated them to the dump. So, with a little scrap wood, a little love, and three days of work, I brought them into the 21st century with a scrappy remodel, honoring their past and preparing them for the future. The old tops were replaced with laminated old-growth pine. The former sliding panels -- half missing, the remainder bent and broken -- were stripped out and replaced with new, hinged doors made from offcuts we had around the shop. Now these low-slung office beauties can enjoy another thirty years of work, dressed up and sexy.
While I used a variety of heavy-duty shop equipment on this project, it can easily be done with simpler tools. The basic idea, repurposing a dead cabinet, is a quick and easy way to make use of alley treasures and abundant scrap wood of all kinds.
If you're a fan of the project, please vote for it in the Furniture Challenge, and help me keep these projects coming . . . !
You will need these materials:
An old cabinet
A pile of scrap wood -- offcuts, pallet wood, old flooring, old molding, etc.
Some dimensional lumber for laminating new tops
Polyurethane or finish of your choice
You will need these tools:
Assorted drill and screw bits