Introduction: Give an Old Cabinet a Second Chance - Trash to Treasure

About: Mostly woodworking related projects with a special interest in toys, musical instruments and vintage tools.

Save an old Cabinet / Cupboard and turn it into something new.

I found this Old Cabinet that had been thrown out as trash and spotted an opportunity to make use of it to store some of the treasured tools in my workshop.

You will need:

Tools to take the cabinet apart and put it back together.

Screwdrivers: Depending on the type of screws the Cabinet is put together with.

Something to pry nails out with: A flat screwdriver or an old chisel will work well.

A way to sand the old finish off: An Electric Sander is faster, but Sandpaper or a Sanding Block is good.

A new finish: Paint, Varnish, Lacquer or Oil.

Replacement Hardware if needed: Screws, nails, hinges, catches and knobs - Depending on what needs replacing. I used my Lathe to make new Knob for the Door of this Cabinet, but it could have been fashioned using Hand Tools or simply shop bought.

Step 1: Take the Cabinet Apart

Remove as many parts of the Cabinet as you are able without damaging the structure or marking the surface more than is necessary.

The back of this Cabinet is made from Hardboard and was fixed using small cross head screws. Use a Screwdriver that matches the head of the screws to make the task easier.

The hinges do not function and need replacing. These are very inexpensive. I paid 2 Euros for 2 new hinges.

The rest of the Cabinet was held together using larger cross head screws. Again, use a Screwdriver that matches the head of the screws to make the task easier.

Step 2: Clean Up the Components and Fill Any Holes or Marks

I cleaned the components carefully to remove as much surface dust as possible before sanding. You want to be sanding the surface not old layers of dust.

I also removed the molding from the door so as to be able to sand the surface. I wanted a plain door, but you could clean and use any molding that you want to put back later. be very careful while removing any molding as it can break easily. The molding on the door was fixed by two small panel pins and removed really easily.

Remove any shelf rails or shelf pins to make it easier to work on the inside of the Cabinet. This will depend on how they are fixed. If it is difficult to remove them or if you like the position of the shelves, then you could work around them.

To fill any holes or marks in the surface of the components, I used fine Sawdust and Super Glue. Try and match the colour of the surface of the original with a similar Sawdust.

Step 3: Sand the Components Back to the Original Surface

Remove any old finish, marks or stains by sanding.

I used a Random Orbital Sander to do this as I was limited for time.

Other methods of sanding using Electric Sanders or Sandpaper by hand will work just as well.

You can also use a Cabinet Scraper if you have one and know how to use it.

Step 4: Apply a New Finish to the Components

Here I applied two coats of Water Based Eco Varnish. I used a Satin finish.

You can use whatever type of finish you choose.

I lift up each component using simple supports. These are small pieces of wood with a screw through the centre. This provides minimum contact with the component and keeps it above the work surface.

I wait until the upper surface is dry, then turn the component over and work on the other side.

Step 5: Making a New Knob - This Step Is Optional

I have a woodturning lathe, so I decided to make a new knob for the door. I made the knob from Spalted Horse Chestnut Wood and finished it using Acrylic Spray Varnish.

A knob could be fashioned using hand tools in a design that you like if you have the tools and skill or you can simply buy a new knob at a store. If you have one that you have collected before and it looks good to you, then use that.

Step 6: Putting the Cabinet Back Together

This Cabinet has a simple construction and was easy to put back together. If the unit is of a more complicated design and structure, I would take many notes as I take it apart in order to remember how it goes back together.

I installed the new hinges. I found a modern equivalent that fitted perfectly in the old cut outs and holes.

I installed the knob on the door.

I made new shelf rails from thin strips of wood and fixed them using a couple of panel pins. I wanted the shelf in a different position from the original design.

Step 7: Fitting the Hanging Hardware and Hanging the Cabinet on the Wall

The original hardware for hanging the Cabinet stuck up above the top and I didn't like the look of that.

I decided to fix them diagonally from two upper edges and this gave me the opportunity to drill a hole through the back of the Cabinet and mount it to the wall by screwing through the back and through the hardware. This is very strong way to mount the Cabinet and hides the hardware.

Step 8: Use and Enjoy the New Cabinet

The Cabinet suits the existing units of my workshop and now houses some of my treasured tools.

Trash to Treasure

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Trash to Treasure