Monday, July 28, 2008

Converting a Kitchen Cabinet into a College Student Dresser

Converting a Kitchen Cabinet into a Dresser
By Mark J. Donovan

With two sons off to college this fall, my wife and I are actively working towards their departure from the nest. This weekend I decided to tackle a small project that converted a kitchen cabinet into a mini student dresser.

Several years ago I received a kitchen cabinet that was slightly damaged during its shipment to a home I was building. The manufacturer sent me a new one, and left the original for me to deal with. It has been sitting in my garage for a couple of years and over the weekend I finally decided it was time to do something with it.

The kitchen cabinet has four drawers and is 18” wide by 24” deep. I decided that if I mounted a top to it, that it could serve as a dresser for storing school supplies and supporting a microwave or printer.

To install a top on the cabinet, I used a ½” sheet of finished plywood. I cut it to the dimensions of 19” x 25 1/5” so that it overhung the sides by ½” and the front by 1 1/2”.

I then attached fastening rails to the inside edges of the top of the cabinet. The rails were approximately 3/4” x 3/4” width and height, and cut to the inside length of the cabinet sides.

I attached the rails to the cabinet side-walls with 1 ¼” screws, from the inside so that no screws showed from the outside of the cabinet.

I then round the front edges of the plywood top using a jigsaw, and then sanded it thoroughly. I sanded it first with a rough (100 grit) sand paper, and then with a finer 400 grit sandpaper.

I then applied a coat of mahogany stain to the top.

Next, I secured the top to the cabinet (dresser) using 1 ½” screws. The screws were applied from the inside of the cabinet, via the freshly installed rails. This enabled a finished top surface that is clean from any screws/nails.

Prior to screwing the top to the cabinet rails, I drilled pilot holes through the bottom of the rails to avoid splitting and to ease in the fastening of the rails.

Finally, I added two coats of polyurethane to the top.

Now, one of my college bound sons has a brand new mini-dresser / night stand for storing school supplies.
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Removing old Exterior Caulk

By Mark J. Donovan

Overtime exterior caulk dries out and cracks, no matter what the manufacturer promises.

When the old exterior caulk shows signs of cracking it is time to replace it.

Removing old caulk begins with a carpenter’s knife and a flat screw driver or putty knife.

Using the carpenter’s knife score (cut) the old caulk line along the edge of the surfaces areas it is in contact with.

Once you have scored the old exterior caulk, use a screw driver and/or putty knife to dig the old exterior caulk out of the seam. This process can take a little time, however it is important to get all of it out of the seam before re-caulking.

Once you have removed the caulk, sweep and clean out the seam.

After you have thoroughly removed any loose particles and dust in and around the seam, apply a new bead of exterior caulk to the seam.

To help ensure smooth caulk lines, you may consider applying masking tape on either side of the seam before applying the caulk. Just remember to remove the tape immediately after applying the caulk.

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Unclogging a Showerhead

Unclogging a Showerhead
By Mark J. Donovan

If your shower water pressure is not what it used to be it could be one of several problems, however it is most likely a clog in the showerhead itself.

In the showerhead unit, there is a small filter screen. This filter screen is meant to prevent small particles of sediment from clogging the tiny shower holes in the showerhead assembly. However, if you have noticed the showerhead water pressure has slowly diminished overtime; chances are the filter is clogged.

To unclog the showerhead you first need to unscrew the shower head from the shower pipe. Use a crescent wrench to unscrew the clogged showerhead.

Once you have unscrewed the clogged showerhead, you will find a small filter that sits just inside the showerhead. Using either your fingers or a small set of pliers (e.g. Needle Nose pliers) remove the filter screen from the showerhead.

If you see sediment on the filter screen rinse it off thoroughly. Then reinsert the filter screen back into the showerhead.

Next, if there is old plumbing tape (Teflon tape) on the shower pipe, remove it.

Wrap new plumbing tape around the pipe and then screw on the showerhead. Note: When applying the Teflon tape, wrap it around the pipe in the same direction that the showerhead will be tightened.

Tighten the shower head with a crest wrench just so it is snug.

Turn the shower on and observe if there is a significant improvement in the showerhead water pressure.

If you don’t see a marked improvement in your showerhead water pressure, you could still have one of several problems. It may be that the showerhead holes are clogged. If this is the case, then you will need to remove the showerhead again and soak it in a vinegar water mixture to dissolve away any build up in the holes.

If you notice that your water pressure is low in your entire home then you may have a problem with you well pump or water holding tank. If this is the case, you will need to call a plumber.

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