Wednesday, September 26, 2012

semi-non-updates

I don't usually like to write "I haven't actually accomplished anything, here are some pictures of nothing" posts, rather than waiting for the finished product and documenting every step along the way.  (Then I remember that I forgot to take pictures of almost all said steps.)  I do seem to like waiting an unduly long time between posts.  Connection...? 

But today, I figured I would just offer a wee pop-in and an update.  First of all, my drawer pulls arrived yesterday and they are lovely and I am delighted.  Also in the box was my wee, tiny block plane.  It's so little!  Normal block planes are about a foot long; this one is six inches.  Its blade is just 1 3/8" across, but for evening out the edges of cabinet doors and joints, that's absolutely perfect.  And it was quite inexpensive.  After several days of hacking away with a flat file, grinding up uneven bits with a hacksaw blade, and abusing my little electric sander on jobs too big for it, using the itty plane is like waving a wand.  IT'S MAGIC. 

So I made some progress on cabinet #3.  (You've seen cabinet #1.  And I promise that you will soon see cabinet #2.  The last adjustment it needs is to have one of its doors planed and then repainted, which I failed to do last night only because I was too lazy to take the door off the hinges.  Tonight, though, it's getting planed.)  And after cabinet #2, I will show you the finished cabinet #3.  But first, the progress.  As you may remember, I was trying to make a hood cover like this one:


Except that this one has another cabinet to its left, and mine will go straight back to the wall.  So I drew up some measurements, and I cut my first pieces:


(It occurs to me that someone might actually want to do this themselves, rather than merely shake their head, as I assume people do at most of my projects.  I believe these cost $800 or so if you have one made.  Even counting the depletion of supplies like wood glue and caulk, I don't think this will have cost me $30.  So I will take this interlude to add some technical information.) 

Technical information: standard countertop height is 36", and most basic range hoods' manufacturers say they want to be a maximum of 24" from the stovetop (which is also about 36" off the ground).  The standard distance between the countertop and the bottom of the upper cabinets is 18", and I think the hood should be distinctly higher, so I think 24", period, is the number to shoot for.  I also got it in my head that 18" would be an attractive height for the entire hood cover (that's the wooden part I'm making, not the appliance part I bought at the store), which, given the height of my upper cabinets, meant about 25" between the hood and the stove.  I decided that was acceptable.  Thus, the piece in the photo above is 18" tall.  It's about 41" wide, because that is the width of the cabinet I am attaching it to, and I want them to line up.  Obviously, it has to be at least as wide as the actual vent hood (appliance), but mine is about 30", so I'm ignoring it for purposes of this measurement.  The depth at the top is 11 1/4", because that is the depth of the upper cabinet above (less the doors, which are 3/4" thick).  I decided it should emerge from behind the doors, rather than being flush with them - mostly because the doors are uneven at the bottom, and I thought they would collide.  If you have semi-flush-mount doors, however (which is most typical), you should make the top of the hood cover the same depth as the cabinet BOX (most likely 12").  The depth of my hood cover at the bottom is 20", because the vent hood is 18 3/4" deep and I wanted to be able to reach between the cover and the hood to get at the controls.  Of course, the controls stick out further, and I should have made it 21" deep.  (I can fix this, but if you're making one, you might as well get it right the first time.)  Finally, the strip across the bottom is 4.5" high, because that is the height I thought looked good.  End technical information. 

Next I made a piece to lay across the front, but I forgot to take a picture of it before I nailed it to the piece above.  I think you can figure out what it looked like, though.  There's a single piece of plywood on the bottom, with all those strips nailed onto it.  By the way, all my pieces are 3/16" pine-veneer sanded plywood.  (I bought a 4' x 8' piece, but I have used it for multiple projects - you don't need that much.)  So then I attached this second piece to the first piece:


I apologize for the quality of this picture.  I can only get decent pictures in full sun with my BB (and we have two broken digital cameras lying around.  Sigh).  Here it is from the side, to give a better idea of the shape:


Before the last two pictures were taken, I had also caulked and planed.  If the pictures were better, you could tell that that results still weren't perfect.  After the first coat of paint, though, I realized that the results still looked pretty good - not as kludge-y as I had feared.  (Of course, the paint job itself is garbage, because apparently I have all sorts of debris in the paint, so I will be sanding carefully.  Fortunately that can of paint is pretty much empty and I just bought a new one.) 

It still needs strips added that will attach it to the upper cabinet, a bit of sanding, attaching to the cabinet (obviously), the addition of trim (mostly to conceal its imperfections, with an incidental decorative benefit [I hope]), and a couple more coats of paint.  Oh, and I have to install the actual vent :). 

Wish my luck!  Final pictures coming soon (I really hope)! 

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