Thursday, November 29, 2012

Final push on the kitchen cabinets (Part I)

9 PM Friday night...

...9 PM Sunday night!

This past weekend, we made a major push to get as much done on the kitchen as possible, and we were able to get it completely functional! There are a lot of little details (lighting, drywall, trim, back splash tile, etc) that will still need to be done. But after two months without a kitchen, we were both pretty excited to get it finished enough to move out of the basement mess hall.

Brigitte spent the weekend diligently sanding and staining all the cabinet doors. I had my work cut out for me routing the new microwave vent, building a custom cabinet to cover the mess, varnishing, and rehanging the doors.

The sanding and staining station
After a whole day of sanding, Brigitte gave each door two coats of Veristain "Traditional Pecan" stain. She did a great job, and the finish has hardly a single run or dark spot. Considering this was all done by hand, it was pretty labor intensive. But the first one she worked on looks just as good as the very last one, and that's saying something.

Brigitte at work on the cabinet doors the kitchen. I had hoped to route the microwave vent straight out the back. Unfortunately, I hadn't considered the beam that runs through the center of the kitchen. It's supported by a 6x4" post right behind where I wanted the exterior vent to run.

Justin drilling a hole for the vent

Since I couldn't route the vent where I wanted, I had to re-route it about 10" from the top of the microwave to the one spot between the cabinets free of any structural supports. I used a 4" Milwaukee holesaw until I got to the exterior siding. Then, I went outside to drill through the other side.  

Preparing to install the vent

Once that was done, I had to try to rearrange to vent fittings to fit the awkward angle from the microwave to exterior vent. Once everything was connected, I wrapped aluminum duct tape around the joints to prevent grease from the vented smoke leaking into the wall.

Fitting the vent
Because of the way we vented the microwave, we had to construct a custom cabinet out of oak to cover it up. This is the second custom cabinet I've built for this project. I really can't say enough good things about the Kreg Jig. It's certainly earned it's keep on this job.

Custom cabinet to cover up the unattractive venting

Now that's a lot of Kreg joints!
Installing the microwave took a couple of attempts to line it up properly with the vent. The upper cabinet was reinforced to support the weight of the microwave. Considering that with this cabinet, we really just set out trying to make lemonade out of  lemons, I think this turned out really nice. 

Stove, microwave, and beautiful shelf!

Obviously we're not done yet.  Stay tuned for Part II: "gonna have ourselves a door hanging!"

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