Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Card Catalog Cabinet- Part 1

Gorgeous old card catalog:
I have loved and coveted this card catalog cabinet from the first moment I saw it on Pinterest. It has that certain vibe that just speaks to me. It's the perfect balance of masculine and feminine style- think Indiana Jones meets Ingrid Bergman. It's design is gorgeous, but a piece like this would probably run you about a couple grand- easy. I know it's one of a kind and I know that sets the price, but coughing up that kinda cash just ain't happening in my world.
Which is why I was so thrilled to find this beauty at the ReStore a couple of months ago. It was definitely too blond a color for what I was looking for, but the lines were perfect and the price tag was too. It was a whopping $30. I snatched it up and we dragged it home, where it sat for a couple months in the corner of Graham's office. Last week, the moons finally all aligned and I knew it was time to get busy and finish this project. Here's how it all went down. 
The knobs were a breeze to remove, so I started with that.  But the more I kept looking at the drawer, the more I wished it was narrower- like in my inspiration piece. I was wanting it to have more of a map drawer look and less of a clothes drawer look. Thank goodness I'm married to an Eagle Scout.
To get this look, we decided to run a router down the middle of each drawer front, leaving  a 1/4 inch groove from end to end. This groove would give the impression that there were actually two separate drawers instead of just one. Graham used his T-square and marked everything up so the "drawers" would be of equal size.
When we actually put the drawer front down on the router, we realized it was too wide to use with the guide that came with our table. The guide is what keeps your wood steady as you slide it down the router. If you don't use a guide, you'll end up with a groove that looks like a lazy river instead of a nice straight line.
Graham solved this problem by making his own guide- using our yardstick level and some heavy duty metal clamps we bought when we were newlyweds.  Those clamps meant serious business and that guide was going nowhere. 
After that, it was just a matter of taking our time and running the drawer fronts along the router nice and easy.
And they turned out just as I'd hoped. I now had 12 "drawers" for my cabinet instead of six. 
Since we ran the router right through the drill hole where the knob had previously been, I needed to use some wood filler to hide those holes. 
Which brings us to this stage in the game. I decided to use the sun room as my work area because the garage was way too cold. I put down 2 layers of plastic sheeting and a drop cloth to protect the tile and grout under the cabinet. There's a definite reason they call this stuff stain and I wanted to make sure I was extra careful in that room.
I did a lot of research on which stain to use and this particular brand kept popping up as the best choice. It's a gel, so it's supposed to be easier to use with less splatter drama than the liquid version. It also claimed you could apply it directly onto your wood veneer without any need for sanding. Now that's what I'm talking about, people. They also recommended using their sealer to keep the gel stain from chipping off, so I bought that too.
I popped the lid off the can, grabbed my sponge brush and got the ball rolling. Check in with me next week and I'll show you how it all turned out. Until then, I'll give you a teaser- there may have been some serious gel stain drama and a few curse words may have been uttered, but in the end, the cabinet ended up looking marvelous. Totally Pinterest worthy and more than deserving of at least a grand.


  1. Can hardly stand the wait to see the picture!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Natalie :-). It was a super fun project!