It’s almost a closet again

It’s been a trying few weeks.  All our clothes and shoes have been scattered to the four corners of the house while I’ve been working on the closet.  Our hanging clothes hung from one of the beams in the living room, blocking the television from my favorite chair.  Shoes and boots have been on a towel next to the tv.  Other shoes and boots are in a box out in the garage.  Sweats and sweaters are on a high shelf in the laundry room.  My jeans are on the bookshelf behind me.

It’s the War Zone.  We’re used to it by now, and we know the drill.  It doesn’t last forever, and when things go back where they belong, it’s refreshing to see the house all nice and clean.  It’s like the day you put all the christmas decorations away. They’re nice to have out for a while, but eventually, you want your house back.

The drawer fronts came out great.  Cannot complain.  I just did simple tongue and groove with panels, which got glued and screwed to the drawer box.  They should last the life of the house, or longer.

It’s really nice to be working with oak again.  Hardwoods are hard to come by out here, and expensive.  These are the frames that go on the built in boxes already in the closet.

I rarely do mitered joints (because I’m not very good at them) but the corners on this one came out pretty good.  I cheated.  Before I cut the strips, I cut one end of the board to 45 degrees, so that I had at least one perfectly clean miter without any tear-out or burn marks.

Everything installed pretty smoothly.  A lot of math went into all that, and I guess I did it right this time because I didn’t have a whole lot of problems.

For closet doors, we got these hugely big rails for barn doors.  This thing is very heavy and I had to put in a new header to support it.  The header is bolted in place with these gigantic lag bolts and then reinforced with some additional framing.  I think these are going to be the strongest doors in the house.

The hardware instructions were ridiculous enough, but I ended up modifying the install anyway so they were completely worthless to me.  I ended up drilling holes in the brackets to accommodate another lag bolt to make sure it was secure enough.  This steel was tougher than the cheap packaging would have you think it is.  A hint:  when drilling through thick metal use a little machine oil on your drill bit.  It makes a big difference.

Nice!  I don’t even need doors, I’ll be happy just looking at my open closet.

The drawers work great, very smooth operation.

Using a polished copper hanging rod really helps the clothes slide a little bit.  The old rod was badly worn.  Kind of looked like driftwood found on the beach.

Here’s the rails for the bypass barn doors. The house isn’t level but these needed to be, so they do look a little crooked if you stare at them long enough.  But the last thing I needed were sliding closet doors that rolled out of place when you weren’t looking.

I do love the built-in drawers.  Such a huge difference over the last ones.

Next up, I’ll make the Bam Doors … er, the Barn Doors for the closet.

The Domino Effect

Got a bunch of snow this week, way more than usual.  Kind of a good thing, as it keeps my mind off of wanting to do landscaping and lets me focus on the project at hand.  Let’s get this closet wrapped up.

I wanted to get the built-ins fully assembled this weekend but needed to get a bunch of things done first.  That’s how these things go sometimes.  I couldn’t get the final measurement on the front of the built ins until I finished the drywall, so I’d know exactly how wide it would be.  So I figured I’d just do the two walls adjacent to the closet.

But that’s where the Thermo Stadt is, and I needed to relocate it so the new closet doors wouldn’t hit it.  And it’s kind of a special one, it’s not just a little wire that can be moved easily.  It’s 220 volt electrical wire.  So I had to move the electrical box, move a couple of studs, re-frame the corner.  No big deal, just added two hours to the project that I wasn’t planning on.

Oh, and did I mention the light switch at that corner extends out from the wall by about 3/4 inch?  It’s always been that way, but now that I’m opening this wall up I may as well fix it.  This will be my only opportunity.

And may as well keep putting up drywall.  I had to dig those sheets out from underneath about 200 board feet of scrap.  Now that I got them out may as well cover what I can.

So, yeah, I didn’t get a whole lot done on the built-ins.  I got most of the frame cut out and dry fit into place.  Still need to sand, join, glue, clamp, stain, poly, poly 2, poly 3, etc.

Everything fits nice and snug, though.  This should be a strong built-in.

And if I decide I don’t want that Thermo Stadt anymore, I’ll have these industrial looking hooks I can hang a bathrobe from.


Last Look at the Old Closet

Closets get beat up over time, and because they’re usually full of things no one ever really sees the damage, and so they tend to get neglected and fall into disrepair.  Our bedroom closet probably hasn’t been touched in 40 years, and it showed.

Here’s the last look at the old closet, just minutes before being smashed to pieces.

The closet rod was so old that we’d get wood dust on our clothes, scraped off by the hangers whenever they got moved.  I don’t know where they found that old bracket in the middle, but the faded price tag on it said $1.49.  That might have been a lot of money at the time.

They went really overkill on the nails, using those huge hot galvanized bastards that just weld themselves to the stud they’re nailed into.  Steel was so hard you couldn’t even lop the heads off easily.  Lots of swearing during this phase.

The wood is actually good old douglas fir.  Well, knotty, warped, splintery, submerged in shellac, and someone rubbed wood putty into the holes with their thumb.  Other than that, it’s good wood, and I was able to salvage about 20 board feet of it for a future project.  I’m thinking of using it to make a big outdoor fire, but we’ll see.

While pulling those planks up, I found the Tomb of Lost Shoes!

This just annoys me – random, crooked coat hooks installed with bad screws into bad drywall.  I like having lots of robe hooks, but neatly arranged and correctly installed.  I’m funny that way, I guess.

After a few coats of Killz and latex paint, it’s looking and smelling much cleaner.  This house has taught me to love the smell of fresh paint.

There we go.  Nice wooden bracket, Lots of hooks in the back for belts and what not, an attractive copper rod  to hang clothes from, and a nice flat melamine shelf to rest clothes on.

I like using copper pipe for closet rods.  I reinforce them with a wooden dowel along the inside so they’re a little stronger and won’t bend so easy.

And the new drawers are fantastic.  I still need to make the top and the face frame and drawer fronts.  I’m doing everything out of red oak, though I need to use plywood for the lid.  Yeah, I know that drawer #2 can’t open because a dresser is in the way, but I have a plan for that.

It really did snow this time.