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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