Vintage Wood Cabinets

Did I ever tell you about the wood we’re using to build our kitchen cabinets?

refurbished wood

I don’t know why I ask. I already know the answer: I didn’t say a peep yet because while awesome, this wood is a pain in the rear, too.

Yes that’s an old photo of the kitchen. How do you know? The door leading to the bathroom has no trim. And trust me: I spent more time than I care to admit sanding and varnishing. There is trim.

And if you wander downstairs to the airplane hangar, you’re going to see a lot of wood shavings. We’re talking enough wood shavings to pad a bar floor. But first, prepare for some temporary photo flashbacks to get us in the mood.

Way back when you were just knee-high to a grasshopper, we discovered Jeff. Okay, it was really just March. But it feels like forever ago.

Jeff is a local, friendly kind of guy who happens to work his butt off all around Montana. People call him when they want to tear down old barns and rip up old wood floors. He re-salvages the wood, stacks it in his country yard, and waits for the right patient buyers. Like us.

We’re using some of his old maple flooring from the 1950s to trim our cabinets and eventually build cabinet doors.

Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company

Remember this photo/post about¬†Martin adding trim around the cabinet that’s now holding our appliances in the house like you just saw? Yep. 1950s maple.

Unfortunately, the vintage maple takes an incredible amount of work to make it functional again.

Here’s Martin and me testing our procedure for the first piece:

First we select a piece of trim and scan it for broken nail pieces (you can’t always see them). Then we set up the table saw to run the board through twice. The old tongue and groove is warped and desperately needing an overhaul. The table saw makes quick work of it. The board is straight. The majority of the tongue and groove is gone. (It wasn’t very big to begin with.)

Then it’s time for the planer. For now, we just set it on the floor with some 1x4s.

plaining barn wood

We run the piece of wood through it over and over.

restoring barn wood

And over.

Who knew one little piece of wood could make so much dust?

“It’ll work!” Martin says, lifting his safety goggles. We place our restored piece of wood next to one of his old friends and ooh and ahh.

restoring vintage maple flooring

“I’ll still need to plane it a few more times,” Martin added.

“You’re joking,” I answer in disbelief. But as the family sander, I know the truth. I’d take a few runs in the plainer over a few hours of sanding any day.

It’s just going to take a while.

Michigan hardwood flooring

Fortunately, we’ve got a tag team. Our carpenter is back! Ear muffs, googles, and the whole shebang are on. It’s time to build a kitchen!

restoring hardwood floors

What kind of house projects are you working on these days? Anything kitchen related? Or especially for the new season?

I love that Martin is wearing the same light sweater in all these photos, but his pants keep changing. I guess fall is here! Now let’s chat; give me a chance to keep daydreaming in this new office in the hangar a minute before I start sanding. ;)