Week 4 of 52 Weeks Towards a Better Little House

It is the end of January already, hard to believe that week 4 has come and gone. The William Morris project now has a beautiful banner (obviously this lovely banner was brought to you through the awesomeness of Jules from P&FF). This week has not been the best, and my mind has spent full time hours thinking about life and loss.

I started on a small project last Saturday – the removal of a crooked piece of moulding on the stairs. However, the project quickly escalated, and I haven’t been able to get all the supplies necessary to finish the project, and I’m resigned to the fact that it is going to take a few weekends to finish it off. So, in a rush to check something else off of the list I finished one thing – a very, very small, but incredibly annoying little thing that has been driving me nuts for months.

Last summer, I scored a free chest of drawers off of craigslist, it wasn’t in the worst condition, but was begging to be refinished. It doesn’t look too bad in the photo, just needed some loving care.

After a good sand and oil, and then another light sanding and another round of oil, it looked pretty good. I used mineral oil on it, because that is what I have in the house – and it is fairly benign and easy to use. I brought the chest back into the house, and stuck it in the back room, and that’s about as far as I got with the project. Somehow, months passed and the poor neglected chest got moved from room to room, never finding its place in Little House.

The top of the set of drawers is quite water damaged, and the old hardware was full of junk and pretty dingy and missing a few bolts. Because my life is fast-paced and full of adventure, it seemed a worthy pursuit to go scouring the web, in search of cures for dirty brass. I found a couple of different methods for cleaning the hardware. The seemingly simplest method to use involved making a paste out of white vinegar, salt and flour in equal measure, and then applying the paste to the hardware. The concoction is left on for an hour and then buffed off (I cannot remember where I read this…will find a link). It worked really, really well, and was pretty darn easy. Here it is, all shiny and new looking.
The next thing on my list, was to get two new bolts for the hardware, as they were missing. This seemed like a very easy thing to do. Went  down to the local tool depot, with pulls in hand, and picked up some bolts that I thought would do the trick. Needless to say, when I got them home it turned out that they were too long.
Now, this next part speaks either to my laziness or to my ingenuity, because instead of taking the bolts back and getting some shorter ones, I decided that it would be much smarter to saw the screws down to size. The ingenuity of this thought is  linked by working in an office that also has a machine shop (don’t ask).
Off to work I went the next day, bolts jiggling safely in my back pocket. On my lunch break, I took a few minutes hacking the ends off of the two bolts (great stress reliever for midday). I used a piece of tape wrapped around the bolt lined up to the spot where it needed to be cut. Set the bolt in a vice and used a hack saw to cut the shmuck off. Then, using the nifty little circular thing in the photo below, I cleaned the threads of the bolt (if you don’t have any bolt threaders don’t worry too much, just use a little sand paper where you made the cut, give it a few swift strokes, and it should thread on easily enough).
There you have it. Simple. Looking back, don’t know why it took six months to put a bolt in a handle.
Next project, replacing the veneer on the top of the drawers and fixing the little dent in one of the drawers. Might just be able to complete this project this very weekend.

9 thoughts on “Week 4 of 52 Weeks Towards a Better Little House

    • Thanks for coming by Melissa! The moulding project is in full flight, shouldn’t take long to complete…it’s the snap decision that the stair banister and railings suddenly needed to be sanded down to the wood that has me cursing sweet expletives :)

    • Thanks Carrie. I often paint things, but this had a nice grain that just needed a bit of help, and seemed worth the effort to refinish. We’ll see how I feel about it when it comes to refinishing the top of the chest.

  1. It looks amazing, and I LOVE that dresser. Good job.

    p.s. I did a post last year on cleaning brass with flour, vinegar, salt…maybe it was there? That would be funny if you did. Small internet!

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