Sunday, November 18, 2012

Door Handle

Fixing a broken door handle for a friend of mine

After taking it apart I found out that one cast aluminum part had broken off on one side. I tried to weld it but aluminum is notoriously hard to weld so I ended up fabricating a simple metal bracket to hold the broken side in place.

Right beside the left vertical "tube" at the bottom was a flat piece with a hole in it that allowed this piece to be tied down but it broke off
The fabricated piece of metal that will tie the aluminum piece to the door
The fabricated metal piece in the place where it will hold down the aluminum piece
Installed in the door
Another view, you can see the screw through the metal piece at the bottom left
The door handle after it was removed. The set screw was all mashed up so I had to drill it out, re-tap the handle and find a black screw from my bin of left-over screws
After the broken set-screw was replaced on the handle with a new one
Installed door handle. Works great now!
Outside view


Drill, screwdriver, angle grinder, bench top grinder, oxy/acetylene torch, hammer

A scrap piece of metal and a left-over screw from my bin



Depending on the cost of a replacement door handle. Maybe $150.00. Or, if the broken part is one that could be replaced, then it would be $10 bucks, maybe $15?

Success. I hope it will last.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

3-Unit Wardrobe

For over 3 years I've been wanting to get rid of my old dressers and build me a new wardrobe so I won't have to shove all my clothes into small drawers but instead fold them up neatly and put them on shelves. I guess it's a European thing, but I just find that I can see my clothes better and keep them nicer organized on shelves than in drawers.

Finally, now that Eliana was a bit over 3 months old I decided to tackle this project. I knew it was going to be a long one and between the feeds, naps and other family obligations I knew I'd only get a couple of hours per day in if I'm lucky.

The plan was to build 3 independent units, 36" wide by 7 feet tall, 21" deep with lots of shelves, a place for our TV in the middle unit and building in our little electric fire place we bought a few years ago for some extra ambiance.

Step 1: Plan the wardrobe
Step 2: Get the materials
Step 3: Cut all the parts to their proper size
Step 4: Fill all the holes with wood filler and prep for painting
Step 5: Paint the wood
Step 6: Put it all together
Step 7: Final touch-ups


Old dresser my parents bought me in 1992!
Second dresser. This sucker went through about 4 moves and was still as solid (and heavy!) as when it was new

The plan
Some of the wooden shelves cut up
The sides to the wardrobes
The tops and bottoms
The 9 drawer fronts
A jig I used to space the dowels perfectly
Putting it together to make sure it fits. I ended up inadvertently opening the garage door which squished the unit and damaged one shelf. I was actually quite impressed with how strong it was and that there was not more damage
Close-up of bottom of shelf
I had to create a temporary spray booth for painting the doors because it was raining outside
My temporary paint booth worked perfectly
The doors after they were primed
The sides after they were painted
Most of the parts after they were painted
14 shelves, 9 drawer fronts, 6 side walls, 3 tops and 3 bottoms
1/2" melamine for the drawers. This is for the last 5 drawers; I had already built 4 at that time
One unit once I've emptied the old dressers and my wife's walk-in closet of all my clothes
Just for size comparison. The 3 units are 9 feet wide, 7.5 feet high and 21" deep. They must weigh 500 lbs!
Final shot of the 3 assembled wardrobe units


Table saw, Drill, welder for making the jig, measuring tape, square, air nailer, router, planer, iron for iron-on edging, compressor, paint gun, hammer, pencil, dremel

MDF, dowels, 2x4s for corners, wood filler, screws, primer, paint, nails,

Cost (approximate):
5/8" MDF (7 sheets): $310
1/8" MDF for backs (3 sheets): $40
1/2" Melamine for drawers (3 sheets): $75
2x4s for corners: $30
2 gal primer: $40
2 gal paint: $80
3 packs of dowels for shelves: $15
8 sets of hinges: $50
24 door/drawer handles: $45
9 sets of drawer slides: $100
TOTAL: $785.90

Approximately 50hr

Not sure what 3 custom-built units like these would cost but my guess is at least $750 per unit. So the total savings are about $1,750

Love them! It was a LOT of work but definitely worth it now that they're done. They are so solid that I know we'll still have them in 20 years (if we still want them then)