Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homegrown Opened Shelving

Way back when we started mentally arranging our kitchen cabinets, I knew I wanted opened shelves. And it was also necessary given the fact that we didn't have enough upper cabinets.

For the past few months, our wedding china (below) has been stored in the corner cabinet. Our glasses were kept behind the second from the left cabinet door. My thrift store set of mismatched white plates and all my serving dishes and random cute lunch plates were still boxed up.

Back in October, Matt pointed out that he had an old tree trunk from a red oak tree that had to be cut down (from our land! hence the blog title). It had been drying out for the past 2 years, so it was prime time to do something with it (no longer green, but not rotten yet).

Unsure of how they would come out, Matt said he could cut planks with his chainsaw. For those of you with chainsaw experience (not this girl!), this is apparently quite challenging. You really should use a saw mill to cut planks (but who has one of those? and no, that is one of a few things we don't own....yet).

Once the trunk was cut to an approximate length, we used a chalk line to mark the thickness of the shelves.

A LOT of saw dust was created.

Here's the first shelf:

And the rest being cut:

Lucy looking on, as we make lots of loud noises.

See her little head in the rail?

We let them continue to dry out (now that the wood was cut opened) for the next few months. After we moved in, I started working on sanding them down and sealing them.

First, I removed the bark which was dry rotting and flaking off already. We kept the "live edge" (as it is called in the business), which means we removed the bark but kept the natural curve of the tree's outer edge. Then, I sanded the top and bottom down with 60 grit and 150 grit sandpaper with my electric sander.

The wood was not going to be completely smooth (I knew that), but that's kinda the look, right? It would take hours and hours of sanding to get the chainsaw marks off.

After brushing the dust off, I brushed on a coat of semi-gloss polyurethane.

Sanded (this time by hand very quickly) again to get the pricklies off, then a second coat of poly. We let them cure outside for a week or so. Most of the fumes were gone then. We moved them inside to let them acclimate to the indoor humidity before screwing them to the wall. They unintentionally acclimated for several weeks because we didn't get around to installing them until last week.

The brackets came from Lowes. They were the super cheap ones because we had to buy so many. They came in white and grey. I spray painted them oil-rubbed bronze. We did our best to screw them into studs, but there is no stud in the brackets right next to the window.

So, we used the largest drywall anchors we could find. At least two of the three brackets are in studs, so it should be more than fine.

Then, came the fun part: adding all my dishes.

The wedding dishes AND the white 50 cent thrift store dishes both fit on the opened shelves. That means the corner cabinet was freed up to store vases, candlesticks, serving pieces, and random other dishes.

There were a few dishes still in the dish washer when these pictures were taken, but this is most of them.

I'd like to add that ALL our glasses (except for the tall water goblets) came from thrift/antique stores. Three pink glass tea glasses are still boxed up somewhere (also vintage). I love them.

We still haven't gotten around to rewiring and lowering the over-the-sink light (which the electricians goofed up). It should be hanging in front of the window, not in front of the upper window trim.

Matt and I are both totally in love with the shelves. He also loves that it's easier to put dishes up and he doesn't have to think about where things are located because they aren't hidden.

As for how much we spent:

-wood for shelves: free
-brackets: $28 for 18 (3 weren't used)
-oil rubbed bronze spray paint: $5
-drywall anchors: $14 for two packs
-polyurethane: already had

Total: $47

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