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*Kitchen Remodel Project*


Ever since we moved into our 1974 vintage home we've not been satisfied with the kitchen. Not only were the cabinets wearing out they weren't all that nice when new. More than that the kitchen just wasn't designed very well. There are lots of dead corners, hard to access lower cabinets, lack of counter space near the cooktop, and just a general inefficient use of space. I've always thought I should be able to design & build something better and I'm finally making some progress towards reaching this goal.


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This is a “before” photo taken shortly after we moved in. A couple of things to notice. First upper left of the photo you can see the cabinets suspended above the peninsula. These cabinets visually cut the kitchen off from the dining area and made both spaces seem smaller. These have already been removed. You can also see that the the row of cabinets in the photo is split right down the middle by the fridge leaving precious little usable counter space on either side. The left side corner cabinets (especially the lower) are nearly inaccessible black holes. Trust me, the other side of the kitchen has similar problems...


The first big step to getting a new kitchen came, surprisingly enough, when we had trees taken down in 2007. The tree that was growing about 15 feet from the south west corner of our house, a nearly 100 foot tall white oak, had appeared to be rotten at it's base but after it was felled we found that the trunk was sound. Through a happy set of circumstances we we able to have the trunk, a 30 foot long section tapering from about 22 inches at the base to about 16 inches on top, sawed into lumber as a part of the sawmill demonstration at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio. Not only did they saw my tree into lumber for free they also gave us passes so Ben, my dad, & I could watch them do it! The resulting lumber will be used for the door & drawer fronts and the face frames of our new kitchen cabinets. Here are a couple of photos showing the sawmill at work.

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The wood from a tree that has recently been cut down is too wet to use so I stacked my big pile of boards in my uncle Marv's barn to dry. While waiting for the wood to dry Sue & I started planning the new kitchen design. The major changes include replacing the separate cooktop & wall oven with a free standing range, eliminating as many dead corners as possible, and maximizing the counter space near the range, sink, and fridge. Using Google Sketch-Up, Andy & I modeled the new kitchen. The model isn't exactly perfect but it should give you a pretty good idea of what we have in mind. Take a look....

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The rule of thumb is that green wood should air dry about a year for every inch of thickness so after letting the lumber sit for about a year and a half I brought it home. My intent was to use my dad's planer and spend a weekend milling the boards to the correct thickness. To my surprise a weekend was barely enough time to get a good start. I found that running the full stack through the planer twice, which will reduce the thickness of each board about 1/16 inch total, would take a full day! At the end of each of these full days I would need to get out a snow shovel to clean up the great mounds of sawdust! Here's a photo – to put this into perspective, the board leaning against the planer is a one by six about nine feet long...

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The lumber has, at long last, finally been planed to the proper thickness. Although this is a big milestone there's still a LONG way to go. Next steps, complete the cut list, buy plywood for the cabinet boxes, and rip the boards to the correct widths.

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