So I dug out these cabinets, emptied all of the cases,
put the cabinets on dollys and rolled them out to the wood shop work
At first, I had
simply sanding down the top of the cabinet, because it was dirty and
grimy from years of use in a print shop.
But then I noticed that the varnish on the sides had
begun flaking and peeling and it did not look quite as good up close as
I had remembered it from 40 years ago...
And then, my energetic friend Chris the carpenter
stopped by to see what I was doing and all of a sudden I felt like Tom
Sawyer with a picket fence to whitewash...
"Here", he said. "Use my belt sander." (I had my own
belt sander nearby, but Chris got his out of the truck and proceeded to
show me how it should be done...)
Chris is a carpenter and has a truck full of tools and he loves to use
And then, as he sanded the top, we discussed the flaking
varnish on the sides. I asked him how long he thought it might take to
sand the entire cabinet and refinish it. "A Day - sand in the morning
and varnish after lunch. "
So we continued sanding. By now
I had my belt
sander out, loaded with 80 grit to remove the old varnish, and his
loaded with 120 grit to put a smooth finish on this classic old oak.
Then he brought out his slick new orbital sander and began working on
the flats of the panels where neither belt sander could really do a
Of course, you only see Chris working in the photos,
since I was the one with the camera, but for the better part of about
two hours, we both sanded, side-by-side, until we got all of that old
flaky 80-year-old varnish off of this beautiful Michigan Oak.
By the time we got done, it was looking pretty darned good.