I love it when something ordinary jumps out at me and I instantly see how it can be extraordinary.
Last month I came across something that stopped me in my tracks, (pun intended)… An old Railway Express Agency shipping crate. It was worn, dried out, beat up, and begging for some true old fashioned TLC.
Without hesitation I hauled it home, where it has been sitting in the corner of my living room, until last week when I finally decided to move it out into my workshop where I have a line up of projects ready to tackle. I figure if I added it into the line up, there would be a better chance that I would be inspired to work on it!
I immediately knew what this old crate needed and I got to work.
I started by scrubbing it down and using tack cloth all over to make sure there wasn’t any loose dust or particles before I went to the next step.
Next, I added two coats of clear Zinsser Shellac.
I was working in my work shop on a mid 80’s day, so the Shellac dried extremely fast. I was impressed at the dry time, and it didn’t leave any sticky feeling behind.
I added Shellac to the entire exterior, interior, and lid. Once the Shellac was dry, it was time to add on the caster wheels. I picked these wheels up a few years ago and have been waiting to find the right project to use them on. This was it!
Adding the shellac pulled out all of the historical characteristics, markings and words. I love the transformation that shellac does to wood! It is a beautiful process!
I remember during my childhood when my dad would ask me to assist him with projects and it would always make me feel so special to help him, even if it was just handing him nails, I felt so important. Now, when I work on projects, I try to find a task somewhere during, that my kids can help me with, hoping that when they grow up, they will not only have memories, but will have useful skills that they can use too!
I asked my son R to help me with the caster wheels. He is usually a little hesitant with projects, but with me showing him an example and putting the first screw in with the hand drill, he jumped right in and took over. He is 13 now, and I feel like time is flying by. I want to be the very best mom possible and teach him all that I know, while he is still here with me!
Adding caster wheels is not a complicated task! Don’t let it scare you! Caster wheels come in many different sizes and you can get ones that swivel 360 degrees, or ones that only roll backward and forward in a straight line. I always get the ones that do a complete swivel, this makes it so much easier when moving things around, especially if it’s something like a coffee table that gets pushed and pulled in all directions by everyone
After he added on the four caster wheels, it was time to add some pulls onto the lid, for easy opening. This is when my son ran way. Hah. I give thanks that he stayed with more for at least a small portion of my project!
The pulls were picked out by my 8 year old daughter. We were looking for something rustic that looked like it had always been a part of this old crate.
Since these pulls had a bit of a bump out on the bottom where it would meet the crate, I had to measure the size of that bump with the drill bit gauge. (Pictured above on the left). I used that size drill bit to go into the wood just as deep as the bottom of the pull needed to go in, then on the underside of the lid, I drilled in a hole that was one size smaller than the screw for a tight fit. I didn’t have any pull screws on hand that were the right size, so I made due by placing two washers in between the lid and each screw so it was nice and snug and secure.
One the pulls were installed, it was time to sit back and smile at another project well done and another piece of forgotten furniture brought back to life and rescued!