This was a really pretty old pine piece that I decided would be perfect to try my hand at applying a metal top. I was originally going to leave the trim around the top on and bend the metal over it.
Reality Check: are you kidding??? a straight top would be hard enough for a first try.
So I sadly, removed it. That left the top flush with the sides which didn’t look very good, so I decided to add another piece of wood on top of everything to extend the sides of the top. I’m at the shop, there’s no one else here at the moment, and I can’t go running off to Home Depot for more wood. So, what to do now?
Always did like the open shelving look! And even better, once the oak trim was cut off (with my trusty hand saw) the size was perfect for a new top for my cabinet.
Mark the metal for cutting: I had bought a piece of galvanized steel that was 2′ by 3′ which was a bit bigger than I needed. I laid the new top on the metal and carefully marked where I needed to cut it with a felt pen. I had to allow for the thickness of the wood and the overlap. Cutting the metal wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be with the new tin snips I’d just bought. You will also have to cut the excess metal out of each corner. Sand the cut edges of the metal – they are sharp!
Bend the sides: I clamped a rigid piece of steel bar (got that at Home Depot too) along the marked bend line and then just bent the metal up. The metal bar kept the sheet from kinking as I bent it and made for a nice square bend. Carry on until all 4 sides have been bent up.
Contact Cement: Apply the contact cement to both the board and the metal (just where the board will go). Allow both to dry and then carefully place the two glued surfaces together. I added heavy weights on the board and left it for a while.
Bend the metal the rest of the way: Once it was dry, I used a hammer to bend the metal around the board – one side at a time. Tap the metal where it will touch the top edge of the board a little at a time until it folds over nicely. Finish it off by hammering it down flat all along the edge.
This is how it looks once all four sides have been bent over. Next, I pre-drilled a tiny hole in each of the 4 corners and then hammered in a short nail to hold the corners in place. ps, had to drill the hole since the nail wouldn’t go through the metal.
Soldering the corners: I soldered all the raw edges of the metal at each corner using my stained glass soldering iron, flux and solder.
I used a metal file to smooth the solder, making sure there were no sharp edges anywhere. I finished this off with sand paper to make it even smoother. Clean off the flux residue with a damp cloth.
I just had to set the top on the cabinet to see how it looked. A little uneven on the edges, but I’m thrilled with my first attempt! I think next time, I’ll use a heavy duty adhesive instead of contact cement – I don’t think it was tough enough to overpower the metal since there are a couple of bubbles in the surface where it’s not stuck. So, putting some weight on it overnight and hopefully that will do it.
Next post: I’m going to ‘antique’ the metal since I don’t think nice and shiny really goes with the look of the rest of the piece. The contrast IS kinda nice though…. I’ll share with you what I’ve found on Google about distressing the metal and let you know what works tomorrow.