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This dartboard cabinet and board has lived at my parents’ house since I was two. It’s had a hard life and the last 10 years spent in my father’s garage didn’t do it any favors either. So it was time for a little restoration and rebuild.

I have always loved the front doors on the cabinet and they are really what I was interested in saving. They really hadn’t taken that much damage over the last 30 years, but were in need of some serious TLC. Whatever finish that might have been on it has long since been out of service, but other than that on the whole the solid walnut doors survived pretty well.

The one exception is a nasty split on the left door that keeps getting bigger over the last few years, so it’ll need to be taken care of.

The cabinet, for lack of a better word, is shot. Too many near-misses and rough treatment in decades past have rendered it unserviceable. Not only can I not repair it, but the frame is basically not structurally sound anymore and will have to be completely replaced.

I began the restoration with the doors. After removing them from the box the first order of business was to take care of that nasty split in the left side door. It was a bit messy; however the best way I could think to fix it was to get as much glue as far down the split as possible and clamp it together – making sure not to squeeze all the glue out when I applied force.

Then, for good measure, I drove two 1” brads in from the top at an angle to help secure the two pieces and set it aside to dry.

Next came sanding. I wanted to keep the paint work on the front and the overall character of the doors intact as best I could. It’s the entire reason for messing with the piece in the first place, so I carefully started hand sanding with 80 grit to remove any previous finish and smooth out rough spots. After the 80 grit came a careful round of 220 grit to remove the sanding marks from the round before.

When I was happy with that, a light wipe-down with mineral spirits is a good way to remove all the sanding dust and see what you’re actually working with. A few touch-ups here and there and I was ready to move on to finishing.

Any number of finishes would have worked here. I seriously considered tung oil but in the end opted for natural-colored Danish oil. It would keep all the character the doors have but bring out the vibrancy of the grain and help protect against this issue happening again. I’m also going to lay a few coats of wipe-on poly over it after it cures — Danish oil is practically made for that particular one-two punch.

It’s really turning out well so far. I’m uber-pleased with the color of the first door and how well it responded to the refinish, and I await the same results with its sister door once the glue dries.

Next time it’s on to replacing the cabinet itself from some walnut I have lying around the shop.


7 Responses to Projects: Dartboard Cabinet Rebuild — Part 1

  1. Mrten says:

    I know this is a bit old-fashioned, but you could’ve tried hot hide glue for fixing that crack. Frank Ford touts the horn pretty good: http://frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Data/Materials/hideglue.html

    I’ve used hide glue for all kinds of joints and surfaces and I must say that I’ve been impressed with the results. Takes a little bit practice but after that it’s better (and quicker setting!) than PVA. In this case, after applying and a bit of clamping, the glue would’ve dried and pulled the crack closer together

  2. Sean O'Hara says:

    I’ll admit right now to not having idea what hide glue is. It sounds pretty cool though. I’ll have to play around with it before next time.

  3. thomas says:

    I just picked up one of these from a yard sale for 10 bucks. cept it has St george Fully licensed on the front..

  4. PutnamEco says:

    Sean O’Hara Says:
    I’ll admit right now to not having idea what hide glue is.
    Stephen Shepherd has written about hide glue extensively both on his fullchisel blog and in his book Hide Glue: Historical and Practical Applications

  5. Mrten says:

    Hide glue is basically the same as the gelatin you find in the kitchen, made from boiling (and processing) animal hide. It’s what old (think egyptian) woodworkers used when the modern array of glues wasn’t available. You buy it as dried pellets (so it keeps forever) to dissolve it in water when you want to use it.

    The main advantages are that it glues better than PVA, it does not creep when heated (ever leave something tensioned in a hot car?), it’s reversible (add water) and it is rock hard when dry. Which is nice for joints in furniture, because one loose joint in for example a chair won’t cause other joints to loosen up because of extra play.

    Veneering is also an application of hide glue: apply on base, wait a bit, place veneer, use steam iron to soften glue again. Way easier than contact glue, which must be perfect the first time.

    Hide glue is applied hot (~50C), and there we get to the main disadvantage: the open time is pretty short (1-2 minutes) when using the standard stuff, but luckily there are lots of tricks to work around that (steam iron mentioned above, hot palette knife, warm room, warm up wood, etc).

    There are lots and lots of resources to be found on the Web: frets.com is one, player-care.com is another, google is your friend. Have fun experimenting! 🙂

  6. cb says:

    did you sand around the paint work? If so, did you mask the paint work when you did this?

    It looks great so far!

  7. Sean O'Hara says:

    I sanded around the paintwork with a q-tip sized piece of sandpaper on a stick. then applied the stain and such with an actual q-tip. Then poly went over the entire top of it.

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