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Converting Drawers to Shelves
I saw a modification to another Santa Fe by Bill, better know as "Oz
& Us" on the Pop Up Times
Explorer message boards. He decided that the drawers in the
Santa Fe were difficult to open and the drawer brackets broke too easily.
Take a look at his modification HERE.
I have to agree with him. As I am on my second set of brackets already and
they don't look too good.
An additional advantage to this project is that you will gain additional
storage space as the drawer boxes and workings take up a lot of room. An
additional advantage I didn't think of was weight. By the time I got done removing
parts, I had over 20 pounds of "stuff" that was being taken out. I
weighed the new shelf and parts I was using and it cam in at a very light 5
pounds. So, I saved over 15 pounds!
All photos are thumbnails,
click to see an enlarged version
Number 1 is to remove the drawers. There is a catch in the right
rear of each drawer to keep it from coming all the way out.
Remember to disengage it or you will be fighting with the drawer. Don't
ask how I know.
you get the drawers out, turn them over and remove the 7 screws holding
the decorative front on the drawer box. Three of these are
designed to hold the front on and four of them are holding the handles
on the front of the drawer. You will need to get 8 new handle
bolts, as the old ones will be too long once they no longer go through
the drawer box wall. The replacements should be 3/4"
Here is the cabinet with all of the hardware removed. Note I also
removed the doors on the ajoining cabinet, as I didn't want to work
around them. Additionally, my new shelf is designed to be four
feet long, which will extend past the right hand door. Once you
get all of the hardware out of the way, set your straight edge on the to
of wooden divider that was between the drawers. Extend the
straight edge to the rear and mark the shelf location on the rear wall.
was originally going to screw cleats (hanging brackets) to the
walls inside the cabinet and then set the shelf on top of them.
Thinking about it I decided to cut the shelf to length and then attach
the cleats to the bottom of the shelf before I put it in the
cabinet. If you look closely at this photo of the bottom of the
shelf you will note the 1 X 2 pine I used for the cleats. It was
attached to the shelf with wood glue and finish nails. While I
used an air nailer, standard finish nails would also work. Also
note the two notches I had to make in the shelf to go around trim inside
of the stock cabinet. The finished size of this shelf is 14
3/4" X 48". Remember when cutting the luan plywood, cut
from the bottom and it helps if you put a strip of masking tape along
the length of the cut you will make on the finished side. Cut
through the tape to keep the finished side from splintering
Here is a photo of the shelf once it was installed. Not it goes
past the original drawer openings to the left, entirely filling the
space of the right hand cabinet door next to the original drawers.
Once the shelf was in place i installed an end on the shelf to keep objects
from sliding off the left side of the shelf into the cabinet
below. If you pre drilled the cleats it is easy to slid the shelf
into the opening (cabinet door opening, not the drawer opening).
Hold the shelf in place and run the screw into the paneling. Pick
screws that will not extend very far past the paneling. You don't
want a screw through an electrical wire, or worse yet through the side
of the pop up.
Here is the finished look. I attached each drawer front with 2
stock Coleman hinges. I tried to find the same hinges at Home
Depot, but no luck. Additionally I put a magnetic catch behind
each new drop down door to hold it in place. I recommend that you
pre-drill pilot holes for all screws you are going to put in. This
will keep the wood from splitting. I may add an additional magnetic
catch to each door at a later time.
Here is a photo of the bottom door open (I keep wanting to call it a
drawer). I did not add any shelving to the bottom area, deciding
to place objects directly on the flooring. Pay attention to what
you place here as the bottom of the cabinets are not sealed. If
your floor gets wet, water can run under the cabinet and get on whatever
you store in this area. Whe you open this door the handles rest on
the pop up floor
The top shelf is now home to our towels and linens. I did not put
a chain or other device to keep the door from opening all the way.
I may go back at a later time and change this. I want a couple of
trips under my belt first to see how it works out. Right now it
swings down against the lower door.
4 - Coleman door hinges
1 - 1" X 2" pine (used as the cleats/bracket)
1 - 2' X 4' 1/4" Luan plywood (clear on one side for
10 - 1 1/4" drywall screws
Finish nails of several lengths
8 - 3/4" bolts to replace the drawer pull bolts.
Take an old one with you to match the size.
Circular Saw, Miter saw, 3 foot straight edge, screw gun
with Phillips tip
Revised: May 08, 2007