Re-purposed Card Catalog

Welcome-Welcome! LMB and myself have been scheming this past weekend with new projects for the house, and yes we haven’t really finished any of the ones we have started, but that’ll come one day…I hope. Here is a little recap of our adventures on top of our re-purposed card catalog.

Weekend Recap

Let’s see… we painted a bunch of end tables with our new Graco Paint Sprayer, oh and a cement rabbit lawn ornament, and a rickety rocking chair …  I’ve come to realize, Left Over paint + Trigger happy LMB, everything and anything was up to be painted. I will be doing a post on it, hopefully sometime this week.

We hung a barn door slider in the dining room, it turned out great, check out LMB’s Instagram (here), for a, “before the post,” sneak peak.

Grand Rapids, had a tough weekend with a tornado, which is a rare scene for us up here.

Started in on our front living room, and found some really cool stuff. Which got me thinking, what new tools do I need to finish that room out…

And, I got to finish the re-purposed Card Catalog.


The Original Card Catalog

As you can see, this card catalog has seen better days, we bought it with the typical thought of bringing it back together. After about a full year, we never made our way around to it. The overall size of the piece wore off on us, we had a few skinny taller pieces like it, that we used for storage. In its original state it just wasn’t our favorite.



We considered putting it at one of the unfinished furniture sales at The Found Cottage, but couldn’t come to terms, that we never made any use of this piece… #hoarderthoughts. It ended up making the move from Cottage on Tyler (our last house), to White Cottage Farm (new house), and there too it sat for two months. Finally, LMB and I were re-arranging the room and we got to thinking about this piece. What to d0… Coffee Table!

The Build.

This was a fun build. I have not re-purposed a piece of furniture in a long time. Having come up with unique work-around’s to achieve the end result is a great breath of fresh air.

Tear Down

Well, this one piece needed to become two. LMB determined the height we wanted the piece to be, and we sliced it right in half… With the bottom slightly rotted, I wanted to cut that off, and base my “half” measurement with that portion out of the picture. I used a circular saw to cut around the outside of the piece. The inside framework of the shelf still held this thing together. I used a coping saw to cut it the rest of the way.





Putting it back together

The drawer support was the most important aspect to me. I could fill in or cut back the top and bottom to flush everything out, but the lateral drawer support boards needed to line up. I clamped everything together, eyeballing the supports lined up and screwed them  together.


Both sides now attached, I could now figure out, what parts were not level, and either fill or cutaway to make everything flush. First, I noticed the bottom needed to be supported to allow the piece to flush out. Thankfully it only needed a 15/32 inch piece of plywood, cut to fit the bottom and screwed it in place. With the scrap area of the plywood, I jigged out the bottom left face pieces that fit in between the vertical support. This was strictly cosmetic, as I wanted it to mimic this other side. I nailed this into place using a pneumatic nail gun and 2 inch nails. 2 inch nails I bought for the shiplap dinning room (here),  and I am all about saving some money, so I used what I had. With the back of the nails sticking out, I just went in with a Dremel cutting tool, and nipped them away.



With the bottom of the piece now flush across the bottom and no teetering, We now move to the top.

Shimming the Top

We just need the top to be supported, and level. I measured across, and the framework that was cut with the coping saw, stuck up at various heights, the tallest being 1/4 inch. I ripped down strips of the remaining 15/32 inch plywood, placed them across the top, glued and nailed them down. Placed a level across, the top in all directions, and it was perfect.


Building the top

Four 1 x 8 pieces of pine are used for the top, that are rabbited and half lapped, and glued togethr with DAP Rapid Fuse, which I love, if you haven’t used it before, throw away your gorilla glue, and grab this stuff. A really cool technique for achieving a farmhouse style look, is in the in the works, and will be hitting this week. Sealed the boards with Rust-Oleum Chalked protective coat. With the top built, attach it with a nail gun and your done.


Blending and Hiding.

The front and side where the plywood was attached, was sticking out like a sore thumb. Bright and new, I needed to blend it into the rest of the piece. This is a good way to get closer without trying to paint it to match. I heavily wet the plywood with apple cider vinegar, and let it sit for a few minutes. Use an area not visible or scrap piece, run a heavy grit of sand paper across the actual color, attempting to collect it. With the “dust” of the sanded area, and a cloth (not a paper towel), pat the wet areas with the sanded dust. The wood being wet, pore will be open, and the color of the “dust” will seep into the wood, discoloring it to a color closer to that of the original piece. Next, I hid the shims and gaps underneath the top and between the original piece. I cut strips of left over scrap from the original piece, and glued them into place.




The Finished Product



Well all… that was it. A few cuts, and putting it back together is all this project was. Please let us know what you think, find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Keep an eye out for some reviews, and a tips on how to achieve the farmhouse look, like that we achieved with this build. Thanks.



  1. Kim Dykman says:

    Wow ! What a great idea and you made it look easy. I love it in the space and really like that you left the color on it. I would probably have painted it but now that I see it this way you made the right call! Great job and I am happy to see that you are back to regular blogging. I look forward to more posts!

    • says:

      Haha Thanks, Aunt Kim… Let’s just say there is about 10% of that piece now painted. Liz got to a corner of it this morning… Can’t leave her alone for one second.

  2. vickie white says:

    Great job!! Love it!!!

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