A Refreshing Home Improvement

17 Sep

Since my blog has been floundering from a lack of blogging lately, my dear husband offered to contribute.

Here he goes:

So I’m a packrat, not a Hoarders level packrat, but I do find it hard to throw things out. Even trash has useful functions waiting to be called into service. I also like working with my hands, given that I spend my day in front of a computer – often in Excel.

So after a former roommate showed me this car made out of Coke cans, I knew I had to come up with something of my own.

As my wife has consistently noted, our apartment is small. That coupled with the fact that I like second leases on life for just about anything, and that soda cans are underappreciated with respect to the artwork printed on them (I am especially fond of San Pellegrino cans); I figured I should do something with the soda cans that I hate taking out for recycling.

So I started collecting cans, not for the deposits, but for their artwork. I collected a variety of beverages: Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, San Pellegrino and Fresca (the old style can). My wife even kicked in some rather nice Seagram’s Ginger Ale cans.

Now that I had cans, and I did not trust myself to make a model like the link above, I struck on the idea of wrapping some wood we salvaged from a bed frame that was being trashed and to make shelves for our kitchen. The shelf is pretty elegant given that it’s just two supports and a piece of wood in between.

So my first step was to split the can body from the lid and base. For this I used a simple can opener. Warning: Cans once separated are extremely sharp!

Once I had the body of the can separated, I had to split the body into a ribbon from a ring (I usually cut near the barcode), trim the top and bottom, rounded the corners off, and then finally flatten the can (I found using a full soda can and rubbing it over the metal while it lay flat on the table to be the easiest way to counteract the curve). Take care to keep the metal shavings from falling on the floor where they can be stepped on or eaten by pets (human and animal alike).

Now with a host of flattened can bodies, I started wrapping the wooden slats that were to become the shelf.

Using small tack nails and a pair of needle nose pliers, I attached the cans to the wood, careful to allow for a consistent overlay from can to can along the length of the shelf (hammering did not work well with the soft metal cans).

Five slats later I was ready to cry (just like my wife was here) — really I was ready to quit after the first. But we decided that these would be enough and I assembled the shelves and dry fit them to the wall. The five slats translated into one deep (~10 inches) and one shallow (~7 inches) shelf.

So after all this effort, do they look good? Right now I only remember the cuts and the late nights working on an endless project.  However, we are loving the regained counter space.

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