The other day I went to the Home Depot to DIY a medicine cabinet. After seeing an elegant solution to a sliding mirror medicine cabinet in a magazine, I set out to engineer my own version.
I chose to do it by only using parts and pieces from The Home Depot. Upon making a sketch, and putting together a preliminary list, I drove to my local store.
Once at The Home Depot, I met Jason, an associate who was willing to help out with my medicine cabinet DIY project — not just in his own isle, but to walk around with me. We went though my list and noted the appropriate departments next to the items need. We had a plan.
- Rollers isle 12
- Track isle 12
- Mirror isle 22
- Solid wood isle 14-15
- Wood Stain isle 5
- Glass shelves isle 30
- Wall anchors isle 12
- Wood glue isle 6
I liked Jason right away. His patience and confidence put me at ease. We started with the glass shelf inserts for the inside of the medicine cabinet. On the way, Jason pointed out the wood glue. Next, we picked out the mirror without bevel. As we were moving right along, I was recording everything by writing down The Home Depot skew numbers and dimensions.
Real DIY challenge was the medicine cabinet mirror track
I envisioned a contraption with tiny concealed wheels placed at the top and bottom. We had to find the appropriate item choosing out of sliding closet door and patio door hardware. Since the track was going to be visible, it had to fit within my aesthetic.
Jason decided to ask for help. He enlisted Reed, who seemed extremely knowledgeable. He knew his department’s inventory like the back of his hand. Not only that, he seemed very comfortable with envisioning various solutions to my DIY design problem. He was much faster than me! He talked about leveling considerations, ability to adjust during the medicine cabinet installation, and long-term application with wear and tear.
Reed showed us quite a few options. Jason was still by my side, “expanding knowledge,” as he put it. Raw steel angle or bar could work. But I was also rethinking the design. It would make sense to streamline the medicine cabinet mirror rail instead of thinking of it as a prominent feature. OK. I got enough information to work with. We thanked Reed and went to The Home Depot lumber department.
Where we met Rez! Jason, as my ambassador, explained my medicine cabinet DIY project to Rez who recommended using red oak. He was carrying a 2×4 at the time we stopped him. As soon as he finished with whatever he was doing, he took us to the appropriate stand. Besides red oak, I liked birch and maple. Rez explained the dimensioning as well.
The Home Depot experience was truly inspiring
It was now time to go back to the glues and finishing compounds — Jason’s element! He is an expert at finishing wood. He showed me the sandpaper options, stains, and polyurethane. He also instructed me on how to apply them. I was in DIY heaven!
A customer with a dog on a leash who was waiting to ask Jason a question got involved in our discussion. He offered his opinion on how to notch the wood. Since they don’t mill at the store, he said that The Home Depot sells a special tool with a special bit to take care of that.
I asked if I could snap his picture. He wondered if I would send it to my daughter. Does he think I am that old? Maybe it was time to leave. The seeds of the design solution were taking hold of my imagination. Maybe it was time to go back to the drawing board. Whatever else I might’ve needed could be found online.