Saturday, September 29, 2007

Anatomy of a Hoosier Bin

I call this thing a Hoosier Bin, but I don’t think that’s really very accurate. I’ve only really seen one real live Hoosier Cabinet in my life and it didn’t have a bin like this, that I recall. At any rate, I’ve gotten it in to my head that this was a popular style kitchen bin around the same time the Hoosier Cabinets were popular, so it became a Hoosier Bin in my mind.

I also think that even if there was a Hoosier Cabinet that had a bin like this, this bin is a little more rustic than what would have been on a real Hoosier Cabinet. It’s not that it isn’t constructed well, it’s just that the Hoosier Cabinet I saw had a refined, factory-made look to it, where as this bin has more of a home-made quality to it. It really looks like it was made with hand tools. It also came out of an 1880s house, and I think that may pre-date the Hoosier Cabinet.

Finally, it is made of thick, full-dimensional redwood, which would mean local construction, and as far as I know, there were no Hoosier Cabinet factories in town. This is all speculation, so who knows for sure. It’s sturdy. Its old. I like it. That what really counts.

There are no hinges for the bin. Instead it pivots on the bottom rail of the face frame. The base of the bin has a two piece, concave rail on it. The back of the bin is higher than the front and when you open it, the back hits the back side of the face frame and that its what keeps the bin from falling all the way out. It is not really attached to the cabinet in any way.

The opening of the face frame is actually smaller than the front and back of the bin. There are two notches cut in to the tops of the two sides of the bin. This makes it possible to get the bin in to the opening. You have to sort of put it half way in, then lift it so the top of the face frame slides down in to the notches. You then have clearance for the bottom part to fit in. The front part, with the concave bottom rail, the comes down to rest on the bottom rail of the face frame.

Once it is in place, because the front and backs of the bin are larger than the opening, it can’t fall in to or out of the cabinet. When I first put it together it worked well, but not great. It sort of popped in to place at the very end when I opened it and closed it. It was a bit clunky.

I then added a half round piece to the bottom rail of the face frame. This really solved the problem. Now, the concave bottom of the bin was riding on the convex half round of the bottom rail of the face frame. The operation is surprisingly smooth. I won’t paint the two opposing half round shapes, and maybe even wax them. It should really pivot well when it’s all finished. The bin itself is so heavy (maybe 30 pounds) and the tolerances of the face frame are so tight, there is really no place for the thing to go except back and forth. It’s pretty damn cool.


Anonymous said...

Outstanding solution to the problem! YOU are pretty damn cool.

Anonymous said...

That's a great re-use of your old bin. Are you going to drill air holes for it? If you are going to put dirty, and possibly damp clothes in that bin, you should really consider drilling some breathing holes in it. Otherwise, you might end up with mildewed clothes.

Greg said...

Someone else suggested the vent holes but I'm not so sure it will be an issue. In my upstairs bathroom I have another laundry bin I made. It's all wood and has no vent holes. There hasn't been a problem with it and I've been using it for 3 years now. I'll keep an eye on it, though. After my friend suggested it I thought a clover leaf (Club) design would look cool. Who knows, maybe I'll still do it.

Jason & Heather said...

It looks like an old flour bin to me. I have a picture somewhere of a kitchen cabinet with two pull-out flour bins, it looks very much like those. This piece was from the mid 1800's. Hoosiers usually date from the 1920-30's.

Looks great as a laundry bin!