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Thread: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

  1. #1
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    Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Picked up this used cabinet. The rear near the top has been dented in a bit. I took a couple of pics with flat bar so you can see how the rear at the top is pushed in, which caused top near the rear to bulge up.







    Plan is to add casters, put on a plywood top and make this a drill press stand for a 80lb drill press.

    I saw this video from sixtyfiveford where he welds a bolt to the dent and pulls the dent out. Link to video:


    I guess that's the best bet? If there's an easier method, I'm all ears.
    Last edited by goggins; 07-01-2022 at 10:41 PM.

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    The bad news is that the paint is most likely already cracked, so when you bring it back, it will still be susceptible to eventual surface rust in that area. You can bring it back without heat but in the process of bending, there is a certain amount of stretching involved so there will be stresses in the finish not yet evident. If it was powder coated at the factory, it may take a little more abuse. Rather than just beating directly on it with a hammer, try using blocks of wood to protect the finish from further small "stretches" where you are hitting it. You need to bring it back into shape dimensionally before you can bring the high spots down.
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    ^^^ what he said^^^
    :

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    I saw this video from sixtyfiveford where he welds a bolt to the dent and pulls the dent out.
    Assuming you can get into that area, I think putting a 4 x 4 inside and two 2 x 4's outside, all parallel to each other and on both sides of the corner nearest the damage, then gradually clamping them together (in steps), would be the best way to start. That way, you're straightening both sides at the same time. Make the boards as long as will fit and modify the boards or method to accommodate what you have. Use a press (or build a wooden cage and use a hydraulic jack)if you can't use clamps.

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldiron2 View Post
    Assuming you can get into that area, I think putting a 4 x 4 inside and two 2 x 4's outside, all parallel to each other and on both sides of the corner nearest the damage, then gradually clamping them together (in steps), would be the best way to start. That way, you're straightening both sides at the same time. Make the boards as long as will fit and modify the boards or method to accommodate what you have. Use a press (or build a wooden cage and use a hydraulic jack)if you can't use clamps.
    Hydraulics would be great, but I can't imagine he'll be able to get in there with drawer slides etc. in the way. I have autobody jacks that might get in there, but I doubt the OP would have those on hand.
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    Hydraulics would be great, but I can't imagine he'll be able to get in there with drawer slides etc. in the way. I have autobody jacks that might get in there, but I doubt the OP would have those on hand.
    That may be true; once again we only got a few close-up pictures showing the bent area, not the whole situation. That said, I still think pressure or hammering with wood is better than the weld-on bolt idea, the type and shape of damage considered.

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Oh, I agree.... if he's putting a plywood top on it, and the damaged part is to the back, it's just a question of how pretty you need it to be. Burning things up and drilling holes isn't going to leave it very pretty. The You tuber was just lucky his damage was mostly on the bottom.
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldiron2 View Post
    Assuming you can get into that area, I think putting a 4 x 4 inside and two 2 x 4's outside, all parallel to each other and on both sides of the corner nearest the damage, then gradually clamping them together (in steps), would be the best way to start. That way, you're straightening both sides at the same time. Make the boards as long as will fit and modify the boards or method to accommodate what you have. Use a press (or build a wooden cage and use a hydraulic jack)if you can't use clamps.
    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    Hydraulics would be great, but I can't imagine he'll be able to get in there with drawer slides etc. in the way. I have autobody jacks that might get in there, but I doubt the OP would have those on hand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldiron2 View Post
    That may be true; once again we only got a few close-up pictures showing the bent area, not the whole situation. That said, I still think pressure or hammering with wood is better than the weld-on bolt idea, the type and shape of damage considered.
    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    Oh, I agree.... if he's putting a plywood top on it, and the damaged part is to the back, it's just a question of how pretty you need it to be. Burning things up and drilling holes isn't going to leave it very pretty. The You tuber was just lucky his damage was mostly on the bottom.
    It's a small cabinet, here's another pic. 26" tall, 11" wide, 16" deep.



    I don't have the tools to clamp as @Oldiron2 suggested. I would prefer a less invasive method than welding a bolt on . . . I do have a car jack and a farm jack, maybe I could rig something up with blocks of wood. Could also try hammering with a 2x4 between the sheet metal and hammer.

    I am putting a plywood top on it, but since I'm putting a heavy drill press on top, I wanted to get the cabinet back to dimensionally square-ish.

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Sort of looks like an old side cabinet, that would have bolted onto the side of a fullsize roll away.
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    Sort of looks like an old side cabinet, that would have bolted onto the side of a fullsize roll away.
    Ima thinking with a heavy drill press on top, that cabinet may have a serious diagonal racking problem. Maybe I'm wrong.

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    80lb. bench top? "Should " take it.... maybe... it's not a very hefty cabinet... I've stood on short filing cabinets and I'm just under 180...

    To straighten it, I think I would lay it on it's back on a sheet of plywood, set a 2x6 on the dent in that top corner, take the jacking part off your jackall, and mash the 2x6 down by hitting the top of the jackall with a BFH. If it won't take the weight of you working on it, you might end up adding angle irons to the corners and painting them anyway.
    Last edited by whtbaron; 07-02-2022 at 04:38 PM.
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    only 26" tall? what size casters you
    plan on using?

    a drill press should be on a surface around 36"tall or higher
    Last edited by Lis2323; 07-02-2022 at 05:24 PM.
    :

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    Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Also if you use that cabinet as planned you should increase the footprint. 11x16 is kinda scary to be rolling around a DP


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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    I realize this is nothing like you were planning but perhaps your drill press would be better on a stable bench and when you get your side cabinet straightened out you could just use it for mobile storage.

    I use mine for drill bits and a drill press accessory table.










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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Quote Originally Posted by 12V71 View Post
    Ima thinking with a heavy drill press on top, that cabinet may have a serious diagonal racking problem. Maybe I'm wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    80lb. bench top? "Should " take it.... maybe... it's not a very hefty cabinet... I've stood on short filing cabinets and I'm just under 180...
    Thanks guys. Yeah, it would probably be fine. But I have another use for the cabinet, so I think I'll build a cart for the drill press that way I won't have any doubts about safety.

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    To straighten it, I think I would lay it on it's back on a sheet of plywood, set a 2x6 on the dent in that top corner, take the jacking part off your jackall, and mash the 2x6 down by hitting the top of the jackall with a BFH. If it won't take the weight of you working on it, you might end up adding angle irons to the corners and painting them anyway.
    That's exactly what I did - 2x4 and hammer, alternated between hammering the dent outward and hammering the bulge back down. Got it 80% of the way there and calling it good. Glad I don't have to paint!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    only 26" tall? what size casters you
    plan on using?

    a drill press should be on a surface around 36"tall or higher
    The casters would have added 3", plus another 1.5" in plywood, so ~30" tall surface for DP. That DP is 35" tall, and is currently on a 36" bench. Useable, but I'd like it several inches lower.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    Also if you use that cabinet as planned you should increase the footprint. 11”x16” is kinda scary to be rolling around a DP
    For sure. The plan was to make the caster frame such that the casters would be outside the cabinet's footprint.

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    I realize this is nothing like you were planning but perhaps your drill press would be better on a stable bench and when you get your side cabinet straightened out you could just use it for mobile storage.

    I use mine for drill bits and a drill press accessory table.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    I love it!

    Did you put the casters on that, or did it come that way? I guess those casters are bolt on, not threaded/stem casters?

    I guess you made that material support stand on the back of the cabinet? That's sweet! Any chance you have a thread on that build?

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    Re: Beating dented cabinet back into shape?

    Quote Originally Posted by goggins View Post
    I love it!

    Did you put the casters on that, or did it come that way? I guess those casters are bolt on, not threaded/stem casters?

    I guess you made that material support stand on the back of the cabinet? That's sweet! Any chance you have a thread on that build?
    bolt on casters. no thread on the build. just look at the pics and wing it. you'll probably come up with improvements
    :

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