Monday, July 11, 2011

Ikea hack

Down in the basement, I have a metal rack. Originally, I set it up to hold banana boxes, which are like crude drawers. Many times I've thought to myself how nice it would be to have some real drawers in the rack - to supplement the heavy, clumsy banana boxes.

Now, for a number of years I've been storing some EFFEKTIV metal drawer kits from Ikea. These kits have three drawers each and come in two widths - one I will call "full width" and the other "half width". Awhile back (at least a year ago) I opened one of the full-width kits and lost the cardboard box it was in. Since then it has been a thorn in my side. I don't know how many times I've moved it from one place to another. Yesterday, I was cleaning and organizing the basement when I had an epiphane. It occurred to me that I could install that full-width kit in the metal rack!

The kits are just the metal components plus the drawer bottoms. Here is what the kit looks like assembled (third drawer not shown): 

Note there are no drawer fronts, nor is there any cabinet to put the unit in. Remember, this is from the "surplus" department.

First I made side panels to fit the rack. The rack is slightly wider than the drawer unit, so I added some strips of wood to the panels. This effectively moves the drawers inward (towards the center of the rack) so they clear the metal L-profiles:

Then I installed the rollers. Left side done:

Test fitting the right-side bracket:
 Here I'm countersinking pilot holes for wood screws, which will be used to attach the narrow vertical boards to the side panel.
 Here I'm testing a drawer to see if it fits right:

Since these drawers are down in the basement, they don't need to win any beauty contests. I'm building the entire project from natty pieces of scrap, and that includes the drawer fronts. The fiberboard bottom is a bit under 3mm thick, so all it took was one pass on the table saw to make the slot that it fits into.

The Ikea cabinet that this drawer kit was made to go into was obviously a particle-board deal, because the screws that came with it are "Euro screws", which look something like this:

 These are made for particleboard, but they work fine in solid wood, too, provided the pilot hole is drilled right. I used a 4.5mm drill. When I was doing the last drawer front, I found that the board was slightly cracked right where I needed to put the Euro screw. That would surely have caused the crack to widen, and the screw wouldn't hole. So I used a trick I learned a long time ago - put masking tape over the crack, leaving spaces every centimeter or so. Then hold the glue nozzle tightly to the board over the gap and squeeze the glue bottle. The glue has nowhere to go except into the crack. Well, some glue escaped. . . but through the masking tape you can see the glue that does go in.

After the glue dried, I finally finished the job:
Completed "Ikea hack" drawer unit

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