Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Base Cabinet Repair

I have a lot more to share with you from my weekend in Exmoor but for the next couple of days, I’d like to steer away from that to catch up with a few other goings-on in my home.

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Quite recently, I spent a few hours one afternoon attempting to repair the base cabinet in my kitchen, which was sagging by the best part of an inch! You can see, at the back of this photo, where the base has dropped away from the thin back panel.

This is another one of those jobs where it’s not one of my responsibilities, as a tenant. But, with what I had available, it felt it was again something I could fix quite easily and without too much hassle.

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I’d thought about making three pairs of large, folding wedges and brutally hammering them in to place. Not only would this noise disturb my neighours but with a water heater and lots of plumbing under the sink, I was concerned that this approach could disturb or even damage something (this kitchen was fitted by Cowboys, after all).

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So, I came up with an idea to create these ‘wooden jacks’, using scraps of 3x2in from work, an M10 coach bolt for each set of blocks with corresponding nuts and washers (which I already have ‘in stock’). The basic idea is that you secure the bolt through the wider face of one block with a nut. Another nut sites above that and beneath a second block, with a slightly larger hole drilled down through its edge.

By unwinding the second nut, you effectively push the two blocks apart and reduce the sag in the bottom shelf.

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I approached the task with care and trepidation; making small adjustments to each jack as a whole, as opposed to trying to raise one up to its finished height and then individually set the others to suit, which could have put too much strain on the chipboard shelf. I placed two jacks in the middle (front and back) to eliminate the worst of the sag and decided that only one was needed at each end. On the right, that one is sat directly beneath the load of the water heater.

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It was quite filthy underneath and before I started. So, I first took a few minutes to vacuum out all that I could.

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It really didn’t take me long to get this repair complete:

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I was able to pop most of the back panel in to the groove but as it’s in a bit of a state anyway, I decided not to worry too much. The real benefit here, is that I’m now able to store this in this space without them immediately sliding to the back of the cupboard!

While I was down on my knees, I decided to take a look at what else might be lurking behind the other plinths:

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A cigarette butt, tissue, some old lino…

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Best of all though, was this Nike trainer sat on top of a square of kitchen worktop!!

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Perhaps one day, I’ll uncover the other shoe inside a stud wall or something. I can only wonder to what part of the construction of this flat the laces were use for.

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I’d also found a folded scrap of sandpaper stuffed down beside the water heater. Was this supposed to be some form of packing? If not, why didn’t they just sweep it behind the plinths along with the rest of their rubbish?

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I’ve also begun making an 18mm plywood shelf that’ll add to the storage space. With the water heater in place, I’m unable to use a full width shelf and I can only imagine that the “tradesmen” who installed these units only saw fit to throw it in the bin.

Thanks for reading. I hope that the main focus of this post provides hope and inspiration to someone.

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3 responses to “Base Cabinet Repair

  1. Bob Pendleton 04/07/2015 at 20:53

    Hello, Olly. I do like your jacks. I wonder whether one stiff board under the ‘floor’ of the cabinet would have worked with fewer jacks? On a not very closely related issue my new shed was rather carelessly erected leaving the back wall about 1½” out of plumb. Geting it right involved locating and cutting the nails holding the roof down, jacking up the roof with a car jack on the floor supporting a stout fence post under the roof, pulling the rear wall in with a rope between two G-gramps on the front and back frames, and refixing the whole with screwed-in ‘L’ brackets. Leaving things as they were would have meant that no shelf along the bowed wall would fit leaving a nasty gap for things to fall down. Somewhat tiresome to execute but so satisfying when it’s done – like your cupboard. Well done! Bob

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