We have various scraps of wood in the garage, so we made use of bits of Supawood, SA pine and chipboard planks. We also used standard 8 x 35mm chipboard screws, a square to ensure the accuracy of angles, cold wood glue and paint. The visible frame and face of the drawer are made out of 22mm-wide planks of Supawood, mainly for consistency and for the neat finish it provides in the finished item. Supawood is easy to paint and work with.
There’s almost never enough space in a kitchen, despite the diversity of appliances available.
Clifford Roberts and woodworker Andries Eygelaar reveal how to solve this dilemma
The design of modern appliances has evolved to cater for an array of lifestyle requirements – big or small. In our case, however, a small fridge we acquired was adequate for the limited space available, but impractically short. The solution we came up with not only raised the fridge to a more accessible level, but also made it easier to move this heavy appliance and provided additional storage space.
The project involves the making of a squat little compartment of wood that houses a single, deep drawer. It is made to take the weight of the fridge. At its base, hidden from view, are four castors that allow the assembly to be wheeled easily. This facilitates moving the fridge for cleaning, servicing or to get to something that may accidentally have fallen and rolled into what is usually a fairly dirty and inaccessible crevice.
Considering the variety of appliances available, it is important to first determine the ideal height to raise the fridge. Also avoid injury and unnecessary potential damage to the appliance by making sure the construction is not so high that it becomes top-heavy and unstable.
Start the project by establishing the dimensions – the width and length are determined by the base of the appliance. Ideally, the box should be slightly larger, thereby allowing the fridge to sit comfortably. The base of our fridge measures 490 x 545mm. We built the box to measure 520 x 560mm and a height of 270mm.
The sides of the frame should be solid and connected by a solid upper surface plank upon which the appliance will stand. To complete the frame, four planks are attached at the base – two in front and two at the back, each pair joined in an L-shape. In addition to providing support for the runners and the drawer itself, the horizontal plank of each pair is used to secure the castor wheels. The width of this plank must allow for the size of your particular castor. Ours measured 50mm. The second plank in each pair serves to hide the castor. When cutting this plank to size, make sure there’s a clearance between its base and the floor of about 6mm.
It’s important that your levels and heights are correct and square as the operation of some appliances is affected if they do not stand perfectly level.
We cut the planks to shape and joined them using wood glue and the chipboard screws. There are many different ways of joining two planks at right angles – we used a very simple straight joint, which doesn’t involve much technical skill at all. It may be obvious to some, but always drill guide holes for your screws, which you can also grease with soap for quick and easy insertion.
The dimensions of the drawer will be determined by the size of the box you’re building and your specific requirements. While we opted for a single drawer, you could well create a double cavity or simply an open shelf for, say, your collection of cookbooks.
The drawer simply comprises four sides of chipboard planks and a base made of hardboard and fixed in place with panel pins. We then affixed an additional front panel of Supawood, carved a design to mimic the rest of the kitchen cupboards and attached a fancy knob.
The runners for the drawer we purchased at our local hardware store – they come in a diverse variety of styles and colours. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, and cheap runners may wear out quickly and not provide the smooth operation you were hoping for. Once done, we used a universal undercoat and painted the box and drawer in our choice of colour.
The finished product blends in well with the rest of the kitchen, makes a very useful addition to storage space and allows for even easier access to the fridge.