Friday, November 22, 2013

Kitchen assembly, day 1

My day began today unloading the kitchen from the Hilux and sorting out what was what. I should have counted the cut pieces as I unloaded them - there must be close to a hundred individual bits, many of which are not labelled in any way. The ones which are labelled are just scribbled in pencil with things like "600 unit side".

Now I designed this thing, and I have no idea where the "600 unit" goes :)

So it took a couple of hours to get it all of the ute and into the house, sorted into their more-or-less-correct locations and groups. Then the game of Tetris began :)

The first and most obvious place to start was the bathroom vanity. Just about all of the parts for that have the word "vanity" scribbled on them somewhere, so I managed to find all those bits and lumped them together. I did manage to find two identical pieces labelled "vanity back" ... now I'm pretty sure I only need one back panel, but I'll keep an open mind until I come to put it together.

So with a little assistance from someone who is clearly better at Tetris than I am, I undertook a process of elimination and began with the most obvious panels - the two corner unit bases - and built around them.

After piecing the jigsaw puzzle together temporarily it began to become apparent what the different units are. There's the left and right corner unit, against the wall underneath the window; the mysterious "600 unit" next to that; and the equally mysterious "900 unit" beside that, which will house the drawers.

So with the bulk of the pieces identified, I began the process of assembling each unit individually, starting with the right-hand corner unit.

The last time I put a kitchen together (over 10 years ago! How time flies!) we made up a timber plinth out of MDF offcuts upon which to rest the cupboard carcasses. in order to generate a perfectly level platform. Thankfully we've moved on from that method and the cabinetmaker supplied these fantastic adjustable feet instead. Much, much easier to work with!

The only problem is that the "kick" board is 150mm high, and these feet will only just go to 140mm high. So I've needed to screw a piece of scrap ply to each foot to gain the extra height.

Right-hand corner unit in position and perfectly levelled
Being the first one I'm putting together, naturally I missed a couple of things. First and foremost I neglected to screw in the middle shelf.. so it had to come back out again for that. Then after I put it back into position and re-levelled it I realised I hadn't attached the top rail either, so out it came again...

Having learned my lesson with the first corner unit, this time I completely assembled the second before attempting to put it into position. But this time I made my first real mistake - I measured the position of the sink waste against the adjacent cabinet, and transferred those measurements onto the base of the second but without allowing for the width of the cabinet end piece. So my hole is in the wrong place by 15mm...

This is where improvisation comes in :) I enlarged the hole a little with a file, and then using my favourite improv tool the ratchet strap, put some tension on the pipe to bend it over enough to slide the cabinet down over the top. It took a little fiddling, but it finally went into position.

Two units down!

So far I'm quite impressed with the cabinetmaker's precision. Given that I supplied them one 3D rendering of the kitchen with a few basic dimensions and said "here, build this" they appear to have done an excellent job. Everything so far is slotting into position exactly where it should be.

Next up, the "600 unit". Compared to the corner units, this one was a breeze to put together.

Then the 900-wide drawer unit. Again, very easy to put together.

Next up, fitting the drawers. A little careful measuring and fitment of the runners:

.. and voila, it's a drawer :)

So far so good.


At this point I reached for the drawer fascia pieces, only to discover that they're quite a lot taller than the spacing at which I've mounted the drawers. I really should have checked that earlier...

It seems that the top front rail of this cabinet is intended to be mounted horizontally, not vertically as I've installed it (in line with the other units). This means my drawer spacing is all wrong and I'm going to have to detach this whole unit from the one next to it to get at the screws for the rail, reposition that and then remove and reposition each of the drawer rails.

Tomorrow. It's dinner time :)

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