Thursday, January 23, 2014

Revisiting The Dumb: false drawer front panels

Recall that there exists and all-pervading force in the Universe called The Dumb which constantly seeks to exert itself.  It commonly manifests in the design of mass-manufactured products.  You know those fake panels in front of sinks that look like drawers but are actually just fake panels?  Yeah, those.  Those are surrounded by a huge and infectious cloud of Dumb.

The first thing I did when I got the keys to my house was to walk around and do a thorough inspection of everything.  I opened up every closet and cabinet and drawer.  And, of course, when I got into the kitchen and approached the false drawer panel in front of the sink, I succumbed to The Dumb.  I pulled the darn thing right off.  I knew it wasn't a drawer, but I still yanked on the drawer pull that was on it and ripped it out.

Further inspection of the panel showed me that it was actually supposed to open (so having a drawer pull on it wasn't necessarily completely Dumb). It was supposed to pivot out from the top so you could store sponges in a little pocket inside.  Dumb Number One: Eeew!  Why would you store sponges in an enclosed plastic pocket that would get all slimy and where you can't reach them when you need them?  Dumb Number Two: The springs on the pivot mechanism were too strong for the particleboard that makes up the panel, which is why the mounting screws just ripped right out of it. Dumb Number Three: The panel wasn't mounted using all the screw holes anyway.

Dumb reduction - false drawer front panel installed
I tried to put the thing back together and remount it, but the particleboard was too damaged to put the screws back in.  I tried epoxying it, but it didn't hold.  So, I decided to forgo the spring pivot mechanism and mount it permanently in place.  I didn't want the Dumb sponge pocket anyway.  I tried to use L brackets or corner brackets, but there wasn't enough space to reach a drill up between the sink and the panel, so that didn't work.  I went to both Home Depot and Lowes to ask for what hardware I should use to mount the stupid thing, and nobody at either store had anything useful to say.  Some internet research finally yielded the way to do it right.  They make some little plastic clips that you glue or screw to the panel.  They flex enough to pop the panel into place, and the catch holds them against the counter.  I have no idea why they don't carry these at home improvement stores or why their employees don't know about them.  It seems like something everyone with a kitchen would need at some point.
Sponge holder

Anyway, once I got my clips in the mail, I stuck them on and popped the thing in place in about 15 minutes.  No more hole in my cabinetry!  Oh, and I have a little wire rack sponge holder that sticks inside my sink with suction cups.  My sponge can dry out in the open air, and it doesn't leave a puddle next to the sink when I set it down.

1 comment:

  1. Now you need a neat little sign that states, "Do not try to open" so that someone does not try to open the false drawer and rip your plastic mounting clips clear through the particleboard. Particleboard is one of the worst materials invented by man: it is heavy, weak, vulnerable to water, and can't be reused.