Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hacking Hemnes, Part 2

Hacking Hemnes

.... all the elements are falling into place now. 

I end the year with this beauty, a HEMNES hack, their solid wood series in whitewash finish. 

Leave it to IKEA to produce a quality product - solid wood panels. Craftsmen don't diss it, because both you and I know how expensive it is to design and build with solid wood. Leave to me produce a nice design and well crafted too. The clients opted to add a nice fabric on the back of the bookcases. I suggested to create an upholstered top moulding - to create a very rich design - the entire project has a very luxurious feel. The hardware on the desk is top quality, heavy, cast bronze. 

I took extra care with the fabric on the piece  - sourced at Ethan Allen - because of the tight pattern it was critical that backs and the crown moulding be carefully upholstered - the pattern had to match exactly on adjacent pieces. Look - 

But as much as I liked working with the solid wood, the best part of this project is the work surface - the desk. It's got a depth of only 24" at the corners, but it has got a slight curvature of +1" in the middle. It's perfectly symmetrical  [to ensure that symmetrical gentle sweep on all the work surfaces I fabricated 3 separate jigs!] and has a nice thickness, that mimics the vertical posts on the flanking bookcases. It has a very spacious feel - I wanna say it's like a deck of an aircraft carrier. It's clad in Italian ABET's super-matte laminate from their latest collection, that mimics lightly bleached wenge slab - I matched the grain [why not?]. I tell you - it's so spacious you will be able to land jets on that thing! Here - 

But you know how IKEA hacking is all about re-purposing and reusing parts of the system - whatever it may be? This is it

I made the doors for this upper unit out of the slab of the original desktop. That's right.

I first optimized the slab for largest doors that I could make out of it - the first door being right up to the grommet hole, and then I laid out the other set. Based on those dimensions I modified three AKURUM uppers to match.  For the cleanest look, I extended the doors past the bottom - leaving a nice overhang to to use for opening. It is crowned with a slab finished with the matching laminate. Awesome, smart design and the horizontally matched grain on the slab looks amazing. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

IKEA Virgins and the end of AKURUM

So this is what the end looks like, eh? At least here in Canada - so the good old AKURUM is going away. The old kitchens are being torn down, cabinetry sold 'as-is' at ridiculous prices. Inside scoop reveals that the official reveal in Toronto, Canada, will happen February 1st, 2015. 

The SEKTION is coming. That is IKEA's new kitchen system. The sales on AKURUM already started.

I will miss AKURUM -  I hacked it often. I was very comfortable using it.  Time to reminisce...Re-kindle the old memories...Time for a...>>>>

AKURUM eulogy

AKURUM was a good kitchen system. It was one of us - beautiful and functional. A creation of the IKEA designers - most likely many -  it anchored the lives of many families around the globe. Complemented by the RATIONELL system made by BLUM Austria,  it proved, to North Americans everywhere - in glitzy metropoliae [plural of metropolis]***; subdued sleepy suburbia, and small cheeky towns - cause people traveled far and wide to pick them up, those IKEA kitchens [even from Buffalo! which does not have an IKEA and why not? I speculated that it was done to prevent cross-border shopping. It would make sense to have gone across the border - and when the Canadian dollar was on par with the American dollar, buy a nice leather IKEA sofa and bring it across  - it came out to something like 20% off! But nah.... you had to go to all the way to New York City to pick one up. ]. 

AKURUM was my go-to box for hacking. It came in many size and several depths. It was matched with a very nice selection of well made doors to suit every taste and budget. The boxes were well fabricated and it was a no brainer to put them together. For the North American market they were made in the USA. They were also easy to improve upon - with my mods they made for a strong rigid box - it was perfect. When installing I would build my own kicks - for the ease of leveling and sturdiness of the project. It was a well made kitchen fir the masses - made affordable. 

AKURUM was made of particlecore - not MDF. Every time I read the review of the system, somewhere on the web, I always cringed at reading that - MDF - it meant that the review was not written by a professional.  Yes, some, very few, parts were made of MDF [and I am certain, that IKEA did that on purpose] - mainly stretchers. But all gables and tops+bottoms were particlecore. It was edged well - edged better than many cabinet shops that charge premium rate I know do.  The cabinetry was all 3/4" construction. End panels were 1/2". 

alsmost forgot:

IKEA Virgins  - a term coined by me and my wife in reference to people who are not familiar with the IKEA model - mainly getting trapped in the store. It has only been the last few years that IKEA made provisions, shortcuts, alternate route labeling to make their stores more navigatable to those not familiar with their store layout. 

IKEA stores are all about 'the experience' - the actual 'walk-through' - IKEA has made it their trademark that they make you walk through the entire store before exit. 

I like it though...

*** Nah, I made that up. That's not plural. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hacking Hemnes!

Chapter 1 - Hacking Hemnes!

I really like the IKEA Hemnes line - it's their solid wood line of everything from bed frames and bookcases to side tables and desks. My personal favourite is their white-wash finish - it's got that elegance and sophistication with just a hint of grain peeking through. 

Hacking Hemnes is challenging - my hacks are professional designer hacks. All the Hemnes hacks I've seen are just assembled pieces with baseboards thrown on. Yea, IKEA hackers won't take mine because, you know what?, mine are just too professional..... 

The one I am working on right now is just that. Here is the modified bookcase - commercial millwork standard - 

It's all modified, screwed, glued and assembled, waiting for the fabric that will go on the back. The white finish on the solid wood is so nice - it just shows off the grain enough. The legs were cut off to make room for the set back, custom kics. The plywood bottom rails were dado'ed and glued in [woodwroking term for strong joinery] into the legs, as they will carry the load down to the floor. 

Can't wait for the fabric!

Here are the kicks - 

3/4" exterior grade plywood, glued, nailed and screwed together. Made in one piece to ensure that the bookcases will sit level with the desk, and also stronger and easier to level. 

It is superior craftsmanship at its best. Can't wait for the fabric! It's gonna be so nice. 

Here are the desk pieces. Waiting for their action....

Nobody does such fancy hack work! Nobody!
My hacks are Designer Hacks!