Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Properly installed IKEA island - part 2 OR What was wrong with AKURUM?

CHapter 1 - From my last e-mail;

Hi Richard,

Sorry, one last thing - I opened a set of legs - I wanted to see something - if you could not return them - I will pay you for them. I opened them because I wanted to see how they would perform in your situation - if you hired anyone else they would have very likely used them along with the 'stabilizing kit' - which in my opinion is not that great.

I expect to be in Oakville in near future, I could always pick them up then. I could always look at the slab too, see how it is sitting.

Also, based on my experience with this slab - since I make 'aftermarket parts for IKEA kitchens' I was considering making a set of L-rails predrilled for IKEA pattern that would allow for slab such as yours to be held down properly - would you be interested in an add-on like that? There is cool metal shop right next to my shop‎ - I would ask for a quote - this would be a prototype - if you decide to purchase then I will install it for you free - a test. I think it would be successful - and I will start offering it.

All best,

Studio Kosnik

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.


I am a sucker for my Blackberry - Q20 - it's easy to bang out e-mails like that. It's natural.

Chapter 2 - What was wrong with AKURUM?

This install actually got me thinking - what if Richard did not hire me, it would have been likely that whoever did the install would have used the IKEA legs - at about 6" high, they would be tipsy. 6" was not an arbitrary height, it was required to match the other side of the countertop height. My idea to start making custom bases for IKEA kitchens came out of the frustration of plastic legs snapping off during AKURUM installs - especially on tall pantries - 'it was pain in the a** to use them!'. Then it was only natural that when the first kitchen island came, and it was like 'how do I fix this thing to the floor now, so it don't wobble?' - and the plywood kicks were so easy, especially with plumbing or electrical, it was good fit. Once the parts were fabricated - with the use of adhesives - one part naturally reinforced the other, all components working together - it was easy to level - great deal of frustration was taken out of the process of installation. I had the AKURUM system nailed!

And then SEKTION happened. Now SEKTION did not happen arbitrarily. IKEA recognized that there was market for a well manufactured, mass produced, very affordable kitchen. They sold 7.7 million units previously and they are clearly going for a new record - everyone needs a kitchen. The renovation market is huge, why not advantage of it. SEKTION has completely new geometry - for me, who is a designer - I consider myself fairly experienced - I am still thinking about all the choice that IKEA made - IKEA does not make arbitrary choices - IKEA only makes profitable choices. Any difference between AKURUM and SEKTION are a direct result of an improvement of a weakness. Here is the list - there probably still will be things added to it, but these are my immediate thoughts:

A] Made in the USA. AKURUMS were also made in the US, but the print was tiny, and easy to miss, and no one at that time was mass producing cabinetry in China. But on SEKTION? Boy, when I saw that big, bold and printed on the back of the gables, for something that will never see the light of day except for few short hours as it is being put together; good choice of font; great contrast; clear and easy to read on what seems to be a sealed edge [I am actually quite curious as top that edge treatment - remember, I am new to SEKTION as well, just like you dear reader] - 'MADE IN THE USA!' it shouted. It's true there is a lot of cabinetry - cheap cabinetry being imported from places were labour is cheap and sourcing of materials is not as strict and regulated. Feel good about your purchase, you are supporting a strong AMERICAN economy! Although I bet that it is manufactured somewhere in the deep south - not the heart of Manhattan.

Remember NAFTA? Just for kicks, I will price out an identical kitchen in the USA - say New York City, Manhattan? - and than factor in pick up+delivery - and with the plunging plunging Canadian dollar, who knows...road trip! Through the Catskill's cheaper...we'd stop to swim in a river...haulin' IKEA SEKTION kitchen. I like long roadtrips - I would make it a good one - we'd have to shoot video. This is what the drive through Catskill Mountains looks like...

And if you are thinking, that this is outrages - I was once asked if I would consider doing an install in Buffalo, USA! There is no IKEA in Bufallo, the kitchen was purchased in Toronto, Canada and hauled over the border. I did not do it - yes, I would show up with a van full of tools, and I would have to explain to the American border agents that I am going to Buffalo to install cabintery, and I would be back in few days - I would promise them that...

So, 'Made in the USA', it is a purely psychological improvement - IKEA always made their kitchens for the North American market in North America.

B] that printed dotted line - also found on the back of the gables - it indicates 'nail along the line'. I bet that there were lots of missed nails, visibly popping through the sides - it happened to me too, couple of times - although I used a nailer.

C] the grooved gables + slide in backs - if you did not glue in your AKURUM back and put in an occasional screw, the humidity, the movement eventually cause for gaps to appear between the flexible, thin backs and the more rigid sides. Grooved design eliminated that. 

D] the MDF stretchers on AKRURUMS are now replaced with steel stretchers. They would occasionally snap - I always made a point of not lifting AKURUMS by the stretchers - sometimes I would add a plywood vertical strip to it - when it was possible to do so, for strength.


FIN [the end]