Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Properly installed IKEA island.

Chapter 1 - A nice IKEA kitchen island - properly installed. 

I am getting so many requests for a 'full-explanation' blog post on how I build my IKEA islands - from all over North America. 'Please write more'., 'provide illustrations'. I like the idea, but consider that it may take up to 36 hours to produce a proper e-book that would deal with the subject. And I would not call it a beginner's project - if you are having trouble assembling the SEKTION boxes, than you likely would find fabricating my kicks challenging. But I am considering it - I am not sure how much I would charge for such an e-book. And I would likely expand on more subjects - pertaining to what I call a 'better IKEA install'. 'IKEA does a good job - you make it better' - I should copyright that phrase.

Look - once the solid wood slab will be added, this thing is going to be like a rock! Here is something - the height of the wooden slab on the island was matched to that the existing granite slab. But, the height of the the existing garnite slab is atypical - it's higher - at that height I would advise against using the IKEA plastic legs - IKEA base cabinets are only 30" high. With my system, this was not an issue at all - it was set at the required height - that's flexibility. 

Here is my base all nice and leveled. The geometry and method of fabrication make the base act as a thick slab - it's very rigid. 

What is the easiest way to strengthen any project - on the cheap? Use adhesives - the right adhesives. Woodworking glue, silicone adhesives, polyurethane adhesives are inexpensive, and if properly used will provide superior performance  - I use adhesives liberally in all my work. This bottom cleat is screwed down to the floor but it is also bedded in an adhesive - it will make for a a very strong joint between dissimilar materials. 

And finally, even for smaller IKEA installs it is surprising the amount of equipment required to achieve superior execution. This is my setup - I have all the tools. Biggest chuckle I get is out of those IKEA instructions booklets showing a Philips screwdriver used for major assembly, ha ha ha! Put in that cordless drill! Be realistic at least!
I really love my minivan - the Dodge Grand Caravan will fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood flat, once the seats are folded into the floor - it is an excellent, very flexible work vehicle for me. I use it to haul from IKEA all the time. 

EDIT: Someone commented on my Grand Caravan. My Grand Caravan is awesome! If you live in the city of Toronto and spot a dark Grand Caravan with blue lights underneath - that's me! When I was in high school all the 'cool kids' had lights under their cars - and I was preparing for my 'engineering career', and I promised myself that one day I too will have a cool car with lights underneath. Now - years later... - someone's got to live the dream, right?  LOL.

Chapter 2  - Symmetry is beautiful

One of the greatest challenges when designing millwork is dealing with 'awkward dimensions'. What are 'awkward dimensions'? Well, so imagine a nice house. And that house has a very nice, big, spacious, bright, open, finished basement. What it also has are - windows, casings, doors, bulkheads, boxes, access points. How do you create a nice, coherent design in a 'chaotic space'. Creating symmetry is such space - using cabinetry - is very challenging. 

But I think I have succeeded. I am finishing sketching/resolving/brainstoming all the nitty-gritty details that were bothering me - it's an important step - for a really nice design. It will have a very luxurious feel - it's gonna be part IKEA hack - part custom built. It will have all the right design elements. It will look gorgeous. Check back, for the next update I should have some elevation sketches ready and be cutting into the Billy bookcases!