Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Project: The Freezer Lid Hook

Sometimes you make things to improve how something works, other times you make things to fix something that isn't working the way it should.

At my parents house, they have a very old 'deep freeze' unit that has a hinged lid. The hinges on the lid at one time (must have been before my time) held the lid open. But I never remember them working.

Years upon years my Mother complained that she couldn't sort the freezer because she always had to hold the lid with one hand, and try to bend down and sort the frozen goods with the other.

Since I've been doing some odd repair jobs around her house, I chose to fix this problem for her.

I started out by sketching the design on my new favorite paper - the Square Cross Grid.

And then cut my 'to scale' designs out with a hobby knife and a ruler...

I transferred the lines out onto some cabinet-grade plywood (I think it's oak plywood, but I'm not sure, they are reclaimed scraps) and took the work outside with a jigsaw, and carefully cut out the pieces. I didn't take photos of this process, because I forgot, but also because it would have been difficult. I then had to sand them to their final size.

(Above: Looks safe, right?)

Once the parts were shaped and sanded, I did a dry fit, and got to gluing and clamping. My tiny Bessey clamps were perfect for this, they also kept my knuckles out of the belt sander. Still, they're expensive for what they are.

Once the glue dried, I did another check of the fit.

(Above: A 1/4" dowel will make a good, strong pivot)

Now it was time to drill the mounting holes for the bracket to attach it to under the cabinets. I also drilled a shallow hole with a Forstner bit to flush-mount a rare earth magnet. (More on that later)

In order to get the rare-earth magnet to stay put, I had to lightly sand the back of it, and brought out the epoxy. I'm going to have to buy a larger quantity of two part epoxy eventually. Those little tubes are expensive.

After the epoxy dried, I tested out the fit of the parts, and tested out the screws. I pre-drilled pilots, and well, they were too small. I ended up boring out the holes to the same size as the screws so they would fit loose. Makes for mounting it easier.

After checking the lid and the hook for positioning and making sure there was no interference when opening the lid past the hook, I secured it in place. I then added a #6 screw to meet up with the magnet, to keep the hook in the 'up' position when not in use.

(Above: you can barely see the small screw that meets with the magnet)

And now, the freezer lid can stay up, and my Mom can use both hands to get at all those frozen goods. No risk of the lid banging her in the head, that hook is very secure. It's not the prettiest piece, but the whole thing took me about 25 minutes to build (excluding drying time)...

I left it unfinished, because really, it doesn't need to be pretty... the only thing I might do is take it back off, and give it one last sanding, just to clean it up and make it look a tiny bit nicer. In the end, my Mom is happy. I might re-design a second version eventually, but this will do the trick until then.

As always, thanks for reading!