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Thread: Quick Hack - add drawers to the microwave stand

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario

    Quick Hack - add drawers to the microwave stand

    More that twenty years ago, my father built a microwave stand for me, when I moved out of the house. Back then in the late 80s, microwaves were still pretty new, just beginning to become mainstream. They were large, and usually brown. So my dad built me a pretty typical (for the time) dark oak stand. There were cabinets down below, a pair of drawers, and a little bit of open "counter" space, and then the microwave mounted on a shelf up above.

    Twenty years later we're still using the same microwave. I had to replace a fuse once, but otherwise it still just keeps ticking along. Same with the stand. It still is solid and functional.

    But one thing that has been grating on us the past few years is the open counter space under the microwave. The way our house is arranged, the stand is tucked just out of the main kitchen area, and this open counter tends to collect clutter. I'd like to blame the kids, but I'll just say that "someone" just keeps stashing stuff there "for a moment", and before you know it there is a pile of junk pushed back in there.

    What I'm finding is that open shelves tend to be the messiest form of storage in a home with an active family. Lately I am far more a fan of drawers and cabinets for storage in all areas of the house.

    So we hit on the idea of closing up the space and fitting in a pair of drawers. Just a basic pair of drawers were called for, this was functional basic furniture. It was a simple matter to remove the shelf in the back and fit a pair of panels into the opening, to square up the side set-back. Some hardwood runners were also glue and nailed into these panels, for the drawers.

    Attachment 46058 Attachment 46059

    Next I built a couple of drawers to fit on these runners. These are both from scrap wood laying around the shop. If you think the sides look extra thick, that is because they were mostly built from some 2x pine waterbed frames that I pulled out of the trash one day. The wood was free, nice and light, and thick enough to take a dado for these drawer runners and still have plenty of strength left over.

    The front of the drawers is a veneer of 1/4" red oak plywood, stained to match the microwave stand.

    One thing we thought to provide is a pull-out shelf to hold the occasional pot or spoon as we moved dishes into and out of the microwave. This is the simplest thing -- it is just a big board that slides on the old counter top. A few hardwood strips on the inserted plywood sides (see the first photos above) keep it from tipping up.

    It's pretty large, at nearly 25" square. Since I needed to glue up some stock anyway, I decided to get creative. The majority of it is some soft maple. In between, I glued in strips of cherry, and in the center was a leftover piece of red African Padauk from another project. Gives it a fancy touch, I think.

    And that's about it. Hopefully this gives us lots of good service and helps keep down the clutter.

    Attachment 46060 Attachment 46061
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Indianapolis area
    Nice update Art! I like the shelf; it gives a little pizazz to it. That's definitely something to keep just because of its sentimental value.


    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    That looks like it'll work just fine, Art. My parents had a similar (if not the same) microwave years ago, back when a microwave oven cost a couple or more week's worth of paychecks.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    great update Art
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    thankyou art.

    sometimes I feel people lose touch with what building furniture and woodworking is all about for alot of us.

    Functional, making life simplier, obvious, need, and not always about dovetails or joinery, or exotic finishes that take hours of hand rubbing or polishing.(Im not saying beautiful pieces like this arent special)
    You didnt complicate a simple issue. You solved a problem with a simple solution and a little creative woodworking.
    This is part of woodworking I enjoy the most. Dont have to buy someone 's plans, copy someone elses style, just make what you needed to make and make it work along with fitting in nicely.(clapping hands icon)
    Last edited by allen levine; 06-07-2010 at 12:43 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    My parents had a similar (if not the same) microwave years ago, back when a microwave oven cost a couple or more week's worth of paychecks.
    Yeah, this one (from sears, Kenmore, but likely made by Phillips?) actually came with a couple evenings of free cooking classes, which my parents attended, and learned all about cooking with microwaves. Then they bought their own.
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

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