READ ALL IN GREEN BEFORE CONSIDERING THIS MODIFICATION......
AFTER I COMPLETED THIS PROJECT, WE WENT ON A 4 WEEK VACATION FROM HOME NEAR CHICAGO TO MONTANA/IDAHO/WASHINGTON. WHILE ON OUR TRIP, ON VERY RARE OCCASION THE DRAWERS WOULD OPEN UP ON VERY BUMPY HAIR-PIN MOUNTAIN SWITCHBACK TURNS IN THE ROAD WHICH EXCEEDED THE GRASP OF THE MAGNETIC CATCHES, OPENING THE DRAWERS WITH GREAT MOMENTUM. EVENTUALLY THE DRAWER TRACK STOPS BROKE WHICH RESULTED WITH THE DRAWERS ON THE FLOOR. THE LAST WEEK OF OUR TRIP, WE WEDGED OUR DINETTE CUSHIONS BETWEEN THE DRAWERS AND FRIDGE TO GUARANTEE THEY STAY CLOSED WHILE IN MOTION.
I SEEK A FRIENDLY WORKING LATCH SYSTEM.
Our five small galley base cabinet drawers never met our cooking storage needs, and we rarely utilized our pull-out butcher block counter. We were also annoyed having drawers behind a door. So, after 6 years I built up enough courage to do something about it. We now have plenty of cabinet storage for all cooking needs and more. My wife is "very" happy to have everything in one easy access location where she wanted it. This also opened space in other cabinets for other things.
Comparing "Before & After" space, here are the "square inch" totals of drawer bottom surface areas.
Original Five = 837 sq. in.
New Three = 1557 sq. in.
To make a fair comparison, I need to mention the original arraingement suspends the sliding flatware tray providing extra space underneath it. But for us, it was inconvenient limited-use space if you know what I mean.
Here is the original cabinet with 5 tiny drawers and the pull-out butcher block counter. Most PCs are this way, earlier ones are close to it. Admittedly it looks nice.
Here is the cabinet afterward with three full width, maximum depth drawers.
Here is a quick run-down on the project. There is so much more than implied. I don't consider this project easy at all. I wouldn't want to do it a second time. If you are seriously considering doing this with your PC, I have much more detail to offer.
I first removed the drawers and butcher block to evaluate the situation.
Note the copper gas line in the upper back left side.
I identified how much space behind the drawers was not utilized.
Convinced to continue, I gutted the cabinet interior and removed the front rails & styles.
Here were the obstacles I needed to consider in making the three new drawers as deep as possible.
1) black drain pipe with service cap (relocate it)
2) gas line for stove (relocate it)
3) the stove hangs down (work around it)
4) storage pocket for Corian stove & sink covers (work around it)
5) wiring in the way (re-clamp out of the way)
In this picture I had already bent the gas line partially out of the way
Determining The Height Of The Three New Drawers (Critical & Detailed)
If the top drawer was made low (shallow) as is commonly practiced in houses, the hanging stove would significantly limit usefulness. So I made the opening taller than normal, 6” tall.
The middle opening is 5” tall to clear a new sink drain flex hose to achieve maximum depth.
The bottom opening is 8” tall which is great for pots and pans. It stops just short of the flex sink drain hose making it a few inches less deep than the middle drawer.
With this all planned out in great detail, I then ordered three new appropriately sized drawer fronts and two new rails from Phoenix USA.
I rerouted the hard black drain pipe using flexible components clamped tight against the back wall to achieve maximum bottom drawer depth. The gas line got nicely bent out of the way. As seen here, the left interior wall was extended upward to mount the top drawer glide higher. Not seen, the rails have 1x2” across their back side for more strength and a place to mount drawers latches.
I bought these parts to reroute the drain. Home Depot was the only place that sold such large diameter 1/4" thick flex hose that works perfectly with this clamp-connecting approach.
Details About Depth
The top drawer clears both the hanging stove and Corian cover pocket by notching the right side and back.
The middle drawer is Full-Depth as there are no obstructions.
The bottom drawer is a few inches short of the back wall to clear the flex drain pipe.
Here are the three different drawer depths. Clearly visible is the top drawer notch work.
To reduce the sliding of contents while braking hard, we planned some compartments.
The top drawer is mainly assigned for the original PC utensil tray and related cooking utensils. Trays are held in place using carpet tape.
The middle drawer has a compartment for Corelle plates & saucers, another compartment for cups, and a third for miscellaneous.
The deep bottom drawer has a compartment (is hardly noticed in the picture) on the left side for tall mugs and cutting boards.
To finish the project, the drawers got their fronts with felt bumper pads. I went with snag-free handles throughout the base cabinet instead of the knobs which occasionally caught our clothing and knee caps.
The final touch were rubber drawer liners to reduce rattling of contents.
Here is what we store in our new drawers. I am sure we will optimize it on our first long trip.
Top Drawer - center tray is the original PC utensil tray
Middle Drawer - Corelle, kitchen linen, & food wrap
Bottom Drawer - pots & pans & misc with tall mugs & cutting boards on the side
After a weekend trip with the PC to Kentucky for a funeral, I determined my initial three catches, one roller type and two heavy duty magnetic type, wasn't doing the job of keeping the drawers closed on bumpy clover-leaf turns. So each drawer now has 5 heavy duty magnetic catches requiring a modest jerk/tug to open them..
Now that everything is 100% complete, it was a good time to determine what I could have done better/smarter.
1) The top drawer could have gotten by with 1" shallower height given just our utencils are stored there. I was concerned the stove might be a fire hazzard to items in the top drawer, but now think I might have been too paranoid.
2) The middle drawer could use that extra inch from the upper drawer. Considering the hanging magnetic catches, an extra inch would allow more flexibility as to what could be stored there.
3) All drawer walls should be 3/4" lower than their upper rails so all magnetic catches could be mounted more forward with the magnetic metal slugs screwed to the back side of the cherry finish drawer fronts instead of the inner light colored wall as illustrated in the picture just above. The deep bottom drawer was done that way only because I had limited width material on hand for that drawer, but it worked out to be the best setup of the three drawers.
I have no regrets, just thoughts of how I could do it a bit better a second time around.
I have driven the motor home to work and home a few times and so far all the loaded drawers are all staying closed on hard turns. We'll be going on a month long vacation with the five heavy duty magnetic catches per drawer. Hopefully my "drawers-flying-open" concerns are put to rest for good.