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Monday, July 30, 2012

Installing a Microwave Oven in 210 Days: Part 3

"C'mon little shelf, now don't be shy,
Momma's gonna make you go bye-bye."

After breakfast, my wife prepared the area by banging out the nails that had held the shelf’s 1”x2” support blocks into the cabinets.  Thankfully, they all came out nicely.  Unfortunately, she also discovered that the shelf dug into each cabinet via a dado.  We couldn’t tell how deep each dado was, so I used a hammer and a piece of wood to try to bang the shelf out.  But all my careful banging accomplished was to create fracture lines in the shelf.  So I wouldn’t be able to reuse the shelf.  Using my jigsaw, I cut the board in two places, and my wife removed the pieces.  We’d need to buy another board and cut it to size, but hey, the people at Home Depot need to keep their jobs, right?

After removing the shelf, we set the microwave on its rear support tabs and pressed it back against the wall.  Then we drew a line along the cabinets and wall to give us a sense of where the top of the microwave would be.  As it turned out, we only needed an additional quarter inch of height, but because the dado had been routed into the outside of each cabinet, we would need to set the shelf above the dado, or 5/8” higher. 

After setting the microwave back atop the stove, we debated on the best way to support the new shelf.  The best solution might have been to widen the dado the needed ¼”, but that would necessitate taking down the cabinets.  So we cleaned up and headed off to lunch, run more errands, and consult the experts at Home Depot.  There, we found a piece of melamine that just needed ¾” ripped off, but the man working in the lumber area explained that his saw couldn’t rip it to size for us unless I bought a board twice as wide.  We would need to make the cuts ourselves.  We also studied various options for supporting the new shelf in the hardware aisles, and picked out three different types of metal brackets. 

When we returned, we studied the various brackets, and determined the best location for each.  We made our measurements, drilled our pilot holes, and installed the brackets.  I know this doesn’t sound like a lot of work, but it was time consuming, as we had to guess at the best weight distribution areas, and where the bottom of the shelf would sit, as the bottom of each bracket would sit below the bottom of the board.  As each bracket was different, this proved a challenge.  (Of course, we hadn’t bought enough of the right kind of screws, so we scrounged from past supplies).  

David does his best Vanna White impression.
(Note our wide selection of brackets!)

After all this, it was time for dinner.  We were exhausted, and we had plenty more work ahead before we could install our over-the-stove microwave.  So we warmed up yesterday’s pizza in our old countertop microwave, and enjoyed dinner and a movie. 

Tonight’s selection: “Dr. No,” the first James Bond film.  While the villain’s island compound gets destroyed in the end, it had boasted numerous architectural features.  If he could build such a place, the least we could do was install a microwave oven.  As for building the facilities to house our own nuclear reactor, that project would have to wait for another day. 

Tired, but with the end in sight,
Dragon Dave

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