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wdwerker

Modifying a refrigerator surround cabinet.

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Being good at fixing things comes with years of experience and I think you have that covered.   Nice work.

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Thanks for all the kind words ! 

Sounds like Tom has bad luck with refrigerators. I bought a new fridge in 1989 when I bought my house. Had to replace it a few years ago.  I had to remove the trim & frame from a cased opening to get the old one out & new one in. It kinda surprised me. I didn't remember having to do it for the first one.  

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Great solution, Steve. We had to remove an overhead cabinet above the new refrigerator due to clearance issues. Ended up cutting the cabinet down a bit on the table saw. It worked, but I still need to modify the doors... a year later. :P

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At least refrigerators keep getting lighter, and roll easier on their wheels.  Our first one probably weighed 250 lb., and this latest one might weigh 45, so as I get older, they get easier to move, fortunately.  Sort of like TV's.  They've about figured out how to make TV's out of nothing.

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There's a refrigerator, I think made in the early '50's in a house we worked on a few years ago, that still works great.  Our newest one, that was bought a couple of years ago, has had a repairman come work on it four times.  I think they finally replaced every moving part in it before it started working for any length of time.  Warranty covered the frig, but not all the food we lost several times.

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One afternoon, my Wife said she heard a strange loud pop noise that came from the kitchen and later smelled something funny in the house. She said she couldn't figure out what it was.  That evening we discovered the fridge quit working after 10 years. So in the car we go to look at new fridges (figured it was cheaper to buy new than to repair :P plus she wanted a new fridge). 

Long story short, after coming back from the appliance store, I was looking at the back of the fridge, I could see an access panel had a black smoke streak off the edge of it.  Well,well,well, there was a circuit board that failed. 

A trip to the maytag parts store and $25.00 later it was fixed. Pissed of Wife, happy husband. :D:D

 

-Ace-

  

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A friend of mine had a refrigerator that was displaying an error code of EF.  I told him to tell the repair guy that it was saying that it was EFed up.

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This post brings back memories. When we built the house, the wall the fridge is on was just barely big enough for the fridge cabinet. When it was time for a new fridge, the one we just had to have was about an inch wider. So I did what Steve did to the upper cabinet, but then the side panel stuck out past the passage into the kitchen & that had to be made an inch narrower. But that was alright cause it was plenty wide to start with.

Now that drywall work was involved, I decided to build that wall another 6" thicker to allow the fridge front to be flush with the cabinets. Talk about a project snowballing, but it was worth it.

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34 years ago I bought the house that we live in, knowing that the "built-in-place" kitchen cabinets were not going to fit the modern ovens, range tops, and refrigerators of that day. So either the entire kitchen would need to be completely replaced, or I could figure out how to modify what was there.  All of the kitchen is knotty pine, and it turns out that the finish on the cabinets is actually just several coats of orange shellac.

I have increased the size of the refrigerator opening, moved the oven to an under counter style in a different location, and bought a replacement oven almost twice the original size, then replaced the original oven location with a 3 drawer cabinet, then added a dishwasher,  and increased the range top size to add a 5 burner top. The entire 38' of counter top was also replaced. Each time that a modification was made to the kitchen cabinets, several coats of Zinser Orange Shellac was applied to the new work, and everything, both new and old, matches in appearance perfectly. The doors and the drawer faces of these original cabinets were made from 3/4 knotty pine veneer plywood, and I was able to locate and purchase two sheets of this plywood from a local lumber yard. Since few lumber yards existed in this area, when the house was originally built, they were the likely source for the original cabinet materials as well as the lumber that the house was built from. We now have a custom built-in-place, but modern kitchen that is about 2/3 original and 1/3 new, but it all matches perfectly and looks great.  I doubt that any of the newer cabinet lines and finishes would look this good after such an extensive modification. I'm extremely happy with how easy the shellac finish can be repaired and even duplicated on new work. .This was all much easier than I had expected when I first bought the house.

Charley   

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I did some similar work on my grandmothers kitchen. Knotty pine ply and we replaced the wall oven with a drop in stove and built doors to turn the old opening into a pantry. Matching & modifying newer cabinets is much more complicated.

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But a fridge from 40 years ago might still be running, while the one I bought 2 years ago probably won't last a decade

Example- Our heat pump is the original- still going after 40+ years.  My son had to replace his heat pump that, for some reason, got fried.  They had an electrical storm but cool weather didn't cause it to cooperate for several days.  If it had gone kaput right after the storm, he could have claimed lightning strike, according to the AC guy.  His was about 10 years old.  The AC guy said not they don't last more than 7-10 years.  Built in obsolescence.

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Some of the new AC units do get much higher efficiency. I wonder if the shorter life factored in still makes the higher efficiency worth it?

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Some of the new AC units do get much higher efficiency. I wonder if the shorter life factored in still makes the higher efficiency worth it?

Uuhhh, No. Saving $17 per year in electricity doesn't come close to replacing a $2k fridge every 10 years.

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I think the relevance is in considering how cased units change over time. A little planning with refrigerator cabinets can save some or add to headaches down the road. I don't see AC in cases, but the principle is not nearly so far off as some:-) Thanks for sharing Steve. 

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