• Home Improvement

    The IKEA-Hacker v.s. Effektiv Office Furniture

    So, a month ago, I went to my not-so-local IKEA to get some file cabinets. When I asked a sales person for assistance in building a custom order, he frowned and told me that IKEA is making some changes to their popular line of Effektiv office furnitures and that what I buy today may not fit the components coming out later in the year.

    That was not a problem for me. Because I did not intend to use these file cabinets as the designers at IKEA intended them to be used. See, I am an IKEA-hacker. I buy components from IKEA and build semi-custom furnitures. So I told the sales person that the redesign was not a problem and I welcome a challenge (well, I didn’t really say the second part).

    So we went through the order sheets and picked out the components to build four roll front file cabinets. But instead of making file cabinets out of them, I pocket joined them to each other to make a built-in closet wardrobe with roll front doors.

    I built a base and frame out of two-by-fours and attached them to the walls like regular cabinets. I drywalled the facade and caulked the seams (of course using GE’s Groov caulk). Papered all the inside corners, mudded and skim coated, primed, and finally painted it all to match the existing wall. The hardest part was lifting the damn thing into the space. The space between the left and right walls were narrower at the front than it was at the back. I thought I had a whole inch of clearance when there was only a 1/4 of an inch for my fingers. Thankfully, I remembered my “Simple Machines” from elementary school science, and used an inclined plane to push the cabinets into place.

    This might have been the most broad skill set I had to use on a project as a carpenter, woodworker, drywaller, and painter. I had planned three days for the project (to include drying time) but unfortunately, I fell ill and had to take a couple days off. But I came around and finished the job before a week had passed.

    At the end, the project cost was about $450 for materials and 16 actual hours of work. I can see how it would cost a few thousand dollars to have custom closet systems installed. Good thing I didn’t charge by the hour on this project.

  • Tech


    I recommend AGAINST MacKeeper. Not because their software is a bunch of smaller software cobbled together, but because of how their web advertisement works. The ads for MacKeeper often looks like an alert screen from the OS. People who can’t tell the difference between a pop0up window in their browser v.s. an alert from the OS would click on the ad and proceed to install MacKeeper. I HATE PEOPLE WHO DECEIVE OTHERS FOR THEIR OWN GAIN KNOWING THOSE OTHERS HAVE LESS KNOWLEDGE. Knowledge is not god given, it has to be experienced or learned. There is no way around that. And to take advantage of people who just didn’t have that chance yet – is just inhumane.

    P.S. If you click on any click-able link on the MacKeeper website, it will download the MacKeeper installer. Even if it’s not the “Download Now” button. Yes, if you click on “More Info” or “Follow us on Facebook” it still downloads the installer.

  • Home Improvement

    Sump pump replacement

    Friday night, I was getting ready for bed, turning off the lights on the first floor when I noticed a humming sound. I thought it was the bathroom fan by the stairs, so I peeped my head into the powder room. Nope, not the fan. It was coming from the floor. So I went down into the basement and followed the noise to the source. It was the basement sump pump working non-stop.

    This Zoeller pump was installed four years ago and had already failed a few months ago when the float switch seized and the pump would not stop. At that time, I attached a secondary float switch with a piggy-back outlet so that the pump would only get power when the secondary float switch was activated. Unfortunately, something went wrong with that arrangement and the piggy-back outlet would not shut off any more.

    At this point, I could have called a plumber, handy-man, or whatever, but didn’t – because I knew that I could fix it myself.

    The next day, I went out to the local home improvement store and bought a 1/3 hp. submersible sump pump, a few feet of PVC pipe (1 1/2″ sch. 40), a threaded adapter, and a coupler. I already had PVC adhesive and Teflon tape from my other projects.

    First, I built the PVC run from the pump. Then, I unplugged the piggy back switch and plugged the old pump back into the electrical outlet. This pumped out all the water from the sump pit to give me enough time to work before it filled up again. Then I cut the PVC pipe a feet or so under the check valve, removed the old pump. After cleaning out some larger debris from the pit, I placed the new pump in there. I measured and cut the PVC run from the pump to match the remaining PVC pipe under the check valve.  I then removed the remaining PVC pipe under the check valve and stood back as I inserted a screw driver into the valve to check the check valve. A big splash of water told me it was working. I added the PVC pipe to the run from the pump using the PVC adhesive and the coupler, tightened the compression ring around the bottom of the check valve, and finally plugged the new pump into the wall.

    To test, I dumped about two gallons of water into the pit. The float rose, the switch turned on, the pump sucked the water out, and stopped after a few seconds. No leaks, no sputter, perfect.

    The replacement process was so un-eventful that I really feel that I should put in Unicorns and Vampires somewhere in this blog entry.