By Mark J. Donovan
Recently we had new kitchen cabinets installed and within weeks my wife brought to my attention that the kitchen cabinet spice rack was sagging. It was actually sagging to the point that the bottom end, furthest from the hinges, was actually rubbing on the bottom of the kitchen cabinet frame.
Instead of calling the cabinet installer and attempting to get someone out to fix it, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
After removing all of the spices and other cooking products from the cabinet, I inspected the hinges to see what was going on.
It turned out there were three problems. First, the hinges were adjustable. Instead of circular holes for the screws to slide through and attach to the kitchen cabinet frame, they were elliptical holes. I noticed that the screws were positioned at the top of the ellipses. So I first attempted to loosen the screws and push the cabinet upwards and retighten the screws. In doing this I quickly learned that the screws would not tightly snug down. After removing them, I learned why. The screws were barely penetrating into the wood, even when screwed all the way flush with the hinge. At best they were penetrating the wood cabinet by 1/8th of an inch.
After purchasing some slightly longer screws, that would allow ¼” penetration into the wood, but not penetrate out the other side of the kitchen cabinet, I again readjusted the kitchen cabinet spice rack upwards. I adjusted it such that the screws lined up with the bottom portion of the elliptical hinge holes and then tighten them.
After installing the new screws, the kitchen cabinet spice rack was no longer resting on the bottom of the kitchen cabinet and swung freely. However, the cabinet spice rack still sagged somewhat on the side furthest away from the hinge.
Again, after inspecting the spice rack, I noticed the kitchen cabinet installers did not attach the other side of the hinges to the spice rack properly. The bottom hinge’s center column sat flush with the kitchen cabinet spice rack, whereas the top hinge’s center column sat almost ¼” away from the spice rack. This also was contributing to the sagging.
So, I pulled out my screw gun once again and removed the spice rack from the hinges. Using a center punch I then created 3 new screw-hole locations where the top hinge had been attached. The new screw-hole positions were set slightly further back from the original holes such that the hinge’s center column would rest flush with the spice rack when it was reattached.
Using a small drill bit, I then drilled small pilot holes, being careful not to penetrate completely through the other side of the spice rack.
I then reinstalled the spice rack to the hinges and again stood back to see if the sagging had been fully corrected.
Though the kitchen cabinet spice rack swung freely, there was still some sagging.
I next pulled out my tape measure and made two measurements. I measured the distance from opposite corners of the spice rack. Sure enough, the spice rack was “racked”. The measurements differed by ½”. I was also able to adjust this distance by pushing on opposite corners of the spice rack, however of course as soon as I let go the spice rack went back to its original sagging shape.
I realized the reason for this component of the sagging kitchen cabinet spice rack saga was due to the fact that the dowels and center board within the spice rack float in the sockets and cutout grooves. This is standard process, however. Most cabinetry makers do not use glue in these components so that the wood can flex and contract pending temperature and moisture levels.
At this point I chose to go no further in the sagging spice rack project, as the sag was minimal and no longer caused any damaging rubbing with the bottom part of the cabinet. I did, however, come up with a simple idea to solve this final component of the sagging spice rack.
If I was to simply cut a section of 1/8” thick lattice, approximately 12” in length, and cut the ends at 45 degrees, I could position it within the back base section of the spice rack such that I could square up the spice rack. The piece of lattice would lie at a 45 degree angle against the center board. The bottom portion of it would butt up against the bottom corner of the spice rack, near the lower hinge. The top portion would sit up under the first shelf of the spice rack. The lattice would affectively be wedged into this space at a 45 degree angle such that it would square up the spice rack.
Note: When making the measurements for the lattice piece you need to hold the rack to the squared up position, otherwise you will cut a section of lattice that leaves you with your sagging spice rack.
Tools/Material Required for Fixing a Sagging Kitchen Cabinet Spice Rack
- Screw Driver or Screw Gun
- ¾” screws
- 16” of 1/8” thick lattice
- Drill and Drill bit
- Center Punch
- Tape Measure