Materials: IKEA cabinet of unknown name, 1/4" X 1 1/2" wood, 1/2" X 1 3/4" wood, 3/4" X 2 1/2" wood, wood glue, some hinges, hacksaw
Description: I started with this kitchen storage cabinet from IKEA, whose name I don't know. The top was originally a single piece which was much wider than the base, overhanging in a way that always made it a bit awkward to place in the kitchen.
After some time, I decided to cut off the extending portion, but I didn't want to lose the 'counter' space it provided. So, I patched up the cut ends, screwed them back together with hinges, and added a support which slides in and out of the unit to either allow the extension to hang down, taking up less space, or stay up, providing the counter space occasionally needed.
The top is made of two layers of a thin paperboard with a paper honeycomb structure sandwiched between them. After cutting the extension off, I had to do something to hide the hollow top. I glued some 1/4" thin wood strips to each of the cut ends. I unfortunately used a wood that didn't quite match the finish of the cabinet - with some searching, I'm sure a better match could be found.
Using a couple of hinges, I connected the two pieces back together, minimizing the gap between them at the 'flat' position.
Next came the sliding support that would slide in and out of the base cabinet. It's shape is a long, narrow rectangle - two strong pieces of 3/4" thick by 2 1/2" wide wood connected at the inside end (the end that would be hidden inside the base cabinet) with some of the same wood, and on the outside end with a piece of 1 3/4" wood. I carved a groove in the outside end piece, forming a handle to make it easy to pull out the support with one hand.
Once this was built, I cut grooves in the base cabinet where the support would slide, centering them nicely and being careful to make them exactly 3/4" deep (matching the thickness of the slide) depth, so that the hinged end piece would stay up tightly when extended. With the grooves cut and the slide put in place, the top went back on.
Finally, I built a small support to hold up the long slide when retracted, and which also serves as a stop preventing the slide from pulling out too far. It also keeps the slide aligned, so that it slides in and out smoothly. It's mounted to the underside of the cabinet top, using a couple of screws mated to keyholes I cut in the thin top material.
It's not the prettiest looking thing, but try as I might, I haven't been able to find something better looking that matches the functionality this provides, and which also has the perfect dimensions for whichever kitchen I put it in (3 so far). I plan to make a sort of slip cover, maybe with a zippered front, to hide the contents and hopefully give it a better look.
~ Adam, Toronto