Insane way to install wall cabinet?
November 17, 2011 7:23 AM   Subscribe

I have a kitchen wall cabinet to install. I can't do any heavy lifting due to a back injury. Is this an insane way to install a kitchen wall cabinet?

I have a cabinet (weighing 40 pounds) that I want to install in this corner above the microwave. The cabinet is 30" high, and it's 32" from the top of the microwave to the ceiling. The cabinet will be mounted as close to the ceiling as possible. It's an IKEA cabinet that attaches to rails (on top of cabinet in picture) that are screwed to studs in the walls.

I had a recent back injury and want to avoid any lifting, and it's likely I won't be able to recruit help with this. Installers want to charge way too much for installing a single cabinet. I've installed other IKEA wall cabinets in the past.

I'll be using these tools:
- Car jack (the one that came with my car to change tires).
- Pile of books.
- 2' x 2' x 1.5" butcher block.
- A rented lifter.

As there's an installed floor cabinet, I can't get the lifter against the wall, so my intention is to use the microwave to temporarily support the microwave.

This is my plan (after installing the rails):

1) On stack of books underneath shelf, place car jack and jack it up to height of shelf to support it.
2) Place butcher block on top of microwave.
3) Use lifter to lift cabinet to height of the butcher block.
4) Slide cabinet off lifter onto butcher block.

At this point the cabinet will be 0.5" beneath where it will be mounted, and it should be easy to lift it up to attach the bolts to connect it to the rails.

Please tell me if this is an insane plan. Or, if you have any other suggestions.
posted by ShooBoo to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
I can't quite follow your plan, but it sounds a little risky. There's the danger of something tilting unpredictably, and you suddenly bearing a bunch of weight as you try to avoid disaster. Also, if you can't lift then you can't lift the cabinet the last half inch.

What I would do is install the rails on the wall, nice and level and square, and then knock on a friendly, healthy neighbor's door and ask if they can spare a minute to lift something for me. Neighbor lifts cabinet to rails. Neighbor gets free beer. You stay safe.
posted by jon1270 at 7:31 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Any teenagers in your neighborhood? Offer one $10 to hold it in place while you attach it to the wall. Your inital plan seems unecessarily complex and possibly injurious.
posted by gnutron at 7:39 AM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

"Plan looks good. Couldn't have done better myself."

- Wile E. Coyote.

You definitely need a confederate. Friend, neighbor, hallway nodding acquaintance...somebody.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:51 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Call your local IKEA. Each store has an installation company that they can recommend. They work very quickly ( they do this every day ) and their rates are low. Lower than a back specialist!!
posted by seawallrunner at 7:59 AM on November 17, 2011

This is madness. Sorry.
posted by aramaic at 8:11 AM on November 17, 2011

This is an insane plan.

Forty pounds is a lot of weight to catch if something goes wrong, even if you don't have a back injury. And all that stacking this and jacking that seems like a recipe for something to go wrong. Realistically, this sounds like a two-person job even without a back injury. I think you know that, or you'd already be stacking and jacking rather than posting.

I have a bunch of two-person jobs sitting unfinished around my place for lack of a helper, too, so I know the bind. Have you considered a kijiji or craigslist ad offering whatever amount you think it is affordable/reasonable to get a helper? It's not the know-how you need, it's the brute strength. I would think there are plenty of guys who would be wiling to trade a half hour for ten or twenty bucks.

If that's not possible, at least wait until you have healed this back injury and regained most of your strength before risking it.
posted by looli at 8:16 AM on November 17, 2011

Call IKEA and have them do it. Please put a value on your health and sanity.
posted by oneironaut at 8:34 AM on November 17, 2011

40 lb? Christ, get a teenager. Pay 'em 20 bucks. Ten minutes, in and out, nobody gets hurt.

You're more likely to re-hurt your back Rube Goldberg-ing it than you are actually lifting the damn thing. Car jacks aren't even very good at lifting cars safely IMO, and that're putting in a cabinet, not a jet engine.
posted by notsnot at 8:55 AM on November 17, 2011

For the cost and hassle of renting a lifter, you could hire a person to help you for an hour or two. Extra xmas $ to a neighbor or kid.
posted by Vaike at 8:55 AM on November 17, 2011

You are in seattle? Put an ad in Craigslist Labor Gigs for twenty dollars to pick the cabinet up and hang it on the wall. Your phone will ring within a few minutes(and then keep ringing- I had 20+ calls in an hour). I have done this for moving a couch twice now. Super easy, everybody wins.
posted by rockindata at 9:20 AM on November 17, 2011

Check your memail.
posted by rtha at 9:27 AM on November 17, 2011

How on earth would you load and unload that lifter and maneuver it through your house if you can't lift 40 pounds? That thing's gotta weigh at least 60.
posted by contraption at 5:31 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I agree with the consensus that the safe and correct way to do this is to hire help. But, just in case you still want to Rube Goldberg something up like a crazy person (for instance if your concerns about helpers aren't really monetary, like you're mortified of someone seeing your squalid kitchen or it's really not going in your kitchen but rather your RealDoll storage closet or your meth lab) I'd recommend a system of pulleys hung from an eye hook in the ceiling to give you some mechanical advantage. Cover the lower cabinets with protective cardboard, haul the thing up onto the rails, then remove the ropes and pulleys.
posted by contraption at 5:42 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

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