After we assembled the cabinets that would be used as our banquette, we realized that we wanted to add a little more support. These cabinets are meant to be just that, cabinets, and not necessarily designed to be sitting on. They’re not like lower cabinets that are designed for having heavy granite or marble placed on top of them.
When we sat on the cabinets / bench, we didn’t notice any clear bowing, but something about it didn’t seem quite as solid as we were hoping. We saw some potential for the cabinets to bow after many years of sitting. So we figured we’d just take care of it then and add some supports.
Here is the banquette without supports inside of the cabinets.
And here it is with the supports (note the 2×4’s) in the front (there are also some in the rear, pictured later).
First, we measured the interior height of each cabinet, and had two pieces of 2×4’s (for each cabinet) cut very slightly smaller than that interior height. We then placed them in the cabinet. We placed them different directions to maximimse the storage space inside the cabinets.
We filled in the tiny gap at the top with some shims.
First we pushed them in by hand.
Then took a rubber mallet and gently pounded the shims in more to ensure that the 2×4“ piece was fitted tightly. (We repeated this process for both the front 2×4” piece and the back 2×4″ piece)
Now it was time to secure the 2×4 pieces to the cabinet. We wanted the screw heads to sit flush with the cabinet, and not slightly elevated like when you normally screw something. So we decided on an improvised countersink approach (Here’s a Wikipedia article on countersinking, and a YouTube tutorial on countersinks). We don’t own a countersink bit and didn’t feel like spending the money to buy one. Since the top part of the cabinet / banquette would eventually be covered by a finishing panel, we didn’t need the countersink to look pretty, we just needed it to work (meaning the screw to sit flush).
What Ken did was use a small bit to drill a hole that would fit the screw.
Then we used a ShopVac to clear out a lot of the sawdust. (These Ikea pieces make SO MUCH SAWDUST when you’re cutting them. It’s unreal).
Then we used the larger bit to drill just down just very slightly (not nearly as deep as the first hole we drilled with the smaller bit.)
And then we cleaned up with the ShopVac again
Then it was time to attach the screw.
We used these #12 x 2 1/2 Flat Head Phillips Wood Screws from Home Depot.
After we attached the screws on the top of the cabinet (to both pieces of 2×4’s, we attached them on the bottom of the cabinet as well, using the same countersink approach.
Then that was it! We put the cabinets back in their intended location in the kitchen. When we sat on them, they felt much sturdier!
The pieces of 2×4 do cut into the storage space a little bit inside the cabinet, but it has not been a major annoyance. It is still a HUGE gain in the amount of storage!
In retrospect, I wish we would have painted the 2×4 pieces white before we decided to screw them in there. The unfinished wood is a little unsightly. But since they’re eventually covered by cabinet doors, nobody ever knows!