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Kitchen sink dramatics


I’d been trying to organise my kitchen sink space so that everything had its place and was easy to get at – and didn’t drip all over the counter or windowsill. My previous place had had the kitchen window at the other end of the room, the sink against a wall, which made it easy to fix soap dishes behind the sink and shelves over (I use re-usable freezer bags, so it was easy to clip them to the shelf for them to drip-dry).

Having the sink under the window meant I had to re-think everything; the windowsill got very cluttered with odds and ends as well as the washing-up stuff. Most of all, I wanted to hang the dishcloths where they could dry – leaving them crumpled would cause a stink.

Got a small plastic crate and put some barbecue sticks across to make a shelf

Couldn’t tie it very tightly as was very fiddly getting the string through the lattices – and besides, putting a wet cloth on there would mean it draining to the windowsill rather than into the sink.

Found one of those freestanding extending-cupboard-shelves (I have a few); the others were all too wide and too low, and this one was a bit too low for practical use; it barely cleared the taps

Besides, it wasn’t stable – because of the lip at the back of the draining board, one leg was higher than the others, and it tended to tip rather alarmingly unless things were put on the back – which again promoted puddles on the bit of the worktop behind the sink.

I checked what was around for “over-sink shelf” but couldn’t find anything that I really fancied – several were long enough, but too fancy – more than one had a kitchen roll holder, which would have been much too close to splashes to be much use, at least the way I wash up!)

I’d seen some pics that I quite liked of DIY projects – one had a plate drainer fitted behind the sink, but the gap must have been wider than I had.


Took some of my large supply of bamboo canes: 4’ ones would have been too long, so had to cut them to size. Cutting bamboo isn’t easy, well, it is, but preventing splintering isn’t. Did the best I could, tried wrapping parcel tape around where I intended to saw, hoping that’d reduce splintering. Was easier a d quicker to make a small cut then just lean on the end to break it, turn it over and break it again – had more than a dozen cuts to make and it was certainly quicker this way.

Started lashing them together– the cotton string I was using broke if I pulled too hard, so I couldn’t make the lashings as tight as they could have been, even for someone with as little strength as me.

Of course, the canes aren’t straight, so there’s a bit of narrowing towards one end: I’d tried to space the ends evenly while lashing them into place, but didn’t totally succeed!

Then to put the legs on: the corner braces were an afterthought, once I saw how wobbly the legs were:

I didn’t dare cut the string too close to the knots in case they came undone, so it looks scruffy (or scruffier).

In place:

The slats will take plates for draining – I mostly use plastic plates because I keep forgetting to warm china plates before I serve a meal, and hot food on cold plates don’t stay hot for very long! I’m not sure if the rack would support the weight of china plates, or many of them, at least.

Luckily I didn’t follow my original idea of making the canes even closer together – though sadly I forgot my other original idea of adding a rail around the top to help support plates: by the time I remembered, I’d already attached the legs, and couldn’t face taking them off, to put longer ones on to tie the top rail on to. (I’ll remember that for the Mark #2.)

I varnished it all over, for three reasons: to waterproof it; to glue the string so it wouldn’t slip; to smooth down any residual splinters or potential splinters.

In use:

It held all the washing-up ok, but it’s still a bit unstable when empty, and has tipped – I need to add some weight or longer canes to the feet to give more stability. But for a first effort, making it up as I went along, it’ll pass.

One thing I wanted the rack for was for hanging up freezer bags – in the old place, with a shelf above the sink, I could wash bags, peg them up and let them drip-dry; the only thing I could do here was to half-fill a soft drink bottle with water for stability and hang the bag over the top. The bag-drainer doesn’t work very well on the Mark#1 – gets in the way of the tap.

I also wanted a chopping-board stand; as it is, chopping boards and oven trays have to lean against each other, so where they touch they don’t dry. Maybe I can incorporate something to do that in the Mark #2

Of course, I realise now that I should have used dowelling – all perfectly straight and level; I could have drilled blocks to hold the ends, and the feet would have had been put into blocks to anchor and stabilise them.

But for now, it’ll do.

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At the moment you have an idea put together as to what you want, the size and how it would fit into place Fran so if it works for you then you can get some dowelling and make Rack Mark2..Good one ......

19 Oct, 2014


Oh Fran - have to admire your tenacity! Hope you manage to make something to suit your needs

19 Oct, 2014


thanks Lincs and Wendy

It's ok, for a first effort, but now I can think of a few changes I'd want to make - it's hard to get at the windowsill behind the draining board, for one thing, but it needs to be that high to clrea the taps. Maybe a split-level one next time?

19 Oct, 2014


Nothing like trying out ideas Fran to get yourself sorted out in limited space. I have a pull out rack supplied when we had a replacement ladder type kitchen radiator after the first one leaked. So handy for sock drying and bag drying too and for a wet flannel etc.

20 Oct, 2014


My, what antics you get up to, Fran! :-)) I loved your idea & I admire you for being brave enough to show us your work! That takes a lot of guts - even when you know you are amongst friends!

I loved how you explained everything you did or tried to do along the way! No doubt Mk ll will be a great improvement over Mk l. Keep up the hard work & we're all looking forward to seeing Mk ll finished. :-))

20 Oct, 2014


Thanks, Dorjac and Balcony.

actually, I did hesitate before posting, because I get a bit depressed sometimes at my own lack of skill: other people can take lumps of wood and make something brilliant (and that looks neat and tidy!) where all I make looks scruffy. But then, they have the right materials, the right equipment, room to work, and skill and experience!

lol this is where Desiderata kicks in: "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself". I'm doing the best with what I've got, and that'll have to do till I learn to do better.

I'm still not quite able to forgive my school for not letting girls do woodwork - they'd all have husbands to do it for them (that's the same "logic" that didn't let boys learn cooking or sewing - they'd all have wives).

I made myself a platform bed back in the 70s; the joints were a mess, but they held together, which is the main thing (lol mainly cos of liberal use of wood glue and 3" screws!)

I'm working on a new bed platform, but this time I'll get the handymen to cut and join the wood, I'll just degisn it!

21 Oct, 2014


So there's a frustrated carpenter trying hard to be let out and be wonderfully creative Fran. OH used to be able to put a creative bit of wood together, but alas no more. DIY has gone down the pan these days anyway.

21 Oct, 2014


I don't have the experience or confidence to use a power tool (toher than a cordless drill) - i could get so much more done with a power saw, but I'm used to my fingers being where they are, attached to my hands! my back injury and visual probs don't make sawing by hand easy, so I'l going to start getting the handymen to cut the wood for me. Thinking of making my own armchairs as well - I've got some modular corner units which I bought from Argos, but the cost of new pieces ... well, one unit now costs double what I paid for all four of them! they're only bits of wood fiastened together, after all.

21 Oct, 2014


Even though I'm the one who does all the DIY jobs around the place I'm not very good at it! Like you I lack the proper tools half the time! Even if I had them I doubt I'd do a much better job!

As for sawing I couldn't make a straight cut to save my life! :-(( For some strange reason EVERY single cut I make goes on a slant! I just can't keep a straight line no matter how much I mark it into the wood! Sometimes when I see I'm veering off line & can't get it straightened out again I turn the piece of wood over & start from the other end but - you've no doubt got it - the same happens again & it's very difficult to get a cut to join up on both sides to end up with a nice clean cut!

Using the drill I can make holes in a wall to put in plugs but they often end up on an angle also & often times when I want to screw something into the holes I find I can't find the holes! I had to put up a bracket in the kitchen a few days ago - it cost me half an hour to drill out 2 of 3 holes, put the plugs in & then put the bracket up! I had to keep changing screwdrivers because the star tips are chewed away & the blade just turned round without driving the screw in! I had to use 4 different ones in the end. Then I forgot to drill the 3rd hole before putting the screws in the other two! Arrhh!

22 Oct, 2014


lol Balcony I did post some pics of how good I am at sawing straight lines! not entirely my fault; I have only one good-ish eye so I can't aim staright in the first place - how you stand affects how the line goes, mine always dived dramatically to the right.

I did come up wiht a solution: "how to saw wood with a drill" - I'd put guide holes in, to give me something to aim for short-term, didn't work, so I thought, if perforated paper tears staright because of the holes, perforated wood should, too, and took a hammer and just knocked the wood, which split at the "perforations". Next time I'll put the holes closer together and use the "perforation" method, the rough edges of half-a-hole can be planed smooth, it's a damn sight quicker than struggling with a saw that don't want to cut straight!

as for drilling walls straight, tell me about it! mine are usually angled, and never in the same direction. I bought some screwdriver tips for my cordless and interchangebale screwdrivers, the others were jsut going round.

22 Oct, 2014

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