Home Hacking

One of the problems with living in a rented house is that making it “yours” is sometimes difficult.

Quite apart from decorating, little annoyances that you can’t fix eventually get to you. Even though we have a very good landlady, I don’t want to have to go to her every time I want to do something (or have something done) to the house.

For instance, our cooker sits between two worktops/cupboards, with a 3-inch(ish) gap on each side. Bits of food, packing, utensils, cutlery and general detritus ended up falling down the gap semi-regularly, requiring a broom or spatula or something to fish it out.

After I lost a slotted spoon right to the back of the cooker, enough was enough. It had to be hacked better.

Easy enough, just two bits of wood to sit over the gap. But how to do so without fitting mounting brackets or something to the side of the cupboards?

One evening, an idea struck – the cooker is steel, and that particular steel turns out to be magnetic. There was a nice length of worktop in the hackspace pile ‘o wood, and two magnetic utensil holders with some long thin neodymium magnets inside.

It took about twenty minutes to remove the magnets from their holders. Then I cut two sections of worktop at the same width (about three inches – one to fit each side of the cooker), and used a router to create a slot in one side for the magnets.

I filled the slot with white silicone sealant and embedded the magnets in it. The result:

Neodymium magnets are pretty strong, and I had worried that the force of attraction between the side of the oven and the magnets might rip them out of the channel. Thankfully, the silicone seems to be doing its job. I used rather too much, then scraped off the excess (mostly the excess got worked into the gaps in the chipboard the worktop is made of).

I was careful to make one piece the mirror image of the other, because they would be on opposite sides of the cooker.

And here they are:

These things are VERY firmly stuck to the side of the cooker. It’s quite an effort to take them off, but crucially, not a single hole was drilled anywhere. These things have already saved a few knives and forks, and lots of chopped onion, from ending up on the floor.

This was a really simple little hack to do, but it’s probably already benefited me more than any electronics project I’ve made up to now.

I may have photoshopped (actually, GIMPed) some food from the picture of the cooker.

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