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Thread: Refrigerator Panels - How to attach?

  1. #1
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    Refrigerator Panels - How to attach?

    Hello all,

    I just got a call from a customer who wants some custom panels applied to her refrigerator. (see photo) How would these be attached? Any and all suggestions would be great. Thanks!

    - Hutch
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  2. #2
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    Is the picture the style she wants? Or is this the set up she wants? The picture looks like it is separate from the fridge if that is infact a fridge behind the doors. I thought an appliance that accepted add on doors had to be designed/built to accept them. Otherwise I have no clue how you would do it, sorry. Have you seen her fridge or know the make and model? If it has the water and ice dispenser, how could that be handled? Yeah I know, lots of questions with no answers. Anxious to see if this is doable. I'd like to incorporate that into the future kitchen rebuild if it is. Jim.
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  3. #3
    Matt, depends on the refrigerator Mfgr and model. Which one are you dealing with? The picture looks like a built-in model that uses a 1/4" sub-panel made by you dimentioned to fit within the Mfgr subframe surround, with your panels applied to that sub-panel. Some guys will just mill the back edge of the show-panel to fit within the Mfgr subframe, and those details vary based on what the Mfgr has given you as a subframe.

    Do a search over at woodweb, there are some folks with creative details beyond the common Mfgr methods, and perhaps one of them will be just what you are looking for.

    Edit - As Jim says, to work it has to be made to accept panels, and the Mfgr will have instructions that come with the unit, and possibly also available online.
    Last edited by Paul Murphy; 11-30-2012 at 9:45 AM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. Yeah, I just realized that the models have to be designed for panels, which sorta takes away the confusion. I am used to building furniture, and have only recently been doing a little more kitchen/built-in work.

    The model of fridge that she is looking at is a Subzero brand, with side by side units to achieve this look. I think with appliances like those the installation becomes rather straight forward....thank goodness.

    Paul - I will definitely take a look at that site, and do a little digging.

    Thanks,
    Hutch

  5. #5
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    Matt, once you get the model numbers you can track down the specs online. When you get the specs it outlines exactly how the panels need to be sized and attached. The whole process will be pretty straightforward once you download the specs.

    good luck,
    JeffD

  6. #6
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    Be sure to read about some of the install problems on the woodweb. From what I have read some are setup better than others for the finish guy. I wonder if they want you to apply them to a fridge they already have? The Sub-zero's, Vikings and other brands that use the specialty hardware to allow us to apply a panel sure get pricey. Even the cheapest cabinet depth Kitchenaid I found was around $7k.

  7. #7
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    Red 3M foam tape attaches car parts to cars. If you want to risk (or the custmer does) maybe try that. I have never done it to a fridge but that tape is amazing.
    Glad its my shop I am responsible for - I only have to make me happy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Heidrick View Post
    Red 3M foam tape attaches car parts to cars
    Adhesive backed Velcro also is used a lot in the automotive industry - some versions of it has quite of bit of holding power.

  9. #9
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    Thank you guys for all the input. I'm feeling pretty good about tackling this now. There's always something new to learn.

    Brad - In fact, the customer will be buying two panel ready fridges. You do the math. She wants this focal wall to look just like the photo, and right now I'm trying to convince her to hire me to do the custom cabinetry to the left and right of the unit as well. *fingers crossed*

    - Hutch

  10. #10
    If the refrigerator will accept panels there is a accessory kit that has a trim piece rabbeted out to accept a 1/4" wood panel. You might check with the manufacturer to see if the trim kit is available.

  11. #11
    I believe these are a pair of Sub Zero 700 or 736 mounted side by side. I did a kitchen 8 yrs ago using these. Sub Zero includes all the hardware for the mounting of panels and unless they changed the hardware in the last few years, the panel installs are very time consuming. To make adjustments you must remove panels, I would suggest that you fit panels unfinished first and mark clip locations well. Make sure that you put a lot of extra hours in for the install and that the company selling these units put them in the kitchen close to where they need to be. The units are beautiful when done, but I hope I never do one again. As others have said, do a search over at Wood Web, there have been some discussions in the past year on these units.
    David Werkheiser

  12. #12
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    I've done one kitchen with wood panels on a fridge - a Miele. The fridge was designed to accept panels. The drawings were cryptic, but the actual fridge was okay once I saw it. A couple of thoughts...

    * You have to design the surrounding cabinetry to allow cooling air to circulate. The Sub-Zero drawings will spec what they need. Pay attention.

    * As cabinetmakers, we want to reduce the gaps between the doors and the surrounding cabinets. It gets tricky here. The doors are hooked to the fridge. The fridge gets moved in and out of the recess by a plumber, or the floor guys, or the painters, or appliance guys, and it'll get moved around over its lifetime. None of them will be as careful as you to put it in the exactly correct spot to control the door-to-cabinet gaps. Leave big gaps, make the doors overlay, and/or design in some foolproof way to locate the fridge.




    ...and...It is the customer's house, so her taste rules, but that design sure is ugly. It has stained-glass panels without any light on the back. It has wrought iron brackets at the top that don't have any functional purpose, don't relate to anything else in the pic, and aren't particularly Stickley anyhow. And the crown molding again doesn't relate to the rest of the kitchen.
    Last edited by Jamie Buxton; 12-01-2012 at 3:44 PM.

  13. #13
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    Thanks all. These are all thoughtful and useful comments! I agree that the design has elements that don't jibe with the the design concept. It's an odd hybrid of Stickley and traditional/country that isn't quite there. Thankfully the customer has already expressed an openness to design changes and tweaks.

    Jamie - Your two asterisked points were some of my initial concerns/questions. Thanks for the confirmation/comments!

    - Hutch

  14. #14
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    Having said all that - the Sub Zero folks make it as easy as can be. Just follow their dimensions and specs and you'll be fine no matter what kind of "face" you design for the panel. Other manufacturers can lead you down the road to certain baldness (that is, if you still have hair you will pull it all out before your panel is installed) but Sub Zero is good.
    Sam

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  15. #15
    Eight years ago I remodeled our kitchen including all new cabinets etc. At the same time I built matching door fronts for our side- by- side fridge. The kitchen cabinet doors are 3 1/2 inches thick so I built matching `doors`for the fridge out of the same material but made then only 3 in thické. I fastened them to the fridge doors using Sikaflex 252. Its the same kind of adhesive they use to glue in car winsheilds. The inportant thing is that the fridge doors are flat. And because the panels are NOT removable it is VERY important that the door pulls are mounted very securely. At any rate the panels have been on the fridge for eight years with no problems whatsoever and look like all the other cabinet doors. I can send pics if you like.

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