Visiting family a few weeks ago, we found out that the IKEA kitchen doors can be fitted with an additional damper unit. That’s the device that gives them the “soft close”, so they don’t slam shut if you let go. It’s a small unit that clips onto the hinge and presses against the door, stopping it from closing fast.
When we fitted our kitchen back in 2004, I don’t remember that being an option. Maybe it was, and we didn’t do it as it cost too much. In any case, we didn’t get them. So I was pleasantly surprised that a pack of two dampers costs £4 which, with 10 cupboard doors, five packs will do just fine, and £20 is very reasonable to do the whole kitchen. We bought them today.
Thinking this was going to be a nice quick job to fit, I sat down with the first one to clip it on. The IKEA hinges are great – they just unclip from the door – so it was easy to try.
Of course, things weren’t so simply. After an annoying time pushing and levering, I came to the conclusion that they just weren’t going to go on. I guessed that they had changed design in the last 10 years, and the “integral” hinges we have aren’t the same as “integral” hinges today. (As an aside, it’s a good reason why software has version numbers. IKEA could learn a lesson here.) The diagram on the damper packaging then seemed to confirm this; the new hinges obviously have rectangular holes, rather than oval ones.
It looked like it should nearly fit, with a bit of modification. And that turned out to be the case. The damper is held in place with three clips; two pointing away from the door, and the sprung-loaded third pointing towards the door. These clip into the single hole in the centre of the hinge. With a bit of squaring off, I thought, it might just go. Certainly worth trying one hinge to see.
Out came the small file:
It took less than two minutes to flatten the back of the hole off to take the two rear lugs. I found the quickest and easiest way was just to hold the hinge pressed against my leg (wearing jeans) and to file it like that. The metal is pretty soft, so it cuts fast.
The front then also needed to be flattened off a little to take the spring lug. The entire hole could just be opened out to a rectangle, but there doesn’t seem any point.
After the first couple, I got to be able to fit one to a door in about 2-3 minutes. A nice kitchen upgrade, and will hopefully save a few banged doors.
Note the damper is IKEA part number 801.262.13. I don’t know what the hinge part number is, or if it changed when the design did. Numbers stamped on the hinge would have been nice, as would have instructions on the web site. Although the doors are good, we’re now left with drawer dampers that definitely won’t fit; it would have been nice to know first as the picture (inside the tough sealed packaging) would have confirmed that easily.