This is not by any means my first repair. But it is the first one I will publish.
This shelf is in my mom’s refrigerator. It has a six inch crack that likely will get larger. I bet I could order a new shelf and consign the broken one to a dump where it will deteriorate over time – like a thousand years. And why pay huge bucks when I know I can fix it?
My first plastic refrigerator repair was the plastic bar that held things on a shelf in my old apartment in Florence. No glue I could find would hold it because the moment any weight was put against it, the glue would separate and everything would fall. I found (in my car, lol) a bar that I bolted to the plastic and it never fell, and, the best part, it’s not visible to the casual view. Its not the first time I inherited a problematic refrigerator – that is one of the biggest hazards of renting. The one before that was a refrigerator that was ancient – no replacement parts, and only one shelf! I built a shelf out of a rack from another refrigerator that I found at a flea market. The only tool I needed was a rotary tool. The only tools I needed for the one in Florence were a hand drill and a screwdriver.
That’s all I will need for this one. Instead of the drill I am going to use a screwdriver (i will show you how) and I am going to use shelf supports for the repair.
I measured the crack in the shelf and the thickness of the plastic. I also took a picture of the top and bottom of the shelf to take with me to the hardware store.
At the hardware store I used my measurements to buy something called a mending plate. I bought the shortest bolts I could find that also would fit the mending plate. P also bought some quick change power drill bits – since I didn’t have a drill, I decided to see if I could use the quick change bits with the ratcheting screwdriver I already had.
The bits were a little long, and i had to put in a shim to make them stick, but it worked! I measured the holes for the mending plate while holding the broken bits together as tightly as I could. Then I predrilled the holes using my screwdriver drill bit concoction. I assembled the whole thing and put it back in the regrigerator. The project, including the trip to the hardware store, took about two hours.
After looking at it both ways, I ended up putting the bolts through the other way (on the top of the shelf, not on the bottom as it appears in the photo) because even though a longer bolt was required, the nuts on the other side didn’t look that great. Things will still catch on the bolt heads but not as badly as on the nuts.
The repair works great! It held the weight of everything that was on it when it broke.
I had considered putting on two mending plates but given the weight bearing capacity of the single mending plate, it wasn’t necessary. I used the mending plate method to fix a door shelf on a refrigerator in an apartment I lived in last year.