Introduction: Earthquake Latches for Cabinets

Picture of Earthquake Latches for Cabinets

A friend who lived through a major earthquake in Southern California complained that one of the worst scenarios in her home was all the stuff falling out of her kitchen cabinets - cooking oil, wine, vinegar - all mixed in with broken glass and dishware. Sure, you could jab a piece of wood through the door pulls but how ugly and inconvenient would that be? I wanted a device that could be operated with one hand and had minimal visual impact. This is what I came up with . . .

Step 1: Take Measurements

Picture of Take Measurements

Determine:

  • the distance between door pulls
  • the diameter of the stem of the door pull
  • how much clearance you have between the door and the door pull

Step 2: Design Your Custom Safety Latch

Picture of Design Your Custom Safety Latch

Once I created the design I took the schematic to TAP Plastics and had them fabricated a bunch of these for my kitchen out of 1/8" clear plexi. I chose plexi so they would have a minimal presence and not be a visual distraction. Depending on the decor of your kitchen you could also use wood or colored plastic.

Step 3: Installation

Picture of Installation

To install simply unfasten the bottom screw from the back of the door and pivot out the door pull. Slip the fabricated safety latch in place and re-fasten. Voila! Now you are ready in the event of an earthquake . . . well, at least as far as the stuff in your cabinets is concerned.

Step 4: Doors With Only One Handle . . .

Picture of Doors With Only One Handle . . .

For doors with one door handle I installed little latches from under the cabinet.

Comments

mole1 (author)2015-05-20

Simply brilliant! If you have a flush to the wall cabinet that needs a latch that can take a hook & eye style - setting the eye in the wall with Dowman's Rock hard Water Putty works - 5 years now and no wobbling loose.

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Bio: I'm a maker. I like the challenge of re-using discarded materials or using common objects/materials to create something intriguing and visually interesting . Cardboard ... More »
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