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Flying Celery Shield

Picture of Flying Celery Shield
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My kitchen is small, and the only convenient counter work area is a spot right next to the refrigerator.  There's a gap between the counter top and the side of the fridge.  Whenever I chop hard vegetables, like celery or carrots, a few small pieces inevitably fly off and find their way through the gap and down onto the floor between the counter and the fridge.  Then I'm obliged to stop what I'm doing and fish them out with a broom.  Unless they've bounced under the fridge, in which case I have to drag the fridge out to sweep underneath it.  Or I can just leave the celery bits there, and hope that they dehydrate before they attract small, unwelcome visitors.

This extremely simple project is a shield that blocks the gap between the counter and the fridge.  I made it from a single piece of laser-cut acrylic.  When I'm not chopping vegetables, it stores away conveniently in the drawer where I keep my cutting boards. 

To make the celery shield, you will need:
  • acrylic plastic sheet, 1/8" thick, about 8 x 11 inches in size.  I found a piece about the right size in the scrap bin at my local plastics store.  I chose translucent white, to match my kitchen decor.
  • access to a laser cutter  (I made it at TechShop.  www.techshop.ws)
  • the Corel Draw file included in this article
  • solvent-type cement for acrylic plastic
  • dispenser for acrylic plastic cement
  • clamps to hold assembly during gluing
Using the Corel Draw file, cut out the four pieces of acrylic with your laser cutter.  If your gap is significantly wider or longer than mine, you might need to adjust the drawing first. 

I made the shield in two sections so that it would fit in the drawer between uses.  For each section, insert the tabs on the smaller  piece of acrylic into the slots on the larger piece.  Clamp tightly to hold in place during the cementing operation.  Then apply acrylic cement to the joint using the needle-type applicator.  Allow to harden overnight before you remove the clamps.

That's all there is to it!  Place the two sections of the shield over the gap, with the shorter pieces of plastic on the under side, next to the counter top.  The shields simply rest against the counter and the fridge, and gravity holds them in place.  Now the airborne celery bits which would have fallen down the gap, will wind up on the counter top instead.

I love this! I've done something similar to this (but not nearly as nice) using an extra cutting board when chopping carrots. :D
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