How to Build a Dumbwaiter

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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Having a dumbwaiter in your home makes for an interesting and functional piece of architecture. Not only that, it adds a bit of nostalgia as well. Building a dumbwaiter into an existing wall takes some planning and know how, but with the right plan, you'll have a way to take heavy items from the ground floor up to the attic in no time.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Pine plank or other type of interior finished wood
  • Shelving unit or purchased dumbwaiter kit
  • Manila sash cord
  • Drill
  • Pulleys (2)
  • Counter weights
  • Landing springs (4)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plan the route of your dumbwaiter. If your basement is situated over your kitchen, you can keep canned goods in your dumbwaiter and store them where it is cooler. Measure to see how much floor space you will need to use for your dumbwaiter and plan a spot where there will not be any encumbrances. Check for wires and pipes before you cut. Fixing cut plumbing will be messy and cut wires can cause electrical shock. Check first before you set your location.

  2. 2

    Build a case for the dumbwaiter. For a finished look use furniture grade pine plank or some other desirable wood. You will also need to "box" in the weights that will attach to your dumbwaiter.

  3. 3

    Buy a dumbwaiter or make one out of an old shelving unit. Be sure to put a rim around the bottom so that items will not slide off shelves. Dumbwaiters can be purchased ready-made from websites like Butlers Buddy (see Resources below).

  4. 4

    Drill holes and attach manila sash cord to your dumbwaiter and wrap around pulleys attached to the top of your case on both sides. If you have purchased a dumbwaiter kit, this step should already be done for you.

  5. 5

    Attach counter weights to the sash cord to counter balance the load. Experiment with different weights to get the proper balance from your dumbwaiter.

  6. 6

    Mount four springs to the bottom of your dumbwaiter case. This will ensure that your dumbwaiter will not get damaged if it should fall too quickly to the bottom floor.

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