Blind corner unit capacities demystified

10 10 2011

I’m dyslexic, so my brain works a little differently than others.  My dad is an engineer, so if he is faced with a question like “which blind corner unit has the greatest capacity” it’s simply a math problem.  Now, I know how to calculate the area of a square or rectangle, which is how I calculate board footage when building furniture, but have you seen the Kesseböhmer LeMans blind corner unit?  It’s shaped like a peanut!

So, when the question about blind corner accessory capacity came up again recently I decided to answer the question for myself once and for all.  We had been conducting some side-by-side installs of various kitchen accessories to compare the ease of installation, the mounting instructions, packaging, etc. so we had every unit we offer fully installed and at our disposal, as well as the most popular units offered by a couple of our competitors.

In the interest of fairness I’m not going to name our competitor’s units, but one of them had a name that left me in stitches, so we’ll have to examine that at the end of this post.

The units with square and rectangular shelves or trays were the easiest, so let’s define them first so you know what we are talking about.

The Magic Corner I mounts to the side walls and floor of the blind corner cabinet and the door is then attached to the unit.  When you pull on the decorative hardware on the door, the door moves out into the room and swings to the side, bringing with it a pair of trays.  At the same time a second pair of trays slide into the door opening and within reach.  

The Magic Corner II mounts to the side walls and floor of the blind corner cabinet and the door is left hinged to the cabinet.  You first open the door, and then you pull the front trays out into the room and swing them to the side.  At the same time a second pair of trays slide into the door opening and each can then be slid out of the cabinet on ball-bearing drawer slides. 100% of the contents of this storage unit can be brought out of the cabinet for full access.   

There are a couple copies of what looks like the Magic Corner I on the market, and fortunately for us they tend to operate in a very clunky and “herky-jerky” fashion.  We know this because they are actually knock-offs of a version of the Magic Corner that predates the Magic Corner I.

Now, let’s move on to the LeMans.  We were given capacities from Kesseböhmer that just didn’t feel right.  In fact, they actually came out ahead of the capacity of the Magic Corner II.  I knew from the development of the Kesseböhmer Arena Champagne line that we and Kesseböhmer had worked for over two years to create a family of kitchen accessories that would be compatible with American face frame cabinets.  Since American cabinetmakers are the only cabinetmakers in the world who still make cabinets with face frames, this was a huge challenge, and in the end a big risk for us and Kesseböhmer, because if we didn’t sell them, no one else in the world could use them!  While our cabinets tend to be much larger than those built in Europe, the door openings can be restrictive due to the added face frame, so the “peanut” shape of the tray is much more pronounced, and therefore the capacity is affected.

So since I couldn’t figure-out how to measure the area of the LeMans “peanut”, (it is in situations like this when my dyslexia gets the best of me) I had to let my inner Thomas Edison out.  I did what Thom would do… I ran down to Wal-Mart and purchased a huge jar of airsoft BBs and used them to compare the capacity of the LeMans trays to those of the other units.  Ah ha!  The total capacity of the two trays on a 21″ Le Mans unit could not hold as many BBs as a Magic Corner II.  Based on what we learned, and later confirmed by Kesseböhmer, the capacity numbers that we had been looking at were for the LeMans trays that Kesseböhmer sells to other Häfele subsidiaries and suppliers in countries that where the cabinets have no face frames.

We’ve since used our staff CAD draftsperson to get us the real numbers, without the use of BBs.  Here’s a list of Häfele America Co’s blind corner units, ranked by size from largest to smallest:

  1. Magic Corner II 951 in² total capacity
  2. LeMans 21” 928 in² total capacity
  3. Magic Corner I 918 in² total capacity
  4. LeMans 18” 750 in² total capacity
  5. LeMans 15” 596 in² total capacity

The largest capacity “clone” of the Magic Corner I that we’ve ever measured had a total capacity of 828in², though most of them are much smaller.

Another interesting way of thinking about these accessories would be to consider their “installed cost”. The LeMans can be installed in a few minutes, but even the much more involved Magic Corners can be installed in less than 30 minutes on the first run, and we have customers who install them in less than 8 minutes!

Beyond the capacity and installation questions is the fact that the space utilization of these units is out of this world.  Better yet, the Champagne finish matches the other accessories in the kitchen and is complimentary of stainless steel, and the non-slip finish on all the wood bottom trays keep contents from noisily sliding around and potentially spilling.

One last thing.  I promised I would tell you about a competitive unit that we reviewed.  Let’s just say that the name of this unit promises to make optimal use of the cabinet space, yet as you can see from the photo, it’s far from it.  The competitor’s unit is pictured on the left, while the Magic Corner is on the right.  (Click the pics to Biggie-size them)



4 responses

7 12 2011

This is the best post I’ve seen yet that compares the different models and the actual usable space. You wouldn’t happen to have a top view picture of a cabinet with the LeMans installed for us “visual” people, would you?

7 12 2011
Hafele America Co's Training Coordinator, Scott Markwood

Thanks Kristina. I’ll dig around and if I don’t I believe I can take one.

9 06 2012

Wall off the blind corner, and just the 24″ wide cabinet has 1058 square inches of area in the bottom (with one shelf), plus another 400 in a drawer. Not as handy for access, but a lot more usable space for storage.

15 06 2012
Häfele America Co's Training Coordinator, Scott Markwood

Gary, did you happen to see my follow-up to this post or the follow-up to the follow-up? Check them out. Scott

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