Incremental Architecture

The nice countertop and sinks look like obvious replacements since they built this rest area on the NYS Northway up near Saratoga. Unlike the old sinks, however the countertop needed support struts to prevent the backsplash from peeling off the wall when somebody leans on the edge and those struts required planks to make the spacing work out:

NYS Northway Rest Room - Sink Supports
NYS Northway Rest Room – Sink Supports

Too bad about that strut right where the drain cleanout plug emerges from the wall. Also too bad that the elaborate welded square doesn’t rest on the wall, so it’s not really supporting anything. Triply too bad about the trim plate that used to conceal the plug; the one that didn’t fit behind the square.

Also: why do the sink drains have such a long horizontal run between the drain tailpiece and the trap? Maybe that’s so they can retrieve rings and other valuables that go down the drain? Perhaps the other trap orientation would put the joint too far forward, where it can be dislodged by an errant knee?

I’ve certainly created incremental monstrosities like that; look no further than the successive APRS interfaces on our bikes

7 thoughts on “Incremental Architecture

  1. Interestingly, I’m planning on building something similar for more table space in my workshop. I picked up a bunch of random length and color countertop sections at the local Restore (Habitat For Humanity building materials recycling store), and I figured I’d mount them to the wall with braces like that.

    1. It also bears an eerie resemblance to the surplus chunk of countertop under the Sherline mill: great minds think alike, methinks.

  2. When I did a bathroom remodel in the house in San Jose, I made the foolish assumption that the new pedestal sink would have a similar layout as the old one. After everything was done, I found that the waste line to the wall should have been moved up about 6 inches. No way this was going to happen, so I ended up using elbows to move the trap up. Rube Goldberg would have appreciated it… The home inspector wasn’t thrilled when we sold, but it worked.

    I’ve got some old laminate flooring moved up from San Jose. Not enough for a floor, but I’m going to resurface a 20 foot long bench in the barn/shop. Should be easier to clean.

    1. resurface a 20 foot long bench

      Highly recommended!

      Random scraps left over from the kitchen floor now cover my electronics workbench and it’s been wonderful. Random bits of wire brush right off and, although I don’t clean it as often as I should, the accumulated crud wipes off easily. Much, much better than the previous plywood!

      1. I did a workroom (thought I’d create ceramic tiles, but reality intervened) with longish benches. Those used melamine contact cemented to the MDF substrate. Quite easy to clean, when I get around to it.

  3. ADA code and clearances for wheelchair users is most likely responsible for the odd drain line configuration. As for the welded square “not supporting anything” don’t underestimate the strength of the steel tubing, the square is still resting on the 2x cleat even if it’s not a direct line up to the rest of the brace.

    1. Good point about the ADA clearances; that’s been the source of many weird retrofit arrangements!

      As nearly as I can tell, the top of that steel square has a plank-thick gap directly behind it. The screws across the bottom support the downward force, but the torque will (eventually) bend the top backward against the wall when somebody sits on the edge of the countertop. Might not matter, although springback will probably yank the screws out of their anchors.

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