GW Must Haves and Other Interesting Gadgets

plllogJanuary 19, 2010

When I first came here there were some toys that the GW denizens had moved from workplace use to kitchen musts, but they don't seem to be getting a lot of discussion nowadays. They were ubiquitous here, and I think it's worth trotting them out for the newbies who haven't heard. Also, there may be some new gadget that enhances the kitchen greatly that we should add to the list.

I'll start with the obvious ones:

Tapmaster. A friendly little Canadian company makes these. It's a device in your toekick area that turns your faucet on and off. The first of us to put one in was looking for the ones they have in dental offices.

The basic unit has a plate that you can touch to start the flow and let go to stop it, or push down to keep it on. The Tapmaster uses air pressure to open and close its valves--there's no electricity or anything particularly complex involved. You set your favorite flow rate and temperature at the mixer and leave that open. If you want to change to using the mixer instead of the Tapmaster you can just lock the Tapmaster open.

Since that time, and as more and more of these started showing up in kitchens, they've come up with their "euro" model, which has a single bar controller that you nudge sideways with your foot, or nudge farther to lock open. Some shoeless cooks prefer this.

You can also get multiple controllers on a single faucet so that you can operate the faucet from two sides of an island, or whatever suits your project.

Plugmold. This one comes from the laboratory. Tired of outlets interrupting your planned beautiful backsplash? You can put plugmold either near the base of the backsplash, or at the top, under the upper cabinets. You can install a GFI in a plugmold unit, but you can also make the whole circuit GFI.

Wiremold Corp. bought up most of their competitors, and discontinued most of the interesting colors, but I've heard that some more decorative ones are coming back. Home Depot carries basic white plastic plugmold. It can be mounted flat on the wall, flat under the cabinet, or on an angled wood strip. There's also "angle plugmold", which isn't really "plugmold" since that's a term like "Kleenex" that's a brand name. Tasklighting makes it. It's reputedly very expensive, but some people think it's worth it.

If you have some countertop appliances that are always plugged in, like a coffee pot, toaster, or microwave, you might also want a regular outlet so that the cords don't always wave in the breeze, and are more hidden.

NeverMT. Do you have a soap dispenser in your sink? Keep a gallon jug of soap or lotion under the sink and pump it directly from the pump that came with your faucet kit. That is, it replaces the receptacle that goes under the counter with a hose and jug. If you use your pump a lot it saves constant refilling.

I'll also give shout outs to some other things:

Demeyere cookware for induction. Great, no rivets cookware for anything, but they have some technically special features for induction. Some other manufacturers do too, though any cast iron, or stainless steel pot that sticks to a magnet, will work.

De Buyer Pro V mandoline. If you ever feed mobs, this can't be beat for making short work of all your knife tasks. This one has continuous adjustment so you can make any width in between minimum and maximum. The V keeps soft things like tomatoes from getting squished.

I hope the rest of you will chime in with the other received wisdom that so many of us are so familiar with here that we sometimes forget to say...

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This is funny, because a foot pedal faucet is one of the few things DH wanted in the kitchen. I did a quick web search at the time, turned up crazy expensive ones, and told him he needed to live without it.

But...just looked at the Tapmaster site, and it looks like we should be adding one of those, huh! Which one is the basic unit, though? I couldn't quite tell from the site...

The NeverMT is a good one to save, too, since I have a feeling we're going to get stuck with an unneeded air gap hole in our counter courtesy of our city's wonky codes, so I'm collecting ideas on what to do with one. Hmm.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 8:55PM
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I liked the idea of Tapmaster, but with 2 small kids (boys) I saw alot of wasted water in my household. Never like plugmold- I think it is pretty ugly. I do plan to use NeverMT. Simple, inexpensive, and not even permanent!

I was never interested in induction, so the cookware wasn't even on my radar. I have never had a mandoline, but I had been planning to get one once the remodel is finished. I had a no new kitchen "stuff" rule in place until I have a better space to store things.

What about filter faucets/dispensers? Rohl makes a pretty neat one that is both a insta-hot, cold-filtered,and regular faucet all in one.It has 3 handles, yet is still a very attractive design.

My big gadget is going to be a touch screen computer that has a TV tuner with a waterproof flexible wireless keyboard and mouse.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:00PM
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I think my only must-have that could possibly be included in this topic is full-extension drawer glides. I actually wouldn't consider it a gadget, just an all-out necessity.

I'm a party-pooper on this topic, since Soft-close, Tapmaster, NeverMT, plugmold, undercabinet lighting, steam oven, ice maker, and other things that tempted me after being introduced to them on GW eventually lost their draw for me...I hope those who have them fully enjoy them, but we couldn't afford them, have lived a long time happily without, and now still do in our new kitchen.

My favorite new thing that I was introduced to and had my hand held through learning here was gas cooking, and cooking on cast iron. Great new experiences, both.

I am about to look up that mandoline, though...Sounds great! And someday I want a more instant, instant-read thermometer.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:02PM
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Don't forget the foot-pedal trash cab opener from Hafele (or Hailo).

Here is a link that might be useful: foot pedal

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:33PM
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And the Lee Valley hip bump trash opener. It works on the same principle as the ball point pen. Bump into the trash cabinet and it opens, not widely, but enough so your foot can open it more. No more chicken goo on handles. I just wonder how durable is this piece of plastic.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:42PM
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I love these type of Threads! I can remember things I forgot or learn something new.

The following are items I learned about - thanks to this wonderful forum - and used in my last kitchen.

Drawers Drawers everywhere! IÂve learned *many* great things on this forum over the years, but this was the single best of the bunch. And I agree that full extension is a must. We also *love* the soft close feature.

IKEA Â Great cabinets at a Great price.

Recessed Refrigerator - This allows a full depth (more room and less $$) to look like a counter depth refrigerator.

Garbage Disposal Button Thanks to learning about this little item, I was able to repurpose the light switch intended for the disposal for dimming my under cabinet Xenon Liner lighting

A big single bowl sink. IÂll never go back to 2 if I can help it.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:51PM
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Help!! I can't find it!
And the Lee Valley hip bump trash opener

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:53PM
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Hi pinch_me, Lee Valley and Ikea both have a version of those
Lee Valley
Sounds like a great idea - I hadn't thought of that for the garbage.

One thing I'm looking forward to is an 'inlet/outlet' (sorry I don't know the technical name) for my built in vacuum in the toe kick so I can sweep into it instead of using a dust pan.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 10:17PM
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ps ... great thread plllog, thank you!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 10:18PM
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Oh, right!! Jeri, that was another of the things that we used to talk about all the time.

That's the Airswitch. It uses air displacement to flip a switch (usually the disposal) so that you don't have to touch an electric switch with wet hands. It can be mounted right by the sink, so is great for people who don't have wall near their sinks, as well.

BTW, I already had the mandoline, and got the Tapmaster and plugmold. But the others are good things to know about too.

Since y'all brought up the hardware: Blum is the GW star for drawers and euro hinges. Full extension drawers with soft close/self close. Cabinets with soft close. Extra heavy drawer hardware rated up to 250 lbs.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 11:31PM
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Onion chopping goggles...all the way!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:49AM
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You're not alone rhome. Demeyere is the only thing on that list that I have. And I don't even have induction! They are GREAT pots.

However, I'm with you on the full extension glides, and I also discovered the air switch option here. And fridge drawers! Heaven.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 7:02AM
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