Hinged Bookshelf Design...

I'm making built-ins for an area that will still have usable space behind the shelves (roof line and portico make this space otherwise unusable). I'm going to make two units that are hinged and swing out to reveal the hidden area (which will store my network gear etc). Conceputally this is a great use for the space, but before I start building the units I'd like to run this by the group:
1) Hinges vs. Pivots - The bookshelves will be approx 12"d x 24"w x 60"h, smaller than a "full size" standalone unit. I'm concerned that the weight of the unit plus books/etc may make traditional hinges a non-option. Should I assume this and proceed with pivots, or am I being my normal anal-retentive self and worrying too much?
2) Racking - Knowing that the units will indeed be suspended from one egde (or very close to the edge if a pivot is used), what worries will I have with racking? I was planing on a standard dado/rabbet case construction of 3/4" ply (maybe solid maple - haven't decided yet), 1/4" ply dadoed for the back, and adjustable shelves. Is this going to work in my case or should I beef up the construction? I'm thinking that maybe 1/2 ply should be used for the back, but then I'm adding another 10+ pounds to each unit.
Anyway, any guidance/suggestions are greatly appreciated - I want to do this right the first time :-)
Thanks,
--Henry
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I have been thinking about doing something similar. My current idea is to use casters on the bottom of the side opposite the hinges. Maybe have a toe molding that flips up to reveal and unlock the casters. This assume a hardwood or other smooth surfaced floor, of course.
I'm still in the thinking-about-it stage, so post to the group about what you decide to do, and how it goes for you.
Bill Ranck Blacksburg, Va.
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You might check out these japanese bookshelves for some inspiration. They dont swing but instead have 2 or 3 "layers" of shelves that slide back and forth infront of eachother to expose the rear shelves.
http://www.morisita.com/bookman/index.html (page in japanese but lots of nice pictures)
My parents imported some and they are very handy but I have never seen any like them in the US. -Paul
Big Al Dexter wrote:

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definitely put wheels or something on the "swing" side. They'll hold up the shelves (so they don't rack), and will help prevent scratches in the floor when you swing out the shelves.....
Let us all know how it works out..
--JD
henrywebb d0t com

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Good ideas from all. The one thing I failed to mention is that the units will be about 3 FEET off the floor (it's a REAL strange area that I have to work with - imagine a 9'6" wall that has a "hole" 3' off the floor and that's close) so the caster idea is out. I'll have to rely on the king studs or sill to carry the load totally... But, as mentioned, I think that hinges just may work (my front door is solid mahogany and I know it's well over 200 lbs - should've thought of that ;-))
Also, I think that since the objective is for this to appear hidden as well (forgot to mention that too!) that the pivots would be easier to hide from plain view (as they are mortised into the bottom of each unit).
Decisions, decisions... I'll take some pics and post them to a.b.p.w of the existing area tonight, and thenas I move forward will keep the wreck updated as to how it works. Fingers crossed, please!
:-)
--Henry

when you swing out the shelves.....
Let us all know how it works out..
--JD

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How about some piano hinges, they even use them(of proper quality) on aircraft. I think that they would be plenty strong, maybe a wire rope w/turnbuckle on the back to prevent racking, constant tension. Just an idea. Jesse M
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On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 19:19:27 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@henrywebb.com.invalid (Big Al Dexter) wrote:

I happened to visit a friend's house -- on Monday, about 2500 miles away, so I am always thinking of the problems posed here -- that has a full-sized door bookcase, fully loaded, on hinges. Not only does the unit hold books, but also a bronze bust and some trophies. Even empty, I bet the thing weighs a lot.
House was started in the 20s and finished after prohibition started. Built by wealthy "porcelin king" -- there are so many bathrooms in the house that even after staying there for years I found another one recently. Incredible tile work. 10 baths so far, I think.
Anyway, the door/bookshelf opens to the back of the bar. A 10" deep counterbalanced bookshelf drops down like a vertical pocket door to hide the bar itself. The wall it is in is about 40" thick. (That is, bar counter opens to one room; the door that lets you get behind the bar is accessed from another room.) Anyway, the "door" is built entirely with 1x oak; no 1/4" ply for the back. I did not get a chance to study the joinery. For clearance, the corner edge of the "door" that is on the latch side is actually rounded -- you can only see that feature when you open the door. Does that make sense? You know how you cannot, looking down from above, have a square corner for the latch-side rear corner or the door could not open; normally, that would be angled, but they rounded it. From the room-side, by using wide pieces of molding, they could make the inside of that same corner appear square. Beautiful work. BTW, the bookshelf side of the door and all the adjoining shelves in that room are painted white; you can only see the oak on the bar/in- side.
The hinges are hidden but not invisible -- it is not truly a hidden door. My guess is that this was the type of house that during prohibition did not have to worry about a raid -- well-connected owner. Then again, maybe there was something else used to hide the hinges back then. OTOH, the drop-down pocket-bookshelf on the other side does make the bar counter invisible.
The door is held with 3 large, but certainly not huge mortised-in hinges -- and it swings with no effort. The hinges are maybe 4" high and maybe 3" wide -- there are 2 columns of 3 screws on each hinge plate.
HTH. -- Igor
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Thanks for the info, Igor. This is exactly what I was hoping to hear. This may be a long shot, but is there any chance of getting a few digital pics of the door and it's molding details? I'm actually looking at that problem (having to bevel or round the hinged side) right now and would like to see what has actually worked in the real world. Any further details would be GREATLY appreciated!
Thanks again,
--Henry ______________________________________________________________________________________ To reply use henry @t henrywebb d0t com

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On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 13:10:03 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@henrywebb.com.invalid (Big Al Dexter) wrote:

at alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking. Note that the bevel/rounding is at the _latch_ side.
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Thanks, Igor - I'll have a look shortly... Appreciate all of the help!
--Henry
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