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Pivoting Bookcase

Listing #4284   Listed on: 12/11/2013

Company Name: Morantz Custom Cabinetry Inc.

Contact Name:   Harold

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We just finished building and installing a pivoting bookcase that hides a clients master bedroom. It is 15" deep and 40" wide and 90" high. It was an afterthought of the clients after we built and installed a bookcase next to the bedroom. The pivoting bearings and stainless steel 3/4" diameter pins were made by a local CNC machine shop that specializes in the aircraft and marine industries. This hardware was mounted on the hardwood floor and into a reinforced soffit which we were able to access with a hole in the ceiling in front of the unit. The unit weighs 350lbs but pivots like a feather. Many sleepless nights were spent on this project, but it turned out great.

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Viewer Comments:

Posted By: ML     [12/12/2013]
How do you keep the books from falling off the open end while opening the door? If you stack them rather than up on end won't it be apparent that something is quirky? Other than that - nice job!

Posted By: Bob     [12/12/2013]
Sounds interesting, any chance you could take the video from just a bit further away so we can actually see what's happening?

Posted By: Gerry     [12/13/2013]
Nice job, but further to ML's point, I'm guessing that you can't add much weight near the open end before the unsupported corner begins to sag.

Posted By: JeffM     [12/16/2013]
No doubt, it's cool. Why didn't you add a side to the end of the shelves opposite the hinge?

Posted By: GC     [12/30/2013]
I dont grasp the whole thing.....I love this kind of stuff...I just don't understand the layout and how it makes something else hidden. The video wasn't helping me much either.

Posted By: Harold morantz     [12/31/2013]
Hi GC. The original wall unit in the first frames extends from an angled wall to within 3" of the door frame that leads into a master bedroom. The designer on this job was asked to design a wall unit with a pivoting section that would hide the bedroom entrance. The designer thought he would talk the client out of the pivoting idea after the initial wall unit was installed and I never knew of this ultimate request of the client. After being paid for my work , the designer said the pivoting section was not technically possible and the client insisted that she wanted it. The designer disappeared and left me with the issue. The existing door to the bedroom with the surrounding frame had to be removed and the 4"stud wall behind the unit at the far left had to be cut flush with the end of the unit and plastered smooth so that we could build the pivoting unit and install it to within 1/16" of an inch of the existing wall unit. It had to have an open end to meet the 3" column and look like a natural continuation of the existing unit. The grey melamine model in the photos shows a scale model we played with with a pivoting pin that would rotate the unit 90degrees. It opens into the master against an exterior wall and closes flush with the existing unit. When closed it is really hard to see that it is not one unit. The pivoting bearings were installed in the hardwood floor and a reinforced drop ceiling. We made templates for the floor and ceiling to position the bearing supports, installed the hardware and dropped a pin into the top through the open ceiling into the top matching bearing built into the unit. After we checked that it all fit, the ceiling access hole was plastered and no visible hardware can be seen. The video starts with the unit closed and then shows my cabinetmaker opening it into the bedroom. It is about 300lbs, but a 5 year old can open and close it with no effort. The pivot bearings and supports were built by a machinist from machined aluminum and stainless steel. If you go to my site on you can see more pics which I will download here. Hope this explains the concept for you. After walls are painted and unit is stocked, I will return and take more pics. Harold.

Posted By: Sherwood     [01/02/2014]
The shop pix look like its made from particle board. If that's the case I would expect it to sag with time. The succesful ones I've seen have been made from plywood and/or fir.

I have a friend who has several book case doors in his house. He uses a barstool bearing plate (2 metal plates about 8-10 inches across with rows of ball bearings between the plates) If you use dark trim, then any joint crack is harder to see.

The last one he built used two layers of 5/8" plywood for the back, then re-enforced this by bolting a 2x4 on edge diagonlly on the back.

Bookcase doors are hard because the forces are so out of balance. If they are loaded full of books, not only does it try to rack so that the non-supported corner drags, but also to wind, with the upper off hinge corner warping out, and the lower one warping in.

I could see using axle bearings from a truck for this too, as a cheaper source of parts.

Posted By: Thomas     [06/25/2014]
Harold have you ever tried Rixson Pivot hinges?

Posted By: harold     [06/25/2014]
The rixson pivot hinges would not work for this application. The ceiling is a dropped ceiling and it was reinforced under the drywall with an 8" high torsion box. Due top the size and weight of this piece and the bottom and top clearances, we had to have a custom pin system made. The unit was slid into place onto the floor mounted bearing and then a stainless pin was inserted from the hollow space in the ceiling where we installed a bearing sytem and matching bearing in the top of the cabinet. after this pin was dropped into place and the whole thing was tested for clearance to the next unit, the ceiling was patched and plastered.As i already described, this is not to hold books or heavy weight. The client has put some acrylic picture frames that were secured with clear double sided tape to a few shelves and there are some papiermachie scultpures secured the same way. The open end of the unit has 3 rubber casters and there has not been any sagging at all. The casters are an added measure, but i dont think any weight is actually on them. The unit closes with less than 1/16 gap between it and the permanent bookshelf and it is over 7'high and 15"deep and 40" wide, so the custom made pivoting system was well worth the cost.We are talkiing about a clients whim and a bottomless pocketbook.

Posted By: harold     [06/25/2014]
To the question of the particleboard construction; that is just the model mockup to see if the pivot pin systen would work. I used plywood to build the actual cabinet. We could not have an end wall on the left side because then it would look like a serate unit when closed. The client wanted it to look like one long unit with the 3" thick columns joining the 3/4"shelves.

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