Bi-Fold Pocket Doors

A discussion of hinge choices to make bi-fold pocket doors for a TV cabinet. June 23, 2006

I have an entertainment center to construct that has a 55 inch plasma TV. I need to have pocket doors over the TV when not in use. Has anyone used piano hinges to make the pocket doors bi-fold into the cabinet? This is necessary due to the width.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor B:
We have done this before and it worked okay. The only significant trouble we had was that we barely had enough adjustability in the Accuride 123 hardware to get the reveals right. I am less than satisfied with that hardware's performance in general.

We actually built the doors 5/8" thick, mostly to accommodate the width of the client's TV, but it had the added benefit of making the doors lighter (they get to be pretty big levers). Although it made it a bit more challenging to make them flat. We tried to figure out a way around having the exposed hinge knuckle at the bi-fold, to no avail. Make sure you have provisions for stopping the doors at the bi-fold, in addition to at the center, so they will plane out.

From contributor S:
As an option to the piano hinge, you may want to consider soss hinges. You also should use the pocket door mechanism that uses a rack and pinion. I have found that these are the best and have a larger load capacity.

From contributor B:
Soss hinges are a great idea, I don't know why I didn't think of that! Completely agree with you also on the rack and pinion pocket doors.

From contributor M:
Grass makes a new bi-folding door hinge especially for 4 door setups in front of plasma TVs. You would need to drill 35mm holes in the back of the door to mount the hinge. Nice thing about the Grass hinge is it has some adjustability. Futaba also makes a surface mount bi-folding door hinge that is spring loaded and keeps the doors parallel when closed and in the folded position when open. They are real easy to use. I use these bi-folding doors in conjunction with the Accuride 123 retractable door hardware. I get my parts from MacMurray Pacific in CA. I've seen the same stuff at Rockler on the internet.

From contributor A:
All you have to do to make the door pairs lay flat when unfolded in this application is to hinge bind them together with piano or butt hinges laid flat on the back of the doors. They then can't fold out further than flat and you don't need any extra stops on the cabinet. What's all the need for a special hinge for such a basic application? You only ever see just the knuckle edge of the hinge when the door pairs are folded, and nothing at all when they are unfolded. Sometimes we seem to make mountains out of molehills.

From contributor J:
Contributor B and S, what brand rack and pinion do you use? I've used dozens over the years, and never had one of them operate even close to as smooth as either Accurides (with or without the cable), or the giant Hafele scissor ones.

From contributor T:
The Accurides can be stacked in pairs for taller doors with good results. Hafele (by far) are the best, but the application is quite different and then there is the price, but nothing works as sweet as these units.

From contributor D:
Schock rack and pinion. If they're not smooth, it's due to installation or environment (out of square cabinet and/or doors). So if you do it right, these are smooth.

From contributor J:
I'll give those a try next time. I see from their website they also make the kind with a follower.