Lift-Up Pocket Doors for Appliance Garages

A discussion of how to design and make a cabinet door that lifts up and slides back into the cabinet like a garage door.November 5, 2013

The microwave sits in the island cabinet. The door in front is shaker style. The inset door bead was applied to cabinet. The customer wants this door to lift up and slide in. Is the solution pocket door hardware?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
Similar applications use a pocket door hinge on horizontal.

From contributor D:
We do this as it has been done for a few centuries. It involves four dowel pins, two on each side of the door, with one midway between the top and bottom corners and one at the upper corner, each side. A groove is routed in the cabinet sides. The sides must be flush with the opening. A knob or pull is provided on the lower edge of the door.

When the knob is pulled, the lower edge lifts out and up, pushing the upper pins straight back in the groove, and the center pins go straight up until the door is parallel to the counter/cabinet bottom. Then it can be slid back in its horizontal position to stops to keep the knob from hitting. Tighter opening to door tolerances are needed - not loose tolerances, or the door will twist and may bind. A little wax once complete makes it surprisingly smooth.

Mock it up to see how easy it is. The routes run parallel to the vertical edge and to the upper horizontal edge, and meet at 90 degrees. We like brass pins at 1/8" diameter for 3/4" work, 1/4" for 1" doors. At times we mount the pins in strips on back edge of the doors to get the geometry a little better.

This is surprisingly easy to make and operate, and requires nothing more than know how, and no hardware. It also showcases skills over buying a solution, and as such helps set your work apart from the others.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the input. That is a solution I was thinking of, but the cabinet is already installed. The customer asked for this after the job was completed. I would not be able to rout the groove at the top inside the cabinet. Is there a way to groove at 3/4 down inside the cabinet made of veneer ply?

From contributor N:
If your cabinet sides have scribe or are not flush now, add a panel with the routed slot already in it maybe?

From contributor D:
I have retrofitted the flip up pocket doors that way - by adding routed panels behind face frames. I also mounted strips on the back of the door to mount the pins, making install easier.