WW cl@ss - fliptop cabinet part 3: Building the rotating platform

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Recovering tool addict
Corporate Member
Fliptop cabinet part 1
Fliptop cabinet part 2

Making the platform parts
Surprisingly, building the platform is the easy part in this project.

Trim the platform shelves by 1/8” down to 20 7/8”. This will give you 1/16” of clearance on either side, enough for the washers that will be used as spacers to fit. Next, cut some ¾” hardwood strips 18” long and 1” tall. Mark one face on each strip.

Drill ½” holes into the center of each strip. The best way is to use a drill press. Find the center on one of the strips, and use a fence and stop block to line it up on the drill press. This ensures you can repeat the hole for the other three strips. Always put the marked face up, so you can orient them correctly during assembly. Make sure you put a scrap piece of plywood below each strip as you’re drilling, to ensure you get a clean cut.

If you don’t have a drill press, find the center on one of the strips, and drill the hole. Now place it on top of the second strip, tape the two together using some blue tape, and drill through the first hole into the second. Repeat for the remaining two strips.

Measure 4” from the top of the left side panel in two places Draw a horizontal line between the two spots. Position the top of the hardwood strip against this line (marked face against the panel), and mark the hole on the side panel. Repeat for the right side panel, but this time put the marked side facing out. Drill the holes you just marked. Hold or tape a scrap piece of plywood on the inside, to prevent tearout. I suggest you enlarge the holes in the cabinet slightly using a round file. This will prevent the axle from blowing out pieces of plywood as you push it through.

Why all this complicated marking and flipping? The holes in the cabinet and platform have to line up exactly. It’s OK if the hole isn’t perfectly centered left-right, as long as everything is off by the same amount.

Making the axle
The axle is a ½” steel rod. The length will be 24”: 21” to span the platform, 1½” to span the two side panels, and then it has to stick out ¾” on each side to screw it onto the support blocks.

To prepare the axle, cut it to length, and flatten the ends with a metal file. See diagram 7.

Diagram 7

This is going to take a little time, so enjoy the process. A little cutting oil will help the filing go smoothly. Periodically, clean the file with a stiff brush. Try and make sure the top/ bottom flat sides are parallel, and the left/right flat edges are in the same plane. It doesn’t have to be super precise.

Drill a small hole through each flat side. The axle will be secured to the support blocks using a single screw on each end. I used a #8 1¼“ pan head metal screw. Make sure your screw fits in the hole.

The support blocks are ¾” hardwood blocks, 4” x 1”. See diagram 8. Drill 1/8” two pilot holes through the blocks for the screws. Push the axle through the holes in the cabinet side panels, and make sure it sticks out ¾“ on each side. Put some glue on the support block and position it under the axle so that the flat side rests snugly against it. Secure it with two #8 1¼” wood screws. Once the glue has dried, drill an 1/8” hole through each holes in the axle into the support blocks (or the pan head screw is likely to split the block). Remove the axle from the cabinet, you'll need it for the next step.


Diagram 8

Assembling the platform
See diagram 9. Lay one of the platform panels flat with the good face down. Using one of the hardwood strips, make layout marks on the “bad” face that’s facing up. Two strips will go on the edges, the remaining two will be spaced 6” from the edges (well, almost – we trimmed the panel by 1/8”, so it’s no longer a full 21”). Transfer the marks to the other panel, but on the good face.


Diagram 9

Spread a good layer of yellow glue on the bottom of each hardwood strip and press them onto the bottom platform panel, using the layout marks. Make sure you keep the marked sides all facing left, and each strip is parallel to the side. Carefully push the axle through the holes, this will ensure everything is lined up correctly. Secure each strip with two 1½” brads. Next, apply glue to the top of each hardwood strip, and put the top panel on (good face up of course). Using the layout marks as a guide, secure the top panel to the hardwood strips with two brads each. Now clamp the platform securely with whatever clamps you have available.

I used two 1/16” thick nylon washers as spacers between the inside of the side panel and the platform. The washers have a diameter of 1”, with a ½” hole through which the axle will fit. You can find them at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace Hardware etc. You may need to look in the “special fastener” drawers. Secure the washers on either side of the platform with a little glue, silicone glue works great. This is just so they don’t fall off during installation; they don’t need to stick permanently.

It will take a little fiddling to push the axle through the holes in the side panels, the washers and the platform. A little wax on the axle will help. I suggest that you lay the cabinet flat on the floor first. Once it’s through, secure the axle to the support blocks with the pan head screws.

Platform done!
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Recovering tool addict
Corporate Member
Re: WW cl@ss - part 3: Building the rotating platform

I got the idea for the axle from Monty's fliptop cabinet, it makes a lot more sense to secure the axle rather than having it rotate.

BTW, one good thing about doing a lousy job of measuring - at least I had a spare axle so I could take a picture afterward! This one is exactly 3" too short, since I originally measured the width of the platform, not the length. Measuring is definitely a useful skill. That little white circle above the axle in diagram 8, that was a patch for a hole drilled too high. Patch came out great, but I must have cut it out of the other side of the plywood since it totally does not blend in.


New User
This is better than any plan or book ever written. You are a great instructor. Thanks!:icon_thum
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