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That Hole in the Floor #2: The cellar trap door, it works!

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Blog entry by Craftsman on the lake posted 11-09-2014 02:01 PM 10913 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The Trap door framing and mechanism Part 2 of That Hole in the Floor series no next part

I’ve finally gotten the door for the cellar to work well. Two chevy tahoe hatch lifts mounted in tandem provide just the right lift to make opening and closing the door a nearly one finger operation. This door probably weighs in at 100+ lbs so these piston lifts were mandatory and boy do they work well. I ordered Tahoe ones because I have a Tahoe and I could take exact measurements on the ones on the SUV before I ordered them from Amazon. They cost about $20 each.
If you wanted to see how the door is made click the first post in this series.

Here is a picture of the door closed. I have yet to put the baseboard on it that will go against the wall. the hinge shows in the lower part of the picture. I recessed it so that very little of the hinge bead is above the wood.

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This is the pricey stainless handle that I installed. At least its very rugged.

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The next two picts are of the hydraulic pistons that assist in opening an closing. They work nicely in that they help you lift when opening yet still catch the weight when closing. I figure the 100+ pound weight of the door is reduced to feel about a couple of pounds.


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The stainless continuous hinge and short rail that’s on the door itself. The hinge has long screws into the oak flooring. Each piece of oak flooring is screwed down and glued to the plywood underneath to ensure it not moving as the hinge opens and closes. Notice the long piece of angle iron lagged to the wall to catch the weight of the hinge side of the door when it’s closed.

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The longer part of the railing on the opposite wall, Notice the angle iron lagged onto the wall with a helper oak board beneath it that the door sits on when closed.. I don’t want any collapsing into the stairwell going on!

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Closeup of the hinge

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And a short video of it working. I have yet to finish of the staircase. right now it’s just the old staircase with the carpet ripped off. It will be finished in oak eventually. A direct link should this one not work for you
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-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.



12 comments so far

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

478 posts in 2978 days


#1 posted 11-09-2014 02:16 PM

This a really go use of creativity. Glad you could come up with a solution and execute it so well.

-- jstegall

View Bigrock's profile

Bigrock

290 posts in 2424 days


#2 posted 11-09-2014 04:48 PM

Hi:
The trap door came out well. If the piston go bad they are easy to replace. I really like the hand rail, which is very important. The hatch handle was a very nice touch. I can tell you put a lot of thought in the project to make it come that nice.
Great Project

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7796 posts in 2765 days


#3 posted 11-10-2014 12:20 AM

that is pretty snazzy, those lifts you used are the ticket, and the door does fit well as it does look like a part of the floor…the only part i don’t like is the having to bend over to pull the door up, i suggest a counter weight that just needs a slight pull to get the door to open…no bending over…besides that i give you a A+....great job

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2373 posts in 1653 days


#4 posted 11-10-2014 12:28 AM

Great design for this door, well thought out, and the craftsmanship is really nice as well.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Northwest29's profile

Northwest29

1494 posts in 1952 days


#5 posted 11-10-2014 07:07 AM

Dang, that’s one serious door, bet it weighs a ton. The hardware should last a very long time. All nicely done-

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2523 posts in 2900 days


#6 posted 11-10-2014 12:25 PM

Grizz.. the door lifts with one finger. It would be nice to be able to have it pop up on it’s own though. Don’t know how I’d do that. Then again it’s not used much either. Any ideas without making any huge mechanisms that would show or get in the way?

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View summerhouse's profile

summerhouse

6 posts in 218 days


#7 posted 04-30-2016 10:13 PM

For the Craftsman on the lake. You have a trap door in the floor which is exactly what I need to know about. I have a trap door which is part of a deck(to crawl space) it measures 53w x 46 deep and weighs probably 80-100 lbs. I need to be able to lift it and it will be cut it in half, inserting flush to deck handles on both doors, under the center of the doors a 2×4 or 2×6 with hangars each end so when the door is closed it rests on center beam so it doesn’t cave in. Similar vision as a Bilco door. I need hinges that are flat with no hinge sticking up to trip over and am having a hard time finding it. Can you help?
Your idea is great with the piston type lifters and I thought of that but our issue the door needs to be cut in two. Thank you. Thank you. Lois

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2523 posts in 2900 days


#8 posted 04-30-2016 10:53 PM

I used a heavy duty piano hinge. The bead of the hinge does stick up a bit on the floor which is no problem for us. I considered routing a rabbet where the door hing would go and sink the hinge lower. That would have put it in the floor. Don’t know if this helps.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View summerhouse's profile

summerhouse

6 posts in 218 days


#9 posted 05-01-2016 06:54 PM

Yes I saw the piano hinge. It was a thought but considering the lift is 7 2×6’s, I need a strong hinge. I may have to sink the hinges as you say. Thanks, Lois

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

3392 posts in 1666 days


#10 posted 05-02-2016 06:20 AM

Daniel Nice work on the trap door.
I had a good look at the pictures and video and it appears you have mounted the units piston up.
Have a read of the note below and see if your orientation assembly is correct.

Note:
Mounting Orientation
If possible, install gas springs so that the piston rod points down in the inactive state – unless they were
designed for non-orientation specific installation.
This will ensure optimum lubrication of the guide
and sealing system at all times.
No Jamming
For a long service life, gas springs.

The reason for this is because inside the unit there is oil and pressurised gas if they are orieneted piston up no lubricating oil is on the piston seal as the piston moves in and out.

-- Regards Robert

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2523 posts in 2900 days


#11 posted 05-02-2016 10:12 AM


Daniel Nice work on the trap door.
I had a good look at the pictures and video and it appears you have mounted the units piston up.
Have a read of the note below and see if your orientation assembly is correct.

Note:
Mounting Orientation
If possible, install gas springs so that the piston rod points down in the inactive state – unless they were
designed for non-orientation specific installation.
This will ensure optimum lubrication of the guide
and sealing system at all times.
No Jamming
For a long service life, gas springs.

The reason for this is because inside the unit there is oil and pressurised gas if they are orieneted piston up no lubricating oil is on the piston seal as the piston moves in and out.

- robscastle

Yup, there was a reasn for this. With the door open, the bottom end of the piston has to be mounted away from the attachement to the jamb. The further away it’s mounted the better lift the piston has. Mine is mounted about 6 inches away. Any longer and we’d hit it with our heads going down. The top (rod end) is mounted about an inch away. The goal was to make it close to the door so the difference would be greater. Thing is, when the door is open the cylinder from the piston would bind against it if I had it mounted on that end as it’s thicker. I hope this makes sense. If I were to mount the piston further away, I need to increase the distance from the other end too making it stick out even more.

Now, I could do this and it probably would work out pretty good but that’s the way it was in my mind to give the best lift and still not be in the way. You know the old addage. Second time around will be better. But, you’re right about the orientation. Maybe someday I’ll have to replace it. Not too expensive and they clip on.

Thanks for the comment.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Buckbrook's profile

Buckbrook

1 post in 91 days


#12 posted 09-06-2016 06:02 PM

Very nice. I have the same situation and my wife can’t lift the door on her own. I’m curious – did you buy the hardware or did you have to make it on your own?

Regards, AJ

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