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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 09-30-2010 01:41 AM 2087 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4189 posts in 3155 days

09-30-2010 01:41 AM

I am pulling together some design ideas for a floor-model Gentleman’s toolchest/workbench. I want to make a top for it to disguise what it is when it’s not being used. In other words, I want the “lid” to be used for storage, when opened, for saws, chisels, and the tools I most often reach for. The lid will be approx 60 inches wide by 27 inches, and perhaps 6 inches deep.
This will necessitate some sort of lifting accessory, as the whole works will be perhaps 100 pounds heavy. I’ve thought of Murphy wall-bed hardware applied to the design, but I wonder if those gas-filled cylinders used for hoods and trunk lids would work?? Has anyone ever tried adapting these to a lid-lifting application? Other than trial and error, is there some way of knowing which cylinders would be right for this type of application?
Here’s a pic of the item that inspired me: Antique Bench/toolchest

As you can see, the lid lowers onto the bench top when it’s not in use. This particular toolchest was featured in LJ in a thread about eBay postings, perhaps a year ago. I intend to make full use of that vertical space with tools securely stowed in the top, unlike the way that space is under-utilized in the photo.
I intend to pack a lot of tools into the lid, which is why I think i’m going to need some sort of lifting apparatus. Any ideas? Thx in advance!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

5 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17575 posts in 3096 days

#1 posted 09-30-2010 04:29 AM

I don’t think it will be too heavy to lift. Being hinged, you are only lifting part of the weight and at 27” wide, yoiu have a good advantage on it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BTKS's profile


1984 posts in 2885 days

#2 posted 09-30-2010 04:37 AM

As for gas filled cylinders, you need to know the weight and length of travel. If the load of tools changes you may have a lid that comes open on it’s own. I think TopamaxSurvivor is right. I wouldn’t worry too much about opening it. I would worry about the lid closing on it’s own and your head, hands or fingers. Look into a positive lock or a prop of some kind. (joke) You could have a hood prop from a car hood instead of the cylinders.
Good luck with the project.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View jusfine's profile


2405 posts in 2346 days

#3 posted 09-30-2010 06:17 AM

You can buy small cylinders from a place that sells the better canopies or “toppers” for pick up trucks at a very reasonable price.

Years ago I wanted to make a rolling tool-tote for service work with a top like that (much smaller of course) and that’s where I found the gas “cylinders”.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View naugled's profile


21 posts in 2273 days

#4 posted 09-30-2010 06:20 PM

Lifting is the secondary issue, the more important issue in my mind is the closing. You can’t allow this thing to fall shut. If it is going to weigh around 100 pounds and falls shut you can potentially crush or cut off fingers.

I like they murphy bed spring idea. It might be best to make your own hinge assembly though. That way you can tune it to the exact weight requirements and possible hide the mechanism in the unit some how.

You might also be able to hide some counter weights in it some how to balance it. Like old window weights.
Or counter balance the lid some how. But you’ll be adding a lot more weight to the unit.

Personally I’d explore the murphy idea first.

Good luck, please post when you decide which approach you use.

View poopiekat's profile


4189 posts in 3155 days

#5 posted 10-01-2010 03:54 AM

Thanks All!
I’m going to make a hypothetical layout for the tools to be stowed in the lid. Then I’ll get a fix on the approximate weight. Yes, it’s quite possible that the whole works can be lifted manually! I’ve already got a tentative plan in my head for a hinged support that will hopefully hold the lid in one steady position. It will be a month or two before I get a few obligations out of the way; then I’ll dive headfirst into this project and see what it does for me. Thanks everyone for your great feedback!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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