Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Kitchen Desk and Ives Pocket Door Hangers

Those two things wouldn’t seem to go together, but for the purpose of this blog entry they do. First the desk. There is a small alcove in the kitchen that has caused me constant consternation. It is small and essentially dead space in the kitchen. I had a small cabinet there for a while, but that ended up going in to the butler’s pantry.

Next I put the refrigerator in the alcove. It was a nice fit, but in the end didn’t work well. It was just a very awkward place for the fridge. It was out of the way and inconvenient. Then a few months back I was watching The New Yankee Workshop and Norm was building a built-in kitchen desk. It was a forehead slapping moment for me. Suddenly it was obvious what I needed to do with this space.

A few months back I built the frame. The desk fills the entire space and is fixed to the wall with no real legs. I used cast iron brackets at the front that are of a similar style to the ones I used on the island. When I made the built-in cabinets in the dining room I was forced to buy an entire slab of marble, so there was plenty left to do a marble top for it. It is really the perfect solution for this spot.

Now on to the Ives pocket door hangers. When I opened the wall that separates the parlor from the foyer I found that the house at one time had pocket doors there. The pocket was there and the track, along with a half of one of the rollers. Although it would have been nice to find doors and a complete set of rollers, having the one piece with the manufacture's name on it meant that I could – with luck and time – find the other parts that I needed.

It took about 3 years, but I eventually found the parts. Three years sounds like a long time but it really wasn’t that big of a deal because I didn’t have the doors either. I’ve since gotten doors and hung them on the rollers and once again all is right with the opening between the parlor and foyer. Hmm, actually, it is far from right, because the plaster is thrashed and the trim is still not up, but at least the doors are there and they work.

So why am I going back in to all of this now. Well, last week I got an email from someone in a similar situation. He has a partial set of rollers and is trying to figure out how it all goes together. It is tough enough with a complete set, but with only a partial set it is kind of like pissing in the wind.

So I told him I would post something on the blog with photos to show how it all goes together.

Above is the top half of the roller. This is the part that suspends from the tack. This was the one piece I was left with. More on the little do-hickey later.

This is a complete set of 4 rollers. This is what is needed to hang two doors. If you compare this picture to the one above you’ll notice that there is a second piece added to the bottom of each roller. This is the part that is screwed on to the top of the door. And there is that do-hickey again. You’ll need two of those.

Here is the base mounted to the door. There are keyed slots that the roller assembly slides in to. If you go back to the first picture of the rusty roller you can see the two tabs that fit in to those slots. You can all so see how the set-screw goes through both parts. Once they’re are in you tighten the set-screw to keep them from backing out.

The track is two, 1-inch square pieces of wood screwed on to the framing, with a one inch gap between them. In the middle of the track are two removable pieces. When you are hanging the doors you put the roller part up in the track first. The rollers are put through the hole made when you remove the 2 removable pieces from the track. You then mount the base to the door and then attach the base to the roller.

Here they are fully assembled. In the picture you can see two screws. The bottom screw is the set-screw that holds the two parts of the rollers together. The top screw is the adjusting screw to adjust the height and level of the door once it is hung. The threads for the screws are standard machine threads, but I don’t recall the size. I took my roller to hardware store and just tried screws until I found one that fit.

Finally, the do-hickey. These mount on the floor, just inside the pocket opening. They are each 3.5 inches long and 1-inch high. There is a groove in the bottom of the door that slides along this and keeps the doors centered in the pocket so they don’t bang around while you open and close them.

I hope this helps. Good luck.


G. Robison said...

Oh, now you need a bookshelf between the desktop and window for your cookbooks!

Greg said...

How funny. I was sitting at the desk on Sunday balancing the checkbook and I thought to myself, "I should make a shelf right there below the window".

I see a nice redwood shelf on cast iron brackets in my near future.

Karen Anne said...

I have a desk like that in my kitchen. It is so useful.

It's not my main desk, but since I process mail in the kitchen, it's a good place for stashes of stamps, address labels, envelopes, a stapler, postcards, folders of house receipts, my address book, and other such goodies.

Greg said...

Yes, it is a great use of space.

rockyjessica said...

I know this is a year later...but we have the exact same set up in our house for the pocket doors and are desparetely trying to find some missing pieces for the wheel assemblies! I saw you noted after 3 years you found some parts for yours...any advice on where to look for these? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Greg said...

I found mine on eBay. Set up a search with an email reminder. There are also a lot of great antique hardware sites out there. Do a Google search and be sure to go past page 2 of your search. There are a lot of obscure sites out there that don't show up in the first few pages of a Google search.