Hardware is supremely important to woodworkers, whether you’re talking about hinges, knobs, drawer slides, or latches, to name just a few categories. Some hardware is meant to be seen, showing off the sheen of polished brass or the intricate contours of a decorative casting, for example. But right now, I’m more interested in hidden hardware –the well-designed devices that stay out of sight most of the time. European-style cup hinges are probably the best known of these hidden heroes. When installed on a bank of cabinets, Euro hinges allow you to enjoy an unbroken composition of doors and drawer fronts.
The type of hidden hardware that has my attention lately is motorized lift hardware, designed to keep an item out of sight inside a cabinet until such time as the item is needed. Then with the press of a button, the hardware works its magic. What was stored out of sight is now front-and-center accessible. Some motorized lift hardware –like the hardware available from Touchstone Home Products, for example—can be used to raise or lower an item, giving you more design flexibility.
Large-scale lift hardware is available for use with jumbo-size flat-screen monitors. I’ve seen this hardware used in living rooms and bedrooms to keep the TV out of sight when not in use. It’s also possible to “drop” the TV out of a ceiling, a feature that really wowed me when I saw it used in a neighbor’s master bedroom.
I don’t want to leave out some important practical applications of motorized lift hardware. Smaller versions of this hardware are especially useful in the kitchen, enabling you to lower a heavy appliance (like a food processor, for example) from an upper cabinet –a safer, more convenient alternative to lifting by hand. Several other advantages are worth noting. In operation, most of the lift mechanisms I’ve seen operate smoothly and quietly. Activating the lift can be done with hard-wired, push button action or via remote control. And installation is not difficult.
I’m working on a major home renovation right now, and I’m really interested in exploiting the potential of lift hardware. To learn more, and see some videos of motorized lifts in action, visit the Touchstone website: http://www.touchstonehomeproducts.com/
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