The Revolving Door Lazy Susan (She's Trouble)

A revolving-door Lazy Susan is kind of like a bad dream. But there are ways to cope with it. October 2, 2007

I have to build a base corner with a revolving door lazy susan (32" wooden shelves). It seems a little tricky to me. Anyone have any tips?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor P:
Run, don't walk, away from this one, or if you're really stuck, make the agreement that once it's in and set, it enters the "no-callback" zone and you can never be bothered with it again.

Forget about 1/8" gaps at the doors - you'll spend precious hours trying to get them right, then someone loads the shelves, everything shifts just a hair, and you're back to a scraping nightmare.

Might be worthwhile to look at Hafele's system where the doors fold in and the whole thing revolves - I haven't used it yet.

Yep, color me bitter...

From the original questioner:
Thanks, I did not think about that. The designer who gave me the job was just complaining about the last one he did. It took him three hours to keep the doors from scraping. If I can't talk him out of it, one question I have is how to attach the door to the shelves? For that matter, how do you get the whole thing put together?

From contributor P:
Way easier to put everything together with the back off so you can reach inside. The instructions that come with the hardware kit are pretty comprehensive.

Dry runs and mockups will help you a lot. The less you have to reach inside through the door opening to mess with it, the better.

Three hours to adjust? That's nothing. Try nine. All on my back. Then another callback six months later when they heavily loaded one side of a shelf, causing the whole assembly to flex.

I hate these things! I actually dropped a good designer client because she insisted on them. Good luck with it nonetheless - no way you can do worse than I did!

From contributor B:
If what has been mentioned doesn't convince folks that style lazy susan is not great - I point out that if you don't move your hand fast enough, fingers can get pinched, and kids love to play with things that go round and round.

From contributor D:
I finished installing the Hafele lazy susan today. It was a little tricky since this was the first time I had used it. The directions included left a little to the imagination. I liked the way they listed the tolerances for all measurements at 0.5mm. That made me a little nervous, so I cut some plywood slab doors to the specs given in the instructions and installed them before ordering my doors or putting on the face frame. I recommend doing that if you are not comfortable with that system. It all worked out great, though. I expect the next one to go a lot smoother.

From contributor S:
This should not even be discussed. Congress passed a law in 1999 that prohibits the use of revolving door lazy susans due to the number of cabinetmakers committing devious acts of insanity and interrupting the gross national product output...

There was one documented case of an installer taking an entire unit out in the customer's backyard and jumping up and down on it till it was pulverized. It took three shots of vodka to steady his nerves!

If the police catch you installing one of these, you may lose your license. I, for one, will never touch one again - I've paid my dues.

From contributor T:
I build my own. They are difficult but I like them better than the double door setup and since I use ball bearings and 1" steel rod, it's smooth as silk. I will, however, lower the cabinet bottom below the face-frame in the future. 3/32" clearance all the way around is hard to manage. If you build your own, you can do 36" diameter too.

From contributor R:
If you have a corner cabinet with flush mounted doors and the customer wants a lazy susan, you basically have two choices. You can use no-mortise hinges for your hinge side door with lazy susan hinges in the middle and use a full circle type lazy susan. The second way is to use the pie-cut type lazy susan (revolving door type) and attach the doors to it. If you choose to use the pie-cut type, remember that you should not attach the back panels until the cabinet is ready to be installed. First clamp a strip of 3/4" x 3/4" material (plywood scrap, etc.) to the inside edge of L and R FF stiles top to bottom. Make sure they are flush with the back of the FF. Place the LS in through back of cabinet with shelves on and mounting brackets on top and bottom. Move pie-cut into the door opening and snug up against strips (strips will temporarily act as the doors). Now, adjust pole so that there is sufficient tension to keep LS in place while fine tuning the position of the shelves. Looking in from the back, eyeball the clearance for the shelves to revolve without hitting FF. Once you think you have it right, remove the strips and try to spin the LS. If it hits FF, reattach strips and readjust pole as needed. May take several attempts, but seven hours is not needed to do this. After the shelves are centered, trace around mounting bracket positions and screw mounting brackets to top and bottom of cabinet (you may have to loosen set screws on shelves and move up or down to secure mounting brackets). Remove strips and place one door into opening with 3/32" spacers under bottom edge and against FF stile, use quick clamp or other to hold door. Reach in from back of cabinet and screw through pre-drilled holes in shelf to attach door. If shelves do not have these holes for attaching doors, you will have to get creative. Repeat this with other door.