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Articulating Shelf Made in a Woodworking Shop

How to add shelves at the front of a cabinet that slide out and fold out of the way
August 28, 2023

In this video, Ramy Wafy illustrates how to build an articulating shelf. The hinged articulating shelf can be used in shop cabinets, dressing rooms, or kitchens and baths. This box is a mock-up for demonstration purposes on which we will work on the hinged flap.

Start by building the shelf box.

The sides are about 3/16 inches shorter than the inside height of the box, and the width is about 3/16 inches smaller than the inside opening minus two board widths to accommodate the articulating hinge.

With the inner box built, he finds the center of the two boxes and begins assembling the articulating arm for the hinge.

Attach the hinge for the articulating shelf

He mortises the pieces that will receive hinge wings and attaches the hinge to them. The hinge arms are then screwed into the back, along the center line‚ the center of the hinge sits over the center line.

Another hinge arm is fastened to the first set 90 degrees downward from the first. This arm will secure to the cabinet box, anchoring the articulating hinge and shelf.

Installation method for articulating shelf

He rounds over the edge, so it will not rub against the cabinet box when opening and closing.

He extends the floor of the cabinet onto his work table with a piece of wood the same thickness. Next, he adds a scrap of 3/16-in. or 12/4-in. plywood for the shelf to sit on, to provide the needed clearance.

Because there is a little play in the hinge arm assembly, he raises the hinge arms as much as he can and fastens them into the cabinet side—clamping the arm in place, drilling pilot holes, and finally, fastening with trim screws.

He notes that he is using whatever hinges he had lying around his shop, not heavy-duty hinges, nor is he using the best 'wood' choice. He calls it foam, but it looks to be like AZEK PVC trim stock.

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