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This hack turns an Ikea HOL coffeetable-type piece of furniture (well, they call it a storage cube) into a side-opening cabinet. (The problem is that, unhacked, the HOL is top-opening so you can't stack them.) I use two stacked together as a printer stand plus as cabinets for my PC and ham radios.
Step 1: Decide which side you want to have fold down
he HOL has two sides (opposite one another) that are potential fold-downs and two that are
not. Choose one.
Step 2: Cut 1/2" off the bottom of the side you want to fold down
Remove the side you want to fold down from the HOL. Cut about 1/2" off the bottom feet of this side. This is necessary because when you fold down the side these feet are going to rotate and cause the whole unit to lift up. You can use a manual saw or a SkilSaw to do this.
Step 3: Trim 1/2" off the internal baseboard
Cut about 1/2" off the internal baseboard inside the HOL. The baseboard is the horizontal, almost-cardboard-like particleboard bottom to the HOL unit. It wants to slip into a slot in the side that you want to use as a fold-down, and that will prevent your desired side from folding down, so you need to trim the baseboard back. Again, normal saw or SkilSaw, or even a table saw, will work fine for this. While you're at it, you might want to cut a hole for power cords in the baseboard if you want to put anything electrical in your new shelf.
Step 4: Mount the folding sideWith the baseboard inside the HOL, mount the folding side at the bottom using the two ikea-provided fasteners, just like normal. Don't over-tighten the fasteners. The door will now be able to pivot on these fasteners.
Step 5: Cut a 3/4" x 3/4" x 17" piece of woodCut a piece of 3/4" x 3/4" x 17" wood. The 3/4" dimension isn't critical by the 17" dimension needs to snugly fit as described in the next step.
Step 6: Mount the wood on the inside top of the HOL
Mount this wood on the inside top of the HOL on the side you've chosen for fold-down. The purpose of this piece of wood is to act as a stop when the fold-down side of the HOL is in the up position. To mount it, drill two holes, one on each side of the HOL near the top, and use the Ikea provided fasteners or other fasteners of your own choosing to put it into position. The only critical positioning here is that the wood needs to be mounted such that when the door is up it is flush with the side surface.
Step 7: Add screw-eyes and wire support
Use some small eye-screws on the top of both the HOL unit and the fold-down door and use some picture hanging wire to run between them. The wire will provide support when the doors are down and keep them from going too far.
Step 8: Add a handle if you'd like
If you'd like, mount a handle near the top center of your fold-down door.
Step 9: Adjust the legs on the HOL top so they fit
Move two of the four "legs" (posts) on the top piece of the HOL back by an inch or so, enough to allow the top to go on now that you've installed the support piece of wood in step 6.
Step 10: Optional: add a shelf or twoYou can add an internal shelf by cutting a piece of 17" wide by however deep wood and then two support pieces about 1/2" x 1/2" x 19". Put the support pieces in the HOL using the holes in the side to
support it and then put the shelf on top of it.