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Horizontal tambours anyone?

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Eric The Viking

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It's a subject that hasn't come up very often here, according to my searches.

I'm mulling over a curvy design for a TV stand/storage system, which would have horizontally-running tambour doors. I found some references, and there's a section in Alan Peters' revision of Joyce, which is frustrating in what it doesn't say!

Unless I do something to address the problem, the weight of the door is borne solely on the end of the slats and the bottom groove. I'm guessing this will cause it to wear and or become stiff over time, so I'm wondering about other strategies:

Is it worth trying to arrange some sort of bearing system to avoid excessive wear on the lower groove of the tambour? I'm wondering about insetting a small bearing, say every fifth slat, so that it rolled rather than slid. Given I was going to rout the grooves in some sort of faced board (don't wince please!), I'm guessing I'll have to line the bottom groove anyway - a problem as I don't want it to travel on straight lines. Another alternative is to 'hang' the tambour on something like curtain track. I was planning an upper 'valance' to hide the top, so that's also possible.

Also, I'd guess genuine canvas of a suitable weight is hard to obtain these days. So if not canvas, what's the preferred material (Alan Peters says 'silk!')?

I'd be interested to know if anyone has tackled a horizontal tambour. There was a stunning marquetry piece at Cheltenham in 2010, running horizontally past fretworked sides. To my shame, I can't remember who it was by, but it ran beautifully and looked gorgeous.

Thoughts appreciated,

E.
 

monkeybiter

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Can't remember the site [sorry] but I saw construction details where the slats were effectively tongue and groove where the tongues were 'mushroom shaped' in cross section, with matching grooves. There was no cloth backing needed as the slats were interlinked. Making them was a different matter, I seem to remember they were made in two identical halves, outer face and inner face, then glued. The tambour was assembled by sliding them together. Food for thought?
 

Eric The Viking

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Hi Henning,

I've just spent a happy 20 minutes watching the video and looking for a good price on-line! There are some eBay suppliers who will ship, too, so I may save up and buy the set.

My only concern is how they'd work on a horizontal set of doors: Obviously these slats are loose, which would be really good for a vertical tambour (roll-top desk, etc.), but might cause problems when used horizontally.

You could, just about, support them above with a rail, but it wouldn't be at all easy and might be fragile.

I do like the simplicity of the idea though. Many thanks for the link,

E.
 

Chrispy

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Looks very simple but if all the tambours are loose whats to stop the door racking? thats one of the jobs the backing canvas does.
How tall is your door to be and how heavy? wood has been sliding on wood in drawers etc. for years with out to many problems.
 

Eric The Viking

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I'm not sure yet about the height, Chris.

Height would be around 26-28" (that's the length of a tambour slat), determined by the stack of equipment I need to get underneath the TV. Why tambour? Because they can open to a varying amount - just the centre to get at the equipment, or one/both sides to get at the DVD storage too. I need to do more design/planning on it first.

Regarding the tambour racking: it might be avoided by use of something fairly elastic glued to the back, or my initial thought which was to suspend the top edge from some sort of supporting track, letting gravity keep it parallel.

Cheers,

E.
 

bosshogg

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You do get tambour door router bits for the slat joints these days of course, does away with the backing altogether. Yuo can see the system in operation here http://www.amanatool.com/ where you can bye the cutter set as well...bosshogg :)

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
Albert Einstein 8)
 

9fingers

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Gut feeling is that I agree with ETV that vertical slats will eventually stick in the bottom slot and that some sort of track system where each slat is hanging on a low friction support would help.
A taught length of roller chain with slats hooked onto the links?

Another more complex method might be to rig up an equivalent of a drawing board parallel motion but attached to the end slats at the top and bottom with springs to keep it in tension all the time. Not thought this through fully (that's for your to do !!) an there might be some mechanical clash if you are proposing two such doors. Although (thinking on my feet here) you might well be able to link them as a pair to open together - like corded curtains.
Vertical tambour would be a whole lot easier with gravity on your side. I've done a cloth backed one with counterbalance springs that works quite well but needs a slightly different spring system to balance the door at all positions. Maybe one day?......

Bob
 

Eric The Viking

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I"m thinking about adapting something like these curtain tracks to take the weight. There are two advantages: thy can be bent by the end-user and, being aluminium, will stay put easily. Aluminium also gives some choice of fixing method. The runners seem to be metal, too, and projecting down enough to allow careful screwing into a tambour slat near the top (or to a block and that to the slat).

It defintely will be fiddly to do, but it might look quite nice...
 
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