Fall Flaps

Fall flaps for writing bureaus and cabinets where it is essential to preserve an uninterrupted flush writing surface are hinged with back flap hinges, and can be rebated/rabbeted over the carcass sides, as in the traditional sloping-front bureau, or inset between the sides, which is the usual method for modern bureaus, writing desks, cocktail cabinets in sideboards, etc. If the front is rebated (246:1) and the rebate worked along the front and down both sides (but not at the bottom), then a gap will show at the hinging point which was usually concealed in older examples by a shaped wing-piece glued to the carcass edges, as shown by the dotted line X. A better method is to stop the rebate as illustrated in the main drawing (246:1) and the inset (246:1 A). Inset flaps are hinged with a rebated fall flap joint (246:2), and the inset (246:2A) shows the flap in the lowered position. An additional bearer rail is provided under the flap, hollowed to receive the swing of the fall. Alternative methods of hinging are (246:3) pivot hinges described in Chapter 27, with the slight gap at the end of the recessed hinge not visible in either the open or closed position, and the patented stopped pivot hinge in 246:4 which supports the flap in the open position. This is only obtainable in mild steel, and, while it is strong enough for small flaps, would require additional stays for very heavy flaps. Figure 246:5 shows a method sometimes adopted in sideboards and wall fittings, using either butt or piano hinges, but the flap falls below the level of the inner base and is unsuitable for writing surfaces unless the flap is very deep. Chapter 27 should also be consulted for hinging methods.


These provide useful writing space and storage for papers in the top drawer of a chest or cabinet (247:1). The drawer front is a simple fall flap rebated/rabbeted as shown (267:2) to give a flush surface, hinged with brass back flaps and supported on brass quadrant stays which are recessed into the thickness of the drawer sides. It is obvious that the design of the chest must allow for the standard writing height of 2 ft 5 in (736 mm) or 2 ft 6 in (762 mm). As the hinged drawer front gives no support to the drawer sides a thick bottom must be provided, lap dovetailed into the sides, although the back portion can be of lighter plywood to cut down weight, grooved into the thick sides. The drawer front is held in the upright position by link plates at either end which engage in spring-loaded push-button catches recessed into the sides, both of which must be pressed simultaneously to release the front (247:3). As the drawer sides must be relatively thick the stationery divisions or 'pigeon holing' can be grooved in or built up as a separate unit. A wooden stop is fitted to the bottom of the drawer preventing it from being pulled out beyond the half-way mark, which can be adapted from the old method of secret joining shown in 248, in which a thin, springy lath was attached to the drawer bottom and engaged against the front drawer rail. To release the drawer the hand was inserted under the rail and the lath pressed up. Secretaire drawers can be adapted for toilet articles etc. in a man's dressing-chest and some examples have a hinged mirror which lifts up and is supported at the correct angle by a simple wooden strut. Brass catches and quadrants for secretaires are still obtainable.

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  • Bell Sackville-Baggins
    How to make a fallflap door?
    8 years ago

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