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How do I make a strong retractable when in use yet walkable cover for a sunken pit?

Sree_DIY
New Contributor

How do I make a strong retractable when in use yet walkable cover for a sunken pit?

Hi ,

 

I am looking to make a Merbau top retractable landing/cover for my sunken pit build. Up for a challenge?!

 

Clearly my first attempt to make a cover for the sunken pit in the far corner of the backyard has failed miserably. 

 

I have tried to make the cover with marine plywood screwed below with merbau (truly really heavy) on top to sit flush at ground level and currently on a very long hinge x 2,  I got from bunnings but through weather (rain and sun) has warped and does not sit well. So used support beams below for support to keep it flush. still No luck.

 

I was thinking of incorporating a metal frame perhaps with a gas lift piston so that it would sit inside the square and be flush and when needed can be lifted easily. 

 

Now the rest of the Merbau top+marine ply sits in the Alfresco area.

 

Any ideas?

 

Thanks 

 

Nathan.

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MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How do I make a strong retractable when in use yet walkable cover for a sunken pit?

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @Sree_DIY. It's amazing that you've joined us, and many thanks for your question.

 

As impressive as a cover that is all one piece is, as you've found, it will be cumbersome. If you were to use four SpecRite 1800 x 902mm Merbau Slat Screen Panels, then you could have them concertina with hinges. Instead of making them all go to one side, I'd recommend two panels on each. You'll need an internal ledge for the perimeter of the panels to sit on. The panels come with additional frames on their backs, but you might still like to incorporate your stands to support them in the middle. Alternatively, you might just like to have these four panels sit on the ledge and lift them out when needed. This would save creating the hinge mechanisms.

 

Let me mention @redracer01 to see if he has any suggestions.

 

Mitchell

 

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Sree_DIY
New Contributor

Re: How do I make a strong retractable when in use yet walkable cover for a sunken pit?

Hey @MitchellMc , thank you for responding to the post. 

 

Firstly, your recommendation and illustrations are definetly a mind opener.

 

This has got me thinking. I am happy to replace or push outward the exsisting merbau perimeter border upto 3 inches thus making an inner ledge (sleeper log below) for the panels to rest comfortably ( also would be a great addition to place wine glasses and drinks on in the future), however the inner measurements of the Sunken pit are 2530mm length X 2040mm breadth. 

 

Alternatively, I have looked at the Protector Aluminium 2450 x 1500mm Custom Picket Top Boundary And Garden Fence Panel or Protector Aluminium 975 x 1200mm Double Top Rail All Up Garden Gate - To Suit Gudgeon Hinges - Satin...  as a frame (maybe x 2 at the special order desk for sizing options) onto which the merbau exsisting panels can be attached. And perhaps gas structs to lift it ?

 

What are your thoughts? @MitchellMc @redracer01 

 

Nathan.

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MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How do I make a strong retractable when in use yet walkable cover for a sunken pit?

I had a look to see what grade gas strut would be needed. The highest-rated we seem to keep would be the Goliath 700mm 650N Black Gas Strut rated at 650N, which would assist with 66kgs of weight. Our Goliath gas struts are supplied by UES international, and here's their catalogue included some higher rated struts. 

 

This might be a bit far-fetched, but after a discussion on sliding gates yesterday, imagine if you could get your panels to slide open automatically using a Richmond sliding gate opener. Now that would be amazing!

 

I'll also mention @ProjectPete, as he's done some fabulous work with his hidden pool pump and filter and might have some ideas.

 

Mitchell

 

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Sree_DIY
New Contributor

Re: How do I make a strong retractable when in use yet walkable cover for a sunken pit?

HI @MitchellMc,

 

@ProjectPete has done some excellent work & there are some great options to implement.

If only I were a metal fabricator to get this done. I am looking for options on how to and whom to contact.

 

Nathan

 

 

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