A Counter Flap Damper You’ll Bite Our Hand Off For

LAD schematic
Installed on the underside of a counter flap the LAD gives soft-closing motion.
The two parts are installed on flap and counter providing soft-closing and lift-assist when needed.
R Series
The correct kind of concealed hinge to use, conventional butt hinges are also a possibility.

Bar counter flap soft-closer

Counter flaps are often an unavoidable necessity giving staff access through a bar or counter top. But with gravity on their side and often considerable weight they’ll take your hand off given the chance.

There should, of course, be a means of securing the flap in the open position, for example sometimes a catch is attached to an adjacent wall. But the real danger arises when the flap is being closed.

A counter top flap is made of the same material as the bar itself so if solid oak is the surface of choice the flap will be immensely heavy. So heavy that it could run away with itself when being used without attention: turning itself into a sort of blunt guillotine.

Sugatsune set themselves the brief of coming up with a solution to this problem that combines elegance and simplicity. The result is the LAD Lift Assist Damper. Rather like the retro fit LDD door system it works on the principle of only being mechanically engaged at the key moments of closing. When the flap is opened the mechanism will not interfere with it’s free motion. When the flap closes a combination of powerful springs and dual dampers brings about a quiet and safe close.

LAD damper soft-closer

Anyone who has researched this problem will know that the usual solutions can be over-complex and expensive, the LAD is a sensible and highly practical response. It is flexible, coming in three torque ratings from 81-160 kgf-cm so it can be used with some pretty substantial flaps. It will also work on counter thicknesses from 15-25mm or more by using a spacer but best talk to Sugatsune if going that route.

The mechanism is easily installed using the supplied template and screws. It requires that the flap uses single axis or recessed hinges such as the R Series and not concealed furniture hinges. It can be retrofitted too which, as it’s surface mounted, is non destructive meaning that precious or period counters do not need to be routed.

Whilst the main purpose is to protect users from an uncontrolled descent the lift assist is also a boon making the flap much more usable – who knows, it may even get the staff out collecting glasses a bit more frequently.

With our ever growing awareness of health and safety, mechanisms like the LAD are sure to be routinely specified in any new bar fitout or refurbishment.

There are of course some bar counter flap disasters which even the Sugatsune LAD cannot protect against such as this rather famous open flap accident in “Only Fools and Horses”

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