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Hidden Doors

prag's picture

Looking for information on creating a hidden door for the under the stairs.  Techniques, hardware etc.  Door will be disguised as a bookcase in a room of built-ins.  Help, can't find any information or books on subject.

(post #93499, reply #1 of 3)

A friend and I built a bookcase that was also a secret door. What we did was to use two short (3 to 4 foot) pieces of barn door track attached to the ceiling behind the bookcase. We attached the trolly hardware near each corner of the bookcase and adjusted them (they had an adjustable bolt/nut) so the bookcase fit correctly when it was closed. The bookcase was designed to fit behind the face trim. We thought at first that we would need to add some sort of latch to keep the door shut but found that the weight of the bookcase did just fine. To open the door you just have to push it. Of course this technique needs to have enough space behind the bookcase to work. In our case we were gaining access to a 10' by 12' unfinished area next to a daylight basement.

What kind of space do you have for the door to open? Do you need it to open into the room or can it open into the under-stair space?

(post #93499, reply #2 of 3)

No it is going in a full wall of bookcases and one section of the bookcases will have to hinge and swing out.  Any suggestions?  I know these use to be more common than they are today, any literture out there? 

(post #93499, reply #3 of 3)

Book suggestion:

I checked at in their book department and found one listed that sounds like it would fit the bill.

Secret Rooms Secret Compartments by Jerry Dzindzelta

The exact web page that has this book listed is:

If that does not work then go to and search under books by the title.

In the reviews of the book there were a couple of other books mentioned. This one sounds interesting enough I might buy a copy myself.

Possible Hinge Idea:

Books can be pretty heavy. One thing you might try is to use something like 1/2" bolts as pivot points through the front corner of the top and bottom shelf. Consider making the top and bottom shelf out of 2x material or at least re-enforcing it at the pivot points. Make the sides out of 1x or 3/4" plywood and the back out of 1/4" plywood. If everything is well attached together the 1/4" plywood should make a good diagonal brace for the door. The framework above and below the bookcase door needs to be sturdy enough to support the pivot points, especially when the door is open. The main trick in my opinion is to come up with a design for the bookcase that adequately conceals the fact that part of the bookcase can open. Whatever kind of hinge or pivot you use you need to carefully consider the arc that the bookcase travels through to make sure that nothing collides. This includes considering how any molding or trim moves if it is attached to the door rather than the frame.

I am interested in how this project progresses. I would be willing to help further with ideas.  If you do decide to buy the book I would like to hear what you think of it.