Hidden Bookshelf Door

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Project by Terry Burks posted 08-01-2010 03:59 AM 17154 views 20 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I converted an existing attic space to a hidden playroom (I will submit it as a separate project) for my girls. I have always been intrigued by doors concealed as built-in bookshelves and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. After much internet research of others who have done this, I settled on a unit with fixed shelves for the greatest rigidity. The entire bookshelf box and shelves are 3/4 inch birch plywood. The key to success is using the correct hinge. I chose the Rixson Center Hung Pivot hinge set which was rated for 500 lbs. While this was not cheap, after installation I decided it was the best choice. It is a quality product and fairly intuitive to install. I was able to hang my entire body weight on the opened shelf unit without so much as a creak (except for maybe my arm joints). I spent a great deal of time to make sure the upper and lower hinges were placed exactly in vertical alignment. I was pleased with the result being a shelf unit that is perfectly level no matter what position it is in and stays put in any position. I used a simple magnetic catch to hold the door snugly closed.

-- Terry - Willis, Texas

14 comments so far

View patcollins's profile


1687 posts in 3133 days

#1 posted 08-01-2010 04:05 AM

Wow that’s really awesome. It would be a great panic room too, from the picture I doubt anyone would know it was there if you didn’t tell them.

View PurpLev's profile


8550 posts in 3916 days

#2 posted 08-01-2010 04:06 AM

very very cool!
nicely done

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3756 days

#3 posted 08-01-2010 04:35 AM

Terry, great execution, wish I would have known about those hinges when I did my hidden room bookshelf project. Mine was more of a Harry Potter room, under the stairs deal for storing toys. Can’t wait to see what hides behind the bookshelf.

-- James

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18463 posts in 3944 days

#4 posted 08-01-2010 04:58 AM

Great build, I have always been intrigued by hidden rooms too. I was wondering what you would use for a hinge. Right there it was;-)) Books are heavy, but that should hold ‘em.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3941 days

#5 posted 08-01-2010 05:19 AM

Thats a good idea!

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 3794 days

#6 posted 08-01-2010 05:35 AM

wow, that is so cool!

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4042 days

#7 posted 08-01-2010 05:48 AM

Love hidden places. Just did a dresser with a hiding space. Also did a hidden room. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3344 days

#8 posted 08-01-2010 02:16 PM

Yea Terry, that is indeed very cool. I have always wanted to have something like this when I was a kid. I forgot all about it till seeing your project. I will also add I really like how you pulled it off. I was expecting the whole shelf to open… I was tickled to see how you left the top and bottom secure and just the shelves themselves open up…. Have I said this is cool yet?

The one thing I did see (you know how us parents can just visualize things going wrong…lol) is someone opening it to fast….. the shelves hit the rail… and books or what not go flying down the stairs. At least I could see my kids doing something like that…lol

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View toxicoval56's profile


162 posts in 3771 days

#9 posted 08-01-2010 02:44 PM

This is the best part about the playroom. I love this door. Very cool.

-- The view only changes for the leading dog.

View Terry Burks's profile

Terry Burks

22 posts in 3320 days

#10 posted 08-02-2010 04:22 AM

Thanks for all the kind comments. Dan, when designing this I did think about the possibility of things coming off of the shelves and over the railing. However, even though the bookshelf swings smoothly, the sheer weight and mass of it keep it from being flung open quickly, it swings slowly. Also, I built into it a soft stop that prevents it from hitting the railing, so we are hoping this will work fine. So far, so good.

-- Terry - Willis, Texas

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 4202 days

#11 posted 08-03-2010 06:03 PM

That is SWEET! Your girls are going to remember that forever. Great work!

-- Robb

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3463 days

#12 posted 08-03-2010 07:21 PM

Very cool door. I wish I had a place I could try this in my house.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View Bard's profile


37 posts in 2660 days

#13 posted 01-28-2012 07:50 AM

Very cool Terry!

View Timthemailman's profile


327 posts in 3044 days

#14 posted 01-24-2016 04:50 PM

That looks like an adventure door, when you go through the door, you don’t know what kind of adventure you will have. That is a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious job.

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