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Built in Bookcase Door

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Project by Scott Wigginton posted 2019 days ago 40541 views 23 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Background

I was headed to a friends for a long weekend when he requested I help him build a bookcase as a door for what he would turn into a hidden room. He didn’t really have a plan, only some videos he had seen from youtube and his only tools were a drill and sawhorses. On top of that we only had one completely free day to work on the project. Not knowing exactly what we were going to build I loaded up my circ saw, jig saw, router, ROS, kreg system, some clamps, and lots of prayer.

The first night there I had to come up with a plan based on the materials he had on hand, one sheet of ply and a dozen 1×10s of clear pine. He wanted this bookcase to look like a built in and the room had wainscoting so I kept the design simple. Unfortunately the door frame it was going into was not that straight forward! It had a 5/8” transition from floating wood floor to tile and an asymmetric cinder block wall behind the studs (flush on the left, 8” offset on the right). I probably over engineered the solution but I was trying to make it fit as tight as possible while still having the clearance to open.

Bookcase

I really missed having a CMS and TS, I loathe making crosscuts with a circ saw and speed square. After cutting the ply and shelves to size I showed him how to use a router to cut dadoes, rabbets, and beaded roundover accents. The joints were supported with screws since I only had a handful of F-clamps and we didn’t have the time to let it cure proper anyway. This was my first project since buying a Preppin' Weapon Sanding Block and it was a huge improvement over the random block of wood I typically use. It was really nice for cleaning up the dadoes / rabbetts. After a couple more projects if I remember I”ll put up a review of it, but so far I feel it was $20 well spent.

Doorway

The case construction was by and far the easiest part of this project, making it open smoothly was an ugly monster. The plan was to simply mount the bookcase on some casters and hinge it off the left side cinder block wall. After the first attempt we found out the floor was not perpendicular to the frame and it was higher on the side we swung toward. I showed him how to use a plunge router to mortise for the casters and clean them to final depth with chisels. Several trial and errors later we found a happy medium. What made this doubly hard was not only did it have to open smoothly, but the whole time we had to ensure the entire face remained flush with the wall so no one would know it was a door.

Hiding the opening

We picked up some matching trim from the BORG and hung it over the edge of the bookcase. Somehow we got it just right and with the light on in the hidden room and off in the other room, you could not detect it. We also added some strong magnets to the opening side & the frame to help hold it closed. We were originally planning on using some hidden dowels but the magnets were more than enough and kept it simple.

Wrapping Up

The best part of working out of his house is that I had to leave before we got around to painting, and you know just how disappointed I am about that! ;p

Overall he was extremely happy with the final result, and I am extremely happy that I have a dedicated woodworking shop!

-- Scott





13 comments so far

View gr8outdrsmn's profile

gr8outdrsmn

60 posts in 2040 days


#1 posted 2019 days ago

Thats so cool. thanks for posting

-- Don't take life too seriously, you'll never get out alive.

View clieb91's profile

clieb91

3241 posts in 2522 days


#2 posted 2019 days ago

Nicely done.

CtL

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- PortablePastimes.com (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2549 days


#3 posted 2019 days ago

Well done. I’ve thought about building one of these but haven’t figured out where to put it. When I do I’ll come back to the one you built for reference. thanks for sharing.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View oldskoolmodder's profile

oldskoolmodder

760 posts in 2267 days


#4 posted 2019 days ago

love the idea, very well executed. I agree with both comments about leaving before the painting and having a shop to work out of with (mostly) the right tools in it.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Critterman's profile

Critterman

595 posts in 2397 days


#5 posted 2019 days ago

Great Job Scott, can’t tell it is there with it closed, and I guess that’s the point…LOL Overall looking at what you were working with an excellent job. Way to go.

-- Jim Hallada, Chesterfield, VA

View jSchrock's profile

jSchrock

48 posts in 2023 days


#6 posted 2018 days ago

thank you i’ve been trying to talk the wife into letting me put in a bookcase door. After she saw this pic she’s agreed we do “need” one.

View Jim's profile

Jim

221 posts in 2232 days


#7 posted 2018 days ago

Very cool! I’ve been planning to do one of these myself but am trying to figure out what to use for hinges that will support the weight of a loaded bookcase. I’d be interested to know how you dealt with that?

-- Jim in Langley BC Canada --- www.sollows.ca

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

4976 posts in 2299 days


#8 posted 2018 days ago

Does this count as a hidden compartment for the Winter contest?!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View darryl's profile

darryl

1792 posts in 2913 days


#9 posted 2018 days ago

that’s awesome, I love the idea of a hidden room in a house!

View Scott Wigginton's profile

Scott Wigginton

50 posts in 2332 days


#10 posted 2018 days ago

Jim, weight was an obvious concern which is why the bookcase is mounted on casters. Even on casters I was worried about the possibility to overload it to the point where it would be difficult to use, so I designed it to discretely limit weight.

Primarily this was done by making the shelf depth 8 3/4” which knocks out the main culprits … college texts! The second method was by only having four shelves, but that was a consequence of our intention to use dowels to lock the case in position and hiding them in the oversized faces.

That was always a design compromise to achieve the function he wanted, and we ended up not using it anyway! Because of the larger face we needed extra height clearance, and this left us seeing more bookcase than I like. The salt in the wound is that we figured out another solution too late. I was frustrated about it but my brother was indifferent and I had to remember he is after all the customer and there’s a time to just let it go ;p

-- Scott

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2914 days


#11 posted 2018 days ago

amazing challenge with the best of shops, but to pull this off in a day, in somebody else’s “kitchen” so to speak. remarkable achievement. great job!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View YorkshireStewart's profile

YorkshireStewart

1106 posts in 2488 days


#12 posted 2017 days ago

Has someone been reading ‘The Diary of Ann Frank”? Wonderful idea Scott; well executed.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business. http://www.folksy.com/shops/TreeGems

View titmas's profile

titmas

30 posts in 2493 days


#13 posted 2014 days ago

very nice results. i admire you for having to work out of your comfort zone and under a time limit and yet still produce results that satisfied the customer. what type of hinge did you use?

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