Hidden Bookshelf Door

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Project by Terry Burks posted 1459 days ago 6532 views 17 times favorited 13 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

13 comments so far

View patcollins's profile


966 posts in 1469 days

#1 posted 1459 days ago

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


8476 posts in 2252 days

#2 posted 1459 days ago

very very cool!
nicely done

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

View KnotWright's profile


247 posts in 2091 days

#3 posted 1459 days ago

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


14618 posts in 2279 days

#4 posted 1459 days ago

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.

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13337 posts in 2276 days

#5 posted 1459 days ago

Thats a good idea!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View MrsN's profile


939 posts in 2129 days

#6 posted 1459 days ago

wow, that is so cool!

-- ----- ----- --

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 2377 days

#7 posted 1459 days ago

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


2687 posts in 1680 days

#8 posted 1459 days ago

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


148 posts in 2107 days

#9 posted 1459 days ago

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 1656 days

#10 posted 1458 days ago

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 2537 days

#11 posted 1457 days ago

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

-- Robb

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 1799 days

#12 posted 1457 days ago

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


34 posts in 996 days

#13 posted 914 days ago

Very cool Terry!

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