Picture of The Mysterious Bookcase
All my brother wanted for Christmas was a secret door. Since every self respecting man should have one.  I began by taking some measurements, doing some internet research and this is what I came up with.  The hard part was that he lives an hour away from me. So I had to build a mock door frame, transport it and hope things matched up. 
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Step 1: The build

Picture of The build
Unfortunately I don't have many pictures of the build so I'll explain it the best I can.

Sheet of 3/4" smooth plywood 
Sheet of 1/2 plywood
Lazy susan
Long bolt and washers for top pivot point
Misc. trim /spacer wood
Rubber wheel 6"
Wood glue
Trim to match house 
Gate latch with fishing string and special book for secret opener.

The Build
I begin by making a door frame to the exact measurements of my brothers closet.  The dimensions of the finished door came out to be 34" wide, 77" tall and 8" deep.   I assume if you are building this project you have enough wood working skills to make a bookshelf and your sizing will vary so I won't go into detail about that.

The door is a solid bookcase made from 3/4 smooth plywood and 1/2" regular plywood for the back.  Glued and screwed on all sides.  There are five attached shelves and adjustable shelf holes drilled at the top.  I made a template to help drill the holes all the correct width and height.  

One of the hardest parts was the hinge point.  I used a lazy suzan on some 2x4 blocks for the bottom and a long bolt for the top.  It took a lot of measuring and testing to get it centered right.  Adequate spacing was needed on the hinge side to just barely clear the door frame and still be covered by trim.
Most commercial doors have steel frames and don't need caster wheels.  Due to the weight of the shelves and contents we added a bed caster.  Which needs to be changed because it's marking my brothers soft wood floors.  
**Update.  New 6 inch rubber wheel replacing bed caster, installed a little bit higher and hidden with fake books.  It does not even hit the floor so I think this fixes the problem.

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songdancer17 days ago

Instead of a wheel, you might be able to use loop (berber) carpet scraps Flip the carpet loop side down and secure it to a large piece of wood (staples go on the sides, not next to your floor). Screw block of wood to the bottom of your bookcase. Cover block of wood with moldings to hide it. You should now have your weight distributed evenly over a surface that will slide. I move furniture this way all the time by flipping carpet squares and placing them under furniture legs. The carpet glides easily over hardwood floors and smooth tile. You just need to make sure you have your allowances at the bottom of the bookcase correct, as weight will squish the carpet-- so add your bottom moldings at the very end. I am going to make one of these soon, and the wheels were going to be a problem, so I came up with the carpet idea.

Hi Here is my version inspired by yours and the other great examples on here. We had a narrow space at the back of a closet to use as a safe room. The closet was small but had a tall ceiling. I ended up with standard hinges and a wheel. I wanted to use a pivot hinge but I had too many challenges with the small space.

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Ooh, that really would screw with your dates head in the morning. Fantastic! :-D Not sure about the step at the bottom though. If not being able to find their way didn't screw with their head the hitting the deck after tripping would. :-)

Hi The step at the bottom was to help stabilize the whole unit. When I did a mockup in the workshop there was torquing of the whole cabinet. It wasn't a very elegant looking solution but the customer was happy.

This is absolute genius. I love it. I just commented on another ible I always wanted to build a wardrobe around the door of my bedroom, imagine the look on your date's face in the morning trying to get out. LOL. Never did it though. Respect! :-)

shabbychik7 months ago
I love this idea! So cool!
starwarsgeek17 months ago
this is awsome ive always wanted one so this was a great helpee so thanks alot
chabias9 months ago

Love this! I've been searching the net for what seems like ages, looking for just this info. Great job!! Thanks a bunch for this!

You are an AWESOME brother! Nice job! Does your brother know to "Put the candle back!!"?
Stryker (author)  burnerjack013 years ago
Haha Anyone who doesn't get that....
rwood10 Stryker9 months ago

Thanks but Fox blocked this video. ;(

elizruge1 year ago
I added this to my faves. Do I think I'll ever do it? No. But I get great joy knowing there exists a normal house with a secret door somewhere in this world. My dream...and I'm happy someone gets to live it :-)
Probably the best post I have read about an ible!
Stryker (author)  elizruge1 year ago
Thanks it's nice to be appreciated. I'm working on a backyard roller coaster for my kids right now. I'll put it on instructables when it's done.
Canison2 years ago
awesome project, but it hurts me to see that you had to mangle some Classic Club books! I hope it wasn't one of the volumes I'm missing!!
RangerJ2 years ago
Excellent project.
the potato2 years ago
lol if your son's friends come over and didnt know about this your son would alway win at hide and seek lol
lesteryoder3 years ago
Very nice job. I built an almost identicle bookcase door about four years ago. Mine may be a little wider than yours because I built it to fill an opening where a wet bar had been. I installed a hard black rubber roller from Home Depot for mine mounted about the same as yours. The bookcase I built was almost exactly the same as yours with a 3/4" plywood box (sides and back) for strength. I have adjustable shelves like yours. What is really amaizing is that our trim wood is very, very close to the same and installed the same. My finish is a dark stain and clear polyurithan to match it to the wall that it was built into. I am adding some pictures to this message to show before and after shots including the routing of the trim .Lester
Wetbar Remodel (4).JPGWetbar Remodel (8).JPGWetbar Remodel (9).JPGWetbar Remodel (1).JPGWetbar Remodel (2).JPGWetbar Remodel (3).JPGWetbar Remodel (5).JPGWetbar Remodel (6).JPGWetbar Remodel (7).JPG
Very classy. You did a great job. Also I used to have that exact router and I sold it online for 75bucks. I've been kicking myself ever since.
SantaB2 years ago
Check out Step 3 if you haven't already changed out that plastic caster... Awesome build regardless.

If I can talk my wife into letting me do this to our coat closet I will definitly try it, especially since my last built in didn't work.
SantaB SantaB2 years ago

I may have missed my chance for this project... :-(

criggie3 years ago
These kind of things give firemen nightmares....hidden rooms or staircases, or kid's playrooms are hard enough to see normally but if your house is on fire and full of smoke then searching for people is likely to miss this. Kids especially are known for hiding. As such it can be a good idea to drop a letter to the local fire station describing this feature and how to open it.
Example from firefighter's website

On a better note - you can hide the wheel track by having the door open inwards rather than outwards.

The weight of the door on the wheel is what's doing the marking, so if you can lighten the load either by less weight, or have a counterweight then it will mark the floor less.
Bah! Every door should be one of these. Then firemen would know to look inside.
haha! I've wanted a secret bookcase/door or a passageway w/ a painting where one looks thru the eyeholes ever since I saw my first 'scary' movie as a kid! And every place I've lived in I've come up w lots of possible spots. Now, if i only had the energy, know-how, tools and a place to build things.... I'm thinking my staircase, w the big pics on the walls, and an opening from my son's closet into a hidden passageway. But the door is TOO COOL! I'm putting one downstairs as soon as I return from Europe! Kudos! what fun... like a kids' fort. my dream come true.

Thanks for sharing ...
same here i thought something like this for a hall then cut a hole in the drywall use something like two way glass for a mirror from lowes ore something then secutre comparment
Good on ya, Criggie; emergency situtations are the hardest things to predict.
Good suggestion to let the local fire dept know. My first thought on viewing this 'ible was "Cool! I want one!" I had forgotten about the tendency of small children to hide from fire (even smart kids hide when frightened) , but it has been many years since our last visit to a Fire/Police open house.
coldduck223 years ago
Check out the hidden door under the closet floor I built:

HIM Design3 years ago
I love the idea!!!!
Dark Solar3 years ago
Love it. Built a few of them for people over the years and (so of course I've a few suggestions) have developed a few sneakies along the way.

1. Use the rosette to your advantage. Nothing hides a latch release like a dark-stained rosette that's had it's center bored out and replaced with an identical button.

2. Knots in plywood are your friends; run a 1/16" twist bit through the heart of the knot, flip and bore almost completely through from the back using a forstner bit. Knock out the knot and replace with an appropriately sized slice of pine stick epoxied to your release mechanism. Sand flush and viola --1 invisible release button.
great ideas. remember to predrill screw holes......thereby lessening chance of splitting and/or checking. also good idea to glue as well as screw.
It got my vote. Maybe I'll make one to hide my tools behind, so my grown son won't swipe them!
joelparks3 years ago
Kevlar will also abrade away on rough edges. Why not use a piece of old bicycle brake or gear cable? Every bike shop discards broken cables, just ask for a piece at your friendly neighborhood shop if you don't have your own supply ;0)

As for the roller problem, if the opening is wide enough, the pivot could be in the middle, which with adequate strength/stiffness of the bookcase carcass removes the need for a roller.

But if you want/need the pivot on one side as shown, remember the problem comes down to PSI, or lbs.per square inch (apologies to our metric readers, is it N/m-squared?). So in addition to a softer surface (which will help keep from driving stray grit/gravel into the floor) you really want to make the roller as wide as possible, perhaps even run them in tandem. How about a rolling pin? Or 4?

Nice job, any way. I think the suggestion below to notify the fire department about its presence is a wise one. YMMV
I would have used something stronger than fishing line, which always breaks at the worst time. Check out the Kevlar cord women use for beading projects.

My favorite is the tilting book door latch. I want one.
chuckyd3 years ago
With an opening that small, you should be able to work the door without wheels. Beef up both the door jamb and the stile of the door on the hinge side. You should also be able to use three or four extra heavy duty offset hinges, instead of the top and bottom hinges.
warpspeed3 years ago
Great job, but wouldn't a thin braided steel cable hold up better for such an often used door? In my experience, fishing line will eventually degrade and you will have a problem.
jtharkness3 years ago
Great idea. I will definitely follow suit. I hope I can avoid the caster issue. Perhaps I can avoid it by reinforcing the bottom wood (or using hard wood) so there is less chance of the wood bending or warping in time due to the weight. Of course that puts greater strain on the hinge but that should manageable if done right. Anyway, very creative.
jack85593 years ago
I know that you are wanting to use a wheel to make the case not leave a mark, but what if you used a block with UHMW plastic as a slider, would it mark? If you make it reasonably large, the weight would be distributed so that there wouldn't be a lot of weight on it per square inch and it shouldn't leave a mark unless it got some kind of debris trapped under it like fine sand, metal shavings, etc. and it should be really easy to slide on a clean wooden floor. UHMW strip can be bought with an adhesive back and it should hold well enough, it's used as drawer slides on dressers and such on bare wood to reduce friction. Just put maybe 3 or more inches wide and 6 or more inches long and that should make things work well, the bigger the better, it will only make it easier to move.
kmartin-13 years ago
I love the book choice for the secret latch.
Moxlonibus3 years ago
VERY COOL BUILD!!! Real inspiration.
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