How do you make a Door into a swinging Bookcase: Things to know

How do you make a Door into a swinging Bookcase
How do you make a Door into a swinging Bookcase

Would you like to know how to make a door into a swinging bookcase? Many individuals tend to want a secret/hidden bookcase door. They can be used to conceal safe rooms, vaults, wine cellars, closets, and utility rooms. Whatever happens to a secret door, if it is made public, it is a novelty that is guaranteed to appeal to children and visitors.

Before you tackle everyone’s favorite fantasy carpentry job in real life, read this article to help you examine the important elements. If you’re considering building a bookcase door or converting an existing bookcase, research the project beforehand. That way, you’ll have a thorough understanding of the physical requirements before you begin sawing open your wall.

Swinging bookcases sag due to the weight of the books. Hence they are frequently equipped with a caster at the opening end to support the weight. However, the approach will ultimately leave a circle imprint on the floor, which is inconvenient in a carpeted space.

Because concealing the joints in the baseboard on either side of the bookshelf is practically difficult, it could be a good idea to construct it higher from the floor to clear the baseboard, as shown in figure 1. Our envisaged version is supported by a strong pivot hinge, which is in turn supported by a built-up block behind the baseboard.

The arrangement shown here is for a door with a net opening of 40”, but the same instructions could easily be utilized for a bigger case with a wider opening. The project will be laid out in the style of old-fashioned Rod Layouts.

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Things You Will Need

  • Plywood.
  • Nails.
  • Hammer.
  • Several Pieces of Wood.

Step-by-step on How to make a Door into a swinging Bookcase

Step 1: Make a Plan For the Wall and Door Opening

1.1: Size the Door Width

The first line is drawn, and it symbolizes the current wall and doorway into which the bookcase will be fitted. It’s drawn parallel to the front edge of the plywood and should be practically the whole length of it, as well as about 6″ back from the front edge.

1.2: Size the Door Height

Line #2 is drawn perpendicular to Line #1 on the plywood at about 45-46” from the left edge (Figure 2). Line #2 will be the hinge side of the “hidden door” in this example alone.

1.3: Stretch the Strike

Another perpendicular line (Line #3) is drawn parallel to Line #2, 40 inches (see note below) back from Line #2, and will be referred to as the Strike side of the concealed door.

*Note- If the designs call for a unique bookcase, use the same steps, but make sure the plywood is of good size to accommodate it. The bookcase will use up to 13-1/2 inches or more of the door space when open.

1.4: Sketch the Jambs

It’s now time to draw the door jambs on both sides of the aperture. Outlines #4 and #5 in Figure 3 will represent them, although they will not necessarily have the same form, thickness, or proportions.

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Step 2: Add the Accessories to the Layout

After completing step #4, a rectangle (Outline #6 in Figure 3) must be sketched to represent the net depth and the ideal but unachievable maximum width of the bookcase while maintaining a 1/4” tolerance on each side to allow the case to open without clashing with the jambs.

As indicated in figure 3, a trimming (Outlines #7 in Fig. 3) 3-1/2” to 4” wide by 3/4” thick and reaching 1-1/4” above the opening is added to the front edge of each wall. The projecting component will cover up the gap left by cutting off the surplus material that exceeds the amount of clearance, as indicated by arc #13 in Figure 5.

Step 3: Determine the Pivot Location

The pivot on the bookcase must be located far enough away from any edges to provide appropriate strength, stability, and holding power for the pivot hardware without breaking or splitting.

The use of a butt hinge, which is only acceptable on a “Out” swing since it is hard to hide, would not need any part of the case cut out at the hinge side, but all of it at the strike side. Figure 5 depicts the actually selected placement, complete with the 1/4″ clearance corner cut-out.

If the pivot were pushed back diagonally towards the center, it would simply cause the case’s side gable to be pushed in at the hinge side, resulting in a further increase in the gap to be closed over by the trimming.

3.1: Plan Fasteners

Line #9 in Figure 4 is the next one to be added. Drawing it at 1-3/4” from the front of the bookcase allows enough wood to provide enough attachment strength. The point of intersection of Axis #10 will be where Line #9 hits the hinge side wall and will be utilized as the beginning point to trace Arc #11 with a radius of 1-3/4” (pivot backset) + 1/4” (tolerance) + 1-1/4” (overlap of the Facing) adding up to 3-1/4”. The junction of the 3-1/4” radius Arc #11 with Line #9 will produce the Axis #12 and pivot position.

3.2: Plan the Gables

Trace the arcs #13 and #14 using Axis #12 as the point of origin to establish the backset of the two side gables (Figure 5).

As a result, the gable must be shifted 9/16” closer to the center. Comparably, and still starting from the same axis, but with a radius stretching all the way to the left edge of the case at the intersection with Line #9, the arc traced up to the back edge of the case this time shows that the gable needs to be moved 1-1/2” towards the center to allow for the required tolerance.

3.3: Plan the Trim

Trimming #8 may now be added to the drawing to cover up the gable’s backset, ensuring that the end product looks the same on both sides when closed. A cleat large enough to occupy most of the area but still clear of the door frame would offer support and strength to the trimming.

Other method to follow

Step 1: Calculate the dimensions of Your Space

To begin, determine how big the bookcase will need to be in order to cover the door. Then, consider if you can position the bookcase far enough away from the soon-to-be-hidden entrance so that it can swing out without colliding with any adjacent walls or furniture. Make certain that the concealed door does not swing into the bookcase.

Step 2: Weld a Steel Frame to Support the Bookcase

Don’t hinge the wood shelves directly; instead, use a steel frame constructed of box tubing to allow the door to open freely and sustain 500-1000lbs / 225-450kg (a full bookcase) with ease. Determine the size of the frame.

The width should be just enough to cover the access door and should be centered. The height should provide for minimum clearance from the floor for trim and base board, as well as sufficient space from the ceiling for the metal frame just below the crown.

Step 3: Install the Steel Frame

Make a ceiling anchor. A perfect scrap piece of steel (such as the one seen below) would already contain holes for the pivot bolts. The ceiling anchor should be large enough to span three joists. To avoid swaying, extend a short arm (which can be done with scrap steel). The short arm must be aligned with a joist or it will rock and cause the ceiling to collapse.

Place the anchors in their respective positions. Attach the top anchor loosely (allowing it to rock), but the frame and lower anchor onto the pin (with two washers on the pin above the bearing), and slide the entire set into position. Hang a plumb bob along the frame’s edge to see whether it’s vertical in both directions.

When this is the case, fasten the bolts on both ends. Split a little piece of nylon tubing (approximately 3/8in / 19mm) and put it on the exposed bolt at the pivot point. This prevents the bearing from sliding.

Step 4: Build the Bookcase into and Around the Frame

Construct the two side bookshelves and add trim all around. Use a credit card to measure the clearance the trim and crown. However, the trim on the non-hinged side should move with the door. If required, gently round the horizontal parts to allow them to glide gently underneath.

Step 5: Install Doorstop

This can be as simple as a block of wood with a powerful magnet (for example, a door magnet) put in a position where the frame should ideally sit. This will not only strike the steel, preventing the door from shutting too far but will also hold the door in place, preventing it from floating open.

Step 6: Test the Finished Product

Make sure it swings well and is unobtrusive.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you enjoyed the above article. You can ask any question on how to make a door into a swinging bookcase. Kindly like and share our post if it was helpful to you.

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Hello, my name is Lisa Thompson and I’m the Founder of Safetyhub, your go-to resource for all things home security and home improvement. In this day and age, security should be your top priority, and that’s exactly why my dedicated team of writers and I offer reliable information pertaining to gun storage, home safes, and so much more. When I’m not running the blog, I enjoy gardening and homesteading. As an avid nature lover, I also love going on camping trips. Currently, I happily reside in the heart of Los Angeles.


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