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Build Your Own Secret Bookcase Door

When I was in Atlanta, Georgia in October, our friends took us for dinner at Pizzeria Vesuvius (damn fine pizza). When I went to the bathroom towards the back of the restaurant, I saw there was a bookcase against one wall – which then swung open, and a guy emerged. Behind the bookshelf was a speakeasy-themed bar, and the bookshelf was a fun, intentional secret passage. A secret bookshelf entrance. Are you kidding me? Oh, be still my nerdy, Nancy Drew heart! I’ve despaired ever since that my photography attempts all came out either blurry, too dark or too flash-exposed (conspiracy theorists might say some secrets want to stay that way…). And now, I find a thorough instructional post detailing how one might make their own, should they be inclined. Rapture.

And the author certainly seems to know what he’s talking about:

Without a doubt, I’ve never built a perfect pivot bookcase, one that’s completely invisible to the eye and works smooth as silk years down the road. Even the bookcase in this article isn’t perfect. Each time I build one I learn something new, after all, hidden bookcase doors are a lot more complicated than an ordinary door—there’s a lot of variables, both in design and construction, especially on openings that have to swing out, where there isn’t space inside the closet or small room for the bookcase to swing in.

It comes from garymkatz.com, which is, according to the blurb at the top, “a comprehensive educational community devoted to trim carpentry, finish carpentry and architectural millwork. Hosted by nationally recognized author and finish carpentry specialist Gary M. Katz.”

It has all kinds of blueprints and enticing words like piano hinges, wheels, ball-bearings, scale drawings, and more. There are extensive notes and photographs of each step of the process, as well. I have no doubt that someone (who is not me, at all) could follow these directions and actually have themselves a very cool, serviceable and enviable bookshelf door at the end of the process.

This project shows the creation of the swinging bookshelf door as a cover of a secret compartment, like a closet or storage space, but I see no reason the same process wouldn’t work as a door between rooms, if you wished. You’d just have to decorate the back, too.

The finished product can be seen at above (closed) and below (open).

If anyone makes one, please let us know and send photos!

Posted by on January 21, 2013.

Categories: AbeBooks, art, books, design

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