Handyman Help: How to Build a Secret Door Bookcase

antique books on a tableBuilding a secret door in your home is a fun way to hide a personal space, while feeling a bit like a man (or woman) of mystery. There are numerous methods that involve remote activated openings to the classic false wall-door or bookshelf door. Building a secret door bookcase with a unique locking mechanism based on a sliding book, as well as secret compartments inside the bookcase is challenging. The following steps will give you the big picture when it comes to all that must be done to complete this advanced handyman project:

  1. Find the space in your home. It may be obvious where a secret door bookcase should be built, or you may have to alter the layout of your floor plan to create the perfect spot.
  2. Consider your design. For maximum secrecy, blend the bookcase in with the rest of the furniture.
  3. Gather your materials and tools which will definitely include sanded plywood, panels of laminated pine project board, construction lumber, a Murphy door kit, a table saw, a miter saw, router, drill, etc.
  4. Cut out your bookshelves.
  5. The outside of each bookcase will be made of about 5 pieces of wood, which must get assembled before the rest of the case.
  6. Add holes for adjustable shelving. Make more shelves than you think you need.
  7. Build horizontal members. You should end up with about 6 L-shaped shelves.
  8. Assemble the cases.
  9. Attach plywood backs – one of the easier steps in the project.
  10. Build a valance, which can be done entirely with pocket screws. Keep the top of the valance hollow if you want to make a secret compartment on top of your secret door.
  11. Sand and finish the entire bookcase.
  12. Install the lower track.
  13. Install the bookcase. You will need the help of your handyman friends for this step, as the bookcase doors can be difficult to handle alone. Attach the pivot hardware, join the 2 sides of the door with a piano hinge, stand the door upright, put the valance on top with spacers, mark the drill hole locations, remove the valance, drill the holes, and then replace the valance and lag bolt it into place. The bookcase should now be fully operational as a secret door.
  14. Additional spy-worthy features include making a secret compartment in the valance and making a secret lock that only you know about. When you push a specific book, it releases the bolt head.