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Posted: 6/17/2003 6:04:05 PM EDT
Hey guys, I am in need of some ideas. I am constructing a hidden room in the lower level of my house to keep firearms/valuables. I would like to use a bookcase for a hidden access door. Has anyone ever build a revolving or sliding bookcase? I have searched the internet for plans but have had no luck. I have some basic ideas on how to build one, but am interested in hearing other's ideas/plans for one. Thanks for your help.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 6:09:14 PM EDT
I have seen it done with a book shelf mounted to the wall and the section of the wall was hinged and it had one of those devices like on a streo cabinet where you push on it and it releases to open. I was considering using a bookshelf as a door a swell and having on certain book attached to the opening side of the bookshelf to act as a hidden handle that you would need to lay down on its side to unlatch it to open so as no one finds the hidey hole by accidentally bumping into it like I did.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 6:20:02 PM EDT
I saw one that was a large builtin knick knack shelf. It had all kinds of little shelves with tacky kind of crap glued down on it that no one would want to admire or even look at much. One of the doodads had a pin sticking out of the side that fit through a hole in the side of the shelf into a matching hole in the stud. The other side of the shelf was hinged behind the trim. The whole thing was about 36" wide by 48" tall. Hanging on the backside of it was a fully stoked Mossberg 500 and a large safe was in the room. You had to step over the wall to get into the room but it was only about 20" tall at the bottom of the door. Get you a bunch of boring crap that wont interest anyone or some old books on subjects no thief would care about. If you have paneling the problem solves itself with a wall sconce or two.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 6:49:02 PM EDT
I put 'hidden vault bookcase' into Google and got this [url]http://www.spacexdoors.com/index.htm[/url] that's a cool idea I think
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 6:50:27 PM EDT
I do things like that all the time. I own a cabinet shop that caters to the upper scale clientele in our area and they love to have hidden compartments in their cabinets. Book cases work great to concealed the door but I would recommend building your own pivot mechanism as I do. If you don't have a welder I'm sure you can find someone to weld it up for you. The commercial pivots are very expensive for what you get. What I do is build a frame to fasten to the back of the bookcase out of 2x4x.090 mild steel tubing with a diagonal brace. I also build a matching frame to bolt to the house. I use bearings with an id of 1-1/2" with a 4 bolt flange (I get them at bearing supply house but Tractor Supply Co. also has them) Hell I'll make a sketch and post it, this is too damn hard to describe.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 6:52:46 PM EDT
it will only be cool if you have a fake book in the bookcase that you pull out to trigger the door to open
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 8:04:22 PM EDT
I can't post pictures right now, I'll try in the morning. BTW the old "pull the book to open the hidden door trick" is actually very easy. I have built several release mechanisms for hidden compartments using cable kits for trunk or hood releases on automobiles. One thing I haven't done but might be kind of cool is to make the revolving bookcase wide enough to mount guns on the back of the wall. It would be super fast access. plus you still have the rest of the hidden room for other stuff. If anyone wants one I can build them, I don't just work here in Kansas. I have done work in Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Missouri,Maryland and Florida.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 8:19:13 PM EDT
Just bolt the bookcase to a heavy door. Make sure and hide hinges, etc. are you are there.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 8:30:01 PM EDT
We considered it in our new house...but it was too expensive to do it while they were building. so says the parents anyway.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 9:03:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ARmed223: Hey guys, I am in need of some ideas. I am constructing a hidden room in the lower level of my house to keep firearms/valuables. I would like to use a bookcase for a hidden access door. Has anyone ever build a revolving or sliding bookcase? I have searched the internet for plans but have had no luck. I have some basic ideas on how to build one, but am interested in hearing other's ideas/plans for one. Thanks for your help.
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You know who iknows all about building things like this? It's the building crews for the movie business,they have been building these for years,if you want some good ideas check out some old three stooges and some of the abott and costello movies where they meet the wolfman and dracula. A lot of the old movies like the charlie chan series had stuff like this in it. My son and I were just talking about doing this in the new house if we decide to build it. We are going to make the gun room hidden and behind it's own vault door with reinforced concrete lid and poured super hard concrete walls. I know just what you want ,either a hidden button or a certain book you pull forward to open the book case,right?
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 10:52:48 AM EDT
Wow guys! Thanks for the ideas. I think the book release would be too cool. Great suggestions on using crappy knick knacks or boring books that nobody would want to look at. I find the idea of using a wall sconce nearby for the release very intreging. Fluxion, thanks for your help! I was thinking about using an old live axel for the pivot but your idea with the bearings and a fitting are much better. I am suprised that nobody has posted plans on the internet. That assembled door is a great idea, to bad they don't have the plans for it. The movie prop crews have done some really cool ones in differnet movies. Thanks for the suggestions about mounting a gun rack on the opposite side. That would be a very slick setup. Thanks again for your help guys!
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 11:15:15 AM EDT
Is your hidden room gonna have a tunnel to the Batcave??
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 11:24:14 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/18/2003 11:25:23 AM EDT by Dredd308]
Originally Posted By ARmed223: boring books that nobody would want to look at.
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Heres a couple of suggestions: [img]http://a1055.g.akamai.net/f/1055/979/5h/images.barnesandnoble.com/images/4950000/4953814.gif[/img] [img]http://a1055.g.akamai.net/f/1055/1401/5h/images.barnesandnoble.com/images/5090000/5093397.gif[/img] [img]http://a1055.g.akamai.net/f/1055/979/5h/images.barnesandnoble.com/images/6540000/6543419.gif[/img] [img]http://a1055.g.akamai.net/f/1055/1401/5h/images.barnesandnoble.com/images/5100000/5106774.gif[/img]
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 11:32:13 AM EDT
Is your hidden room gonna have a tunnel to the Batcave??
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If I find a cave under my house, then yes it will.[8D]
Heres a couple of suggestions:
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Those last three would be picked out in short order by my friends and would be grounds for a beating if they found out I owned such garbage.[B)]
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 11:51:43 AM EDT
Fluxion has some great ideas. If your whole bookshelf/door pivots in the middle - then you my be able to get away with using those heavy duty Rixon center pivot hinges. Problem is, your "doorway" would be half of your bookshelf width - but you can have a reversible book shelf LOL. Also, a less expensive alternative is to have a fabric covered panel - ie - panelize a section of a wall - except one panel can have Soss or pivot hinges that can open and expose your "hard" door to your safe room. A simple catch or touch latch will work, and in the closed position, The whole wall would just appear as a fabric covered panel wall - will work with wood too but more expensive. Good luck with the project - i work on very high end residences as an interior architect - and safe rooms are very fashionable and a "must have" - and very well appointed LOL. our clients love to surprise their dinner guests with it - so much for it being "hidden". DD
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 12:01:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/18/2003 12:14:36 PM EDT by A-nus]
"put the candle back" young frankenstein
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 12:09:52 PM EDT
"Now listen very carefully...." [img]http://www.alexfilmsociety.org/images/movies/youngfrank.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 12:13:45 PM EDT
All these cases, albeit relatively well disguised, seem relatively easy to open(accidentaly?). Anyone here ever see something that has several different actions you need to take? Like a panel that comes off and has a lock that you need to open before you can simply just open the door?
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 2:13:32 PM EDT
One house I was working on as a carpenter had a hidden room, according to the blueprints. It was on the second floor and accessed from the basement. We could not definitely find it even using the blueprints as a guide. Damn well hidden in the middle of the house. Access was controlled in part by a lightswitch in the pantry off the kitchen, half a house away.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 2:52:17 PM EDT
Ok, I give. If a person made a center pivoting revolving bookcase, how would you finish out the opening so it would clear the walls? When the bookcase is swinging, it would be wider then when it is closed.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 2:55:31 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 556SS109: Ok, I give. If a person made a center pivoting revolving bookcase, how would you finish out the opening so it would clear the walls? When the bookcase is swinging, it would be wider then when it is closed.
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Angle it in on the sides.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 5:46:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/18/2003 5:53:30 PM EDT by Fluxion]
Ok, I was finally able to upload the image of a sketch. The pivot is centered in the sketch, which I recommend for large bookcases. The first one I did like this was 50" wide at the face frame. If you build a narrower bookcase you can move the pivot to one end to gain more walking room. The only reason I say this is the loaded case may get too heavy and sag, then it will look like ass. [img]http://photos.ar15.com/ImageGallery/Attachments/DownloadAttach.asp?iImageUnq=13821 [/img] I have a better mechanism that I build in house and currently use that opens under power and can be opened manually if needed during a power failure. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for hiding the access switch. Sorry I can't post any drawings of that mechanism but that is how I make my living. Edited to fix the link. Will I ever get it right the first time? Probably not.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 3:51:05 AM EDT
Excellent sketch Fluxion!! Just to add to the sketch in reference to what 556 asked as well- I just radius both ends of the bookshelf and the walls where they meet, sort of a circle with chopped sides (where the sides represents the bookshelves) The fundamental question i think is either: a. The hidden door/bookshelf/panel is the hard door or b. The hidden door/bookshelf/panel conceals a hard door (Also - is this safe room a bullet/blast resistant negative air bomb shelter type room or is this just a hidden room for valuables and firearms) I think its cheaper and easier to have a utilitarian hard door and frame concealed by a "decorative" hidden door - because you don't have to integrate a custom lock into an already complicated custom "book shelf or panel" door. There are all sorts of motorized or counter weighted mechanisms out there for rotating the book shlef, or raising or sliding a flush panel out of the way - but motorized means it will depend on electricity to activate. DD
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 3:58:47 AM EDT
How do you plan on trimming out the top and bottom? There will be a good sized gap with the pivot/bearing mechanism
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 5:04:52 AM EDT
I helped my father build a false wall with a hidden door on the side of his master closet to store his guns behind. It worked very well. It pivots out on pins at the right side of the door. The right edge has a wide gap, but since it pivots inward, we could cover that crack with a vertical 1x6 board that looks like it was tacked in and notched at the top to hold up the rod the clothes hang from, but it's just a dummy. The left side of the door tapers down to a thin piece of trim, so that it can open even though it butts up against the wall (it's tapered in the back -- the front is flat). The top crack is noticible, but we continued it on the other side of the fake 1x6, so the wall looks uniform. A piece of floor trim is attached to the bottom of the door to complete the look. The door is locked shut by a spring-loaded bar that sits in slots on the door and on the inside left wall. When locked, the door feels just as solid as a wall. It's unlocked by pulling up on a rope attached to the spring-loaded bar. The rope travels up to the top of the hidden room, back through a small hole in the back wall of the hidden room and into the top-back of another closet that butts up against it. We routed that rope across the top of the second closet and down above the door where it's not visible and put a handle on the end of it. Just open that closet, reach up and pull the hidden handle. We put a small hook in the wall so that the rope can be held in the 'unlocked' position. Once it's unlocked, just walk around to the master closet, grab the edge of the door and pull. With a little tug, it'll pop open. It's not a huge space -- it's only about 12 inches deep, but it's enough to store all the long guns in vertical racks we mounted along the back wall. We also put small floor-to-ceiling shelving along the far right side behind the solid part of the wall. That's a good spot for ammo and accessory storage. There's no light in there, but he keeps a flashlight in that closet anyway.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 5:52:17 AM EDT
That is a trick, but not too bad. Moulding will do it in the bottom. The moulding should be attached to the door at the foot, and closely, but not tightly fitted. If you are worried about the floor buckling out of level (which happens a lot, you can slot the attachment so the moulding actually floats a bit. It will settle flat (as flat as the door threshold at least, when closed, but float over the floor contours when opening and closing. Some high molecular weight anti-friction tape will ease the action over the floor. Rubber wheels set into the bottom of the door frame and made adjustable for height (not a big deal)allows for low rolling resistance and won't marr the floor like a plastic or wooden wheel might, it will also prevent rubbing of the door frame as the house settles. I would recommend some industrial grade casters for this, because a pile of books weigh a lot. At the top, the problem is similar, you've got to plan the moulding for the whole wall/bookcase unit so that the moulding you need to hide the door doesn't stand out from the moulding around it in construction or application. Because it is so high above the sightlines, you don't have to get as complicated to hide the gap, but if that is an issue for you, there are ways around that involving bevels, small leaf springs and a hidden rabbet or two. That would allow the moulding to compress, and ride under the door opening when the door is opened, and rise up to cover the opening when closed. It's a complicated mechanism (comparitively) and you'd need to maintain it pretty regularly to prevent dirt, dust, etc. from jamming it. It wouldn't do to have this thing jam up your door when you need it to open. As for multi-action opening mechanisms, that would be relatively easy, and could range from something as simple as scavenging the locking mechanism off one of those quick access pistol safes, to as complicated as adapting one of those old fashioned push-button locks that are mounted in the actual edge of a door (push a button, door is locked, push the other button, it is unlocked. You could also just install a good keyed deadbolt. You move some books, insert your key, open the lock and push. A sliding piece of thin wallboard or hardboard that would not be noticeable unless you remove several books could even conceal the mechanism for you so if someone does take one book off the shelf, they would never notice anything amiss. There was an article in Fine Woodworking magazine not that long ago discussing hidden compartments in furniture. Some of the ideas were fairly brilliant, except for one thing...the guys who were building and designing the things, were convicts inside a prison. I think I would hesitate before commissioning such a piece from the prison workshop or even using a design from such a place.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 6:04:23 AM EDT
The easiest way to go about this, is to think about what "looks" normal. A bookcase in the basement? Not too common. Try this.... ...pick a room upstairs that has a closet. Remove the moulding around the closet door, and cover the closet with a bookcase. Have a way to easily roll/pivot/swing the bookcase out of the way, opening access to the closet. Have a latch, so that when secured, the bookcase seems way to heavy to even contemplate moving.
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 5:35:28 PM EDT
Fluxion, you are the man! Thanks for the drawing. That gave me a great basis to start constructing on. Cincinnatus, you are right about wanting the bookcase to not look out of place. I have a library and office in the basement of my house so it should blend in fine. Thanks everyone for the great input. I am sure this project will keep me plently busy for a while.[;)]
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 6:25:12 PM EDT
Instead of using the old fashon book idea, go high tech. Install a clapper to open the door. Who would ever think of clapping twice, and boy what an impression it would make on your guests. [:D]
Link Posted: 6/19/2003 7:48:02 PM EDT
Glad I could help. I may actually put one in my own house now!
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 8:19:03 AM EDT
I can't remember where, but I saw a good idea for a hidden lock. Just drill a small hole somewhere that goes through a piece of wood on the bookcase and then through a piece of wood on the wall (hopefully in some not-too-noticeable place). Drill it big enough that an ordinary ten-penny nail, without the head, will slide smoothly in it, and deep enough that the nail will disappear entirely when it is inserted. Drill it in a place that, if a nail is placed in the hole, it will prevent the bookcase from opening. Take the head off a ten-penny nail and put it into the hole. Then, when you want to open it, use a small magnet to pull the nail out. Very cheap, but very effective if done right.
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 12:31:44 PM EDT
My boss has a small hidden room where he keeps his 50+ guns (I'm jealous). The door is a book case. You must place a small magnet on a certain spot on the wood book case to get the latch to release. Just under the surface of the wood is the metal latch.
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 12:43:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/20/2003 12:47:31 PM EDT by SuperAlpha]
There is a DTMF decoder that can connect to your telephone line. When it detects a 16 digit (user-settable) code, it closes a relay. Entering # will open the relay. Use any phone, even call from remote, to unlock. This system requires power for solenoid and phone-power for phone DTMF. Hide the solenoid (ie: electric door strike) very well, and secure, and NO ONE will be able to get to it unless they know the code. (Do not just run the relay output wires from the module because they can be intercepted and manually triggered.) PS: a wire tap would effectively disclose the code, so be sure to add a magnetic reed switch in series (hide it ithin the wood) and activate it by putting a magnet near it.... Also - do not ever use a magnet switch for securiy where the magnet is permanently mounted in the door, etc. You can easily find the magnet by using a compass - and you do not want to give away the location of your hidden spot! BUT if you do use them, you can place several magnets within the door to misdirect where the real ones are. :)
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 1:07:55 PM EDT
friend of the family just built a new house and put in a gun room big walk in closet, with what appears to be a shoe rack, keyed lock right underneath the lowest shelf so you cant see it if standing, open it up and theres a door behind that leading to about a 10'x 10' room i want one now
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 1:45:45 PM EDT
A link for ya. If I can get it to work. [url]http://www.hiddendoors.com/[/url]
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 9:32:54 PM EDT
Ive seen on an old A7E or Dic. channel TV show about a Serial Killer who used to take his prey home. He had a whole underground room with beds ect, but the door was a large electrical panel, like main switch panel but the thing was large enough to walk through once you opened the panel. BISHOP
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 1:36:58 PM EDT
I saw an episode on Prohibition on one of the cable channels the other day. They had hidden rooms for storing hooch that had these slick door latch relays. You would wire two brass coat hooks with the 12v from behind where the wiring was not visible. Then to close the circuit and open the latch, you would lay a metal object across the coat hooks which were about 4 inches apart -- screwdriver, knife, piece of coathanger, whatever. Pretty cool, with no visible moving parts.
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 2:05:31 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Fluxion: Ok, I was finally able to upload the image of a sketch. The pivot is centered in the sketch, which I recommend for large bookcases. The first one I did like this was 50" wide at the face frame. If you build a narrower bookcase you can move the pivot to one end to gain more walking room. The only reason I say this is the loaded case may get too heavy and sag, then it will look like ass. [url]http://photos.ar15.com/ImageGallery/Attachments/DownloadAttach.asp?iImageUnq=13821 [/url] I have a better mechanism that I build in house and currently use that opens under power and can be opened manually if needed during a power failure. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for hiding the access switch. Sorry I can't post any drawings of that mechanism but that is how I make my living. Edited to fix the link. Will I ever get it right the first time? Probably not.
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I'm getting a [red]Red X[/red][>:/]
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 2:25:13 PM EDT
How do you plan on trimming out the top and bottom? There will be a good sized gap with the pivot/bearing mechanism
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Here's an idea: Say you have it constructed so that there's a inch between the top of the bookcase and the top of the actual door, then a half inch before the real wall. Take a two-inch piece of some sort of trim strip and put a hinge about half an inch from the bottom (on the back, of course), mating with a hinge half an inch above the top of the bookcase. It should be able to swing up and look like solid trim from the top of the bookcase to the wall, and be able to swing down to open the door. Put a small spring on the hinge that tries to hold it up. Pushing the door open will force it to swing down, and the actual wall will hold it down until it's back in the closed position. I seriously doubt that a small hinge like what I'm talking about could ever get jammed tight enough to prevent opening the door. Plus, the only wear would be the back of the trim rubbing against the bottom of the actual wall, and neither surface is visible with the door closed.
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