At left, fitting the wide frame, which was made from white pine. Below, the wood strips for around the door and to imitate "shelves" were sanded to even thickness by clamping a wooden guide block to the bed of the sander.
SECRET doors, suggesting mystery and intrigue, are interesting to every one. It is not necessary to have a valid reason for building a secret door, although two can readily be found. One is that they can be made more ornamental than a plain door; the other is that they provide a legitimate means of surprising and amusing friends and visitors.
This secret door, which was built into a wall of the writer's office, appears to be a well-stocked bookcase, but when a button is pressed it opens silently into an adjoining workshop and studio. The effect has proved particularly gratifying when the door is opened at the moment a vistor is reading the titles of the books.
An opening about 35" wide and 74" high was made in the wall, and 12" wide pine boards were cut to make a frame. Most of the extra width of the frame was allowed to project from the wall to form the "bookcase."
A piece of 1/2" plywood (3/4" would be still better) was cut to fit loosely inside the frame. Wood strips about 3/8" square were glued to the face of the plywood door around the edge to form a rim. Other strips of the same thickness but 3/4" wide were glued across the door to look like the edges of the shelves.
As it is difficult to obtain enough old books that may be mutilated for this purpose, it is best to purchase imitation book backs from either a furniture dealer or a bookseller. They are commonly supplied to dealers by bookcase manufacturers in order to dress up their products when on display.
If the backs are in strips, they may be glued directly between the shelving strips on the door; otherwise they should first be glued individually to strips of plywood of the proper width and thickness. A space should be left at the bottom of the door for an imitation drawer front, of plywood.
When the door has been completed and hung with butt hinges, any suitable molding may be nailed around the front edge of the fame to conceal the junction of the door and the frame. The exposed wood parts may be stained and varnished or enameled.
Fit a spring at the back to open the door, and in the frame install an electric door opener, which may be purchased from any well-stocked electrical dealer.
Top view, gluing book backs to plywood strips, the backs ore then attached to the door, and an imitation drawer front is added as shown at the left. Note how the door is hinged to the frame.