Even the bookcase in this specific article isn't perfect. Each time I build one, I learn something new. After all, hidden bookcase doors are a complete lot more complicated than an ordinary door--there are a lot of variables, both in building and design, especially on openings which have to swing out.
In this specific article, I'll explain some of the errors I made so hopefully you will not make them--and maybe I will not make them again. If you notice any others, please let me know. Hidden passageway bookcases aren't easy to design or build, but they're interesting. Maybe 1 day we'll all be able to build one that's perfect in every way.
Hinges and Wheels
I've seen and installed a great deal of bookcase gates, many that swing on regular butt hinges. I've always used 4 1/2 or 5-in. heavy-duty ball bearing hinges, and they alright work, though the hinges tend to sag a little when the case is really loaded down with books. Plus they need some adjustment down the road always. Plus, they might need a lot of jamb clearance, which includes never seemed to me. Besides, butt hinges only work on swing-in bookcases--there's no way to hide them completely over a swing-out design.
I've also seen pantry shops build these kinds of doorways, using euro hinges. Believe me, those never work, no subject how many of those little hinges you use, they sag always. I've seen carpenters use piano hinges, too, but it's tough to take the case off or modify the hinge. Besides, a good piano hinge is hard to cover in the trim on the swing-out case.
Swinging bookcases always sag a little, too. I've tried out installing tires and rollers on the bottoms of swinging bookcases, plus they work okay, as long as the ground is a simple, hard surface, of course, if there are no toss rugs, though the roller leaves a tell-tale trail on the floor sometimes, especially over carpet.
When a roller can be used by you, at the very least you have to leave a space in the bottom of the entire case for floor clearance, and that's a deceased giveaway, too. Plus it's almost impossible to really hide the bones in the baseboard, no matter how cleverly you disguise them. From what I've learned, the ultimate way to design and build a durable swing-out bookcase door, one which can be adjusted easily, and one that's truly invisible, is to design the door to swing above the baseboard, and hang it over a center-hung pivot hinge.
FOCUS ON a Drawing
On today without doing a level pulling first there are few tasks I work. When in comes to bookcases, especially swinging ones, SketchUp has saved my life. This project was began by me with a two-dimensional drawing, one which allowed me to pivot the hinged door in the drawing. That's how I found the right location for the pivot point, which took some experimenting. The two most significant issues are: 1: The truth has to swing free from the hinge jamb; 2: The truth has to open up 90 degrees. If you don't learn how to animate Sketchup drawings, watch this tutorial that Todd Murdock has put together. I wanted the entire circumstance to have a minimal amount of clearance between your jambs, so that it would clear the trim on the hinge part just, and wouldn't require extensive cut on the punch side. That clearance depends upon the setback of the pivot perpendicular to the true face of the wall. When wide open, the hinged door butts resistant to the lean on the hinge area. That clearance is determined by the depth of the bookcase and the positioning of the pivot, measured from the hinge jamb toward the strike jamb-parallel with the wall.