Secret door! (shhhh!) - AVS Forum
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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So, as many of you know I am working on my theater. I am almost ready to have the drywall guys come in and do their work. One decision that I have been putting off....and putting off....and putting off....is the AV rack decision. My AV closet measures about 36" deep, 48" across, 6 ft height. The rough door opening is presently at ~22" wide.

I looked at racks, and to be blunt, they are expensive. I am not the kind of guy that needs to have my equipment on display. I'm way to practical (i.e. cheap) to invest money just so others can check out my gear.

Even cheap racks (Slim5) become expensive when you factor in the shelves, faceplates etc.

Now with that as a background, I got the idea for a secret room. Other in this forum have made similiar such hidden rooms for their closet, so I am posting here to get some advice. The main source for my inspiration is this web site:

Bookshelf Door

Here are pics form that site:







The design is sound, but the hardware for the door swing is a bit expensive (i.e. >$100). So, I got to thinking, couldn't I just use a lazy susan piece of hardware on the bottom of the bookcase as a pivot point. The only problem I see with that is how to get the Susan attached to both a bottom plate and the bookcase. Lets say the bookcase is 10" deep. I could use a 6" inch lazy susan. I could easily affix the Susan to the bottom of the bookcase, but then how would I affix the Susan to the bottomplate? There would be no way to get a scredriver in there unless the lazy susan could be somehow disassembled into 2 pieces.

Then I thought I could use a threaded rod through the bookcase and place something on the top and bottom plate to recieve the rod.

Since I am in the brainstorming stages, I thought I would post here and see what you all could come up with.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:08 AM
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With a pivot point in the middle, there won't be much room to get equipment in and out, not to mention yourself. Will things still fit?

Is a lazy susan rugged enough to support that much weight?
How would you keep dirt out of it?

Why not use conventional (but strong) hinges? Isn't it "just" a thicker door?

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Old 01-26-2010, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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A few update comments...I would only be placing DVD boxes in the bookcase, so basically very little weight. The pivot point would be along the edge and it would swing out, so there would be lots of room in the closet.

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Old 01-26-2010, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W00lly View Post

I have learned over the years watching a certain person who will go unnamed try to save a couple bucks by cobbling some stuff together only to end up tossing it all into the trash and buying the parts needed to do it right and in the end spending more money then if they had just bought the right parts in the first place

Lesson: spend the few extra bucks needed to do it right. A book self full of books and nick knacks is going to weigh a ton so buy something thats designed to take the weight and save yourself the frustration.

Couldn't agree more. Just spend the money and do it right.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:39 AM
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FWIW, DVD boxes aren't that light when you have a pile of them.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:43 AM
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Secret rooms are VERY COOL

Hope you find a good solution for this, but I agree to just buy the pivot needed.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:50 AM
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As far as for the rack goes, you can check craigslist for used computer server racks (HP, IBM, Compaq, etc) in your local, with the current economy like this, a lot of businesses went out business, so you may find a very good rack for around $100, pretty much all server racks are standard 19" ones. I see you are in Delware, this is what I found, it is cheap but too big for my needs http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/sys/1570556926.html
Another one in south Jersey http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/sys/1562202094.html and this guy has many different racks, you can call him up to find out. This one from the same guy http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/sys/1562237788.html

And this one is from Delware http://delaware.craigslist.org/sys/1563817320.html
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:58 AM
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I too was/am planning on a secret door/bookshelf, but it will be used as the entrance to the HT (technically it will be the first of 2 doors). I haven't worked out all the details yet, but was planing on making a metal frame around the bookcase, then attach all thread to the top and bottom, then insert the frame/bookcase into bushings of some sort.

My problem with my situation is 1) how to deal with the trim around the bookcase, if the pivot point is not on the very edge, then I'll have to figure out a way to either have the trim bend, or separate from the bookcase, or something. 2) Sealing the door/bookcase for soundproofing purposes. Which I guess I could add more mass, such as MDF green glued and some weather stripping around the edges.

The other door to the theater will be a exterior door. There should be enough room, because I'm looking at basically three wall thicknesses between the HT and the living room to which it connects. Don't worry no triple leaf here.

Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:53 AM
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What about modifying such that it hinges on the side and use exterior door hinges?


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Old 01-26-2010, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritInVA View Post

What about modifying such that it hinges on the side and use exterior door hinges?


Not a bad idea, but the door really should open out, not in. The "closet" will be filled with AV equipment so opening out is a must.
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:18 PM
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Having done lots of commercial projects and having seen plenty of weird door hardware, do not skimp on your hardware. I know DVD cases seem light, but as mentioned, lots of them add up. Also, the bookshelf door itself is quite heavy compared to any residential door.

It will be a massive pain to take it down and re-do when it stops working. Plus, when you show it off to people, the last thing you want is for the door to be dragging or to take some funky machinations to get to seat right again.

Thant being said, what you are trying to do is super cool

Just don;t skimp on the hardware!

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Old 01-26-2010, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remax View Post

Couldn't agree more. Just spend the money and do it right.

Yup, my dad did the same thing and underestimated the weight fully loaded and the casters gave out. He bought heavy duty caster and it ended up running thick imprints in the hard wood floor. keep in mind if your having it roll, what its rolling on.
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:45 PM
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My "secret" stone doors must weight about 350 to 400lbs each. We had to remove them so the carpet guys could get the carpet underneath the doors.
it took 5 dudes to remove an reinstall each door.
I used 3 heavy duty hinges on each door. the kind that are used in comercial office buildings.
I actually added 3 more HD hinges to each side just incase, b/c I had nightmares of the doors ripping off and landing on one of my kids...
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:57 PM
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I love this one but not much room to get past the door.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxtLqws6kJs
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Old 01-26-2010, 03:04 PM
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So ah, other than the novelty of having a hidden door to get to your components, why do you need the door to be hidden? I'm pretty sure you can have you're A/V gear, resting on regular shelving, sitting behind a regular door if cost is such an issue.

I too would have to throw my hat in the epic fail category if you're actually looking to hinge a door full of DVDs with the components off of a lazy susan.

-Suntan
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

So ah, other than the novelty of having a hidden door to get to your components, why do you need the door to be hidden? I'm pretty sure you can have you're A/V gear, resting on regular shelving, sitting behind a regular door if cost is such an issue.

I too would have to throw my hat in the epic fail category if you're actually looking to hinge a door full of DVDs with the components off of a lazy susan.

-Suntan

Because it's VERY COOL
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gelfling View Post

So, I got to thinking, couldn't I just use a lazy susan piece of hardware on the bottom of the bookcase as a pivot point.

You could, but anybody who sees the door revolving would be compelled to say, "Put the candle back!"













(sorry...couldn't resist!)
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:08 PM
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:53 PM
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This is what I did in the space under the stairs. I can open the door and get to the back of the rack as well as use the space for storage.





I used Soss invisible hinges. They can hold a ton of weight
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
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All Right! Now we're talking! Good additions guys! Thanks!
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:36 AM
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There are plenty of pics of Shawn's two hidden doors in this thread "Best room in the house". One leads to his office the other is a ticket booth to the theater. Both use garden variety door hinges. Here is the one for his office, start reading his thread on page two for more pictures

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Old 01-27-2010, 05:37 AM
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I did the "secret door" thing with a built in av wall unit. The door was a media rack and swung inwards for access to a large storage room behind.

I used 3 heavy duty ball bearing door hinges and had no alignment or sag problems over the five or six years before I ripped it out to go to a dedicated room. The door was red oak, with 3/4" plywood backing. It was about 4.5-5' tall, and maybe weighted 100 pounds.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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The biggest problem I see myself facing is the hinge issue. If you use regular hinges, the door needs to open into the AV closet in order for the hinges to be concealed in the closet. I need to door to open outward, so I either need to use some of the Soss hinges in this thread or I need to figure out a way to conceal a standard hinge (which would otherwise be visable looking at the "door" from in the theater).
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:57 AM
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I have a hidden door leading to the addition I just completed. If you are going to build a nice hidden door, it is going to cost money. Just the material for mine were over $500.



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Old 01-27-2010, 12:46 PM
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I am thinking about creating a secret door as well. To maximize space, I was thinking of putting the AV gear behind the screen wall. In order to access the gear, I was going to build/buy a rack that will rotate so I can get at the gear from the outside of the room via a secret door. Subscribed.
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Did some research today and I think that the Soss hinges are the way to go. I will need either 3 or 4 hinges depending on the gauge of hinge I use. The hardware will be about $75-100. Using that hardware, the max weight of the door would be ~150 lb. There is no way it will weigh that much...so I would have a nice buffer weight wise. Also, I have a router (think wood, not eletronics), but I have never rounted out to mortise for a hinge. The Soss hinges can be mortised out pretty easily with just a plain drill and a 1" bit, so hopefully they will be easy to install.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee L View Post

Having done lots of commercial projects and having seen plenty of weird door hardware, do not skimp on your hardware. I know DVD cases seem light, but as mentioned, lots of them add up. Also, the bookshelf door itself is quite heavy compared to any residential door.

It will be a massive pain to take it down and re-do when it stops working. Plus, when you show it off to people, the last thing you want is for the door to be dragging or to take some funky machinations to get to seat right again.

Thant being said, what you are trying to do is super cool

Just don;t skimp on the hardware!

Isn't there a library out there in a big city that has sunk because the engineers calculated the weight of the library only and forgot to include the weight of the library filled with books?
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:41 PM
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Take a look on eBay first, I found mine there (# 218) I think they were for under $10.

I have no idea how much my rack/door weighs but it is made out of 2x4's, ¾ inch ply and it is holding my receiver, PS3, DVR and a crap load of DVD's all on 2 hinges with no problems at all. Each hinge holds up to 6olb's and I think that is a conservative number.

They were not that hard to do. They come with a template, you drill to the depth they tell you and then clean it up with a chisel
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crimscrem View Post

Isn't there a library out there in a big city that has sunk because the engineers calculated the weight of the library only and forgot to include the weight of the library filled with books?

Ahhh, that would be my college library, Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. It is, of course, NOT TRUE and just an urban legend, but it is wide spread.

http://www.iuinfo.indiana.edu/HomePa...xt/library.htm

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Old 01-28-2010, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPorterhouse View Post

Ahhh, that would be my college library, Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. It is, of course, NOT TRUE and just an urban legend, but it is wide spread.

http://www.iuinfo.indiana.edu/HomePa...xt/library.htm

Hey, wait a second here. Urban legend? All three universities that I toured up here in Ontario Canada said the same thing about their libraries.

As a structural engineer myself now, let me tell you that it is pretty much impossible for engineers/designers to forget the weight of books. But thats a whole other topic.

Anyways... hidden doors are awesome.
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