Hands down the most difficult part of the process of building and installing this door has been adding a deadbolt. We wanted it to be hidden, which was the appeal of the whole “hidden door” thing. So how do we make it work? Originally we toyed around with a magnetic lock and keyfob, but those can be hundreds of dollars. Besides, the simplest solution is usually the best. Since we already had a deadbolt from our original “gun closet”, we decided to make use of it. Here’s how we figured this sucker out (and when I say “we” I mean the Husbane, because I was on baby duty).
We started by installing the deadbolt into a scrap piece of 2×6. You can see that it’s installed so that the deadbolt activates up. See that? And I’m super sorry about my incredibly crappy staining. I will never ever use Polyshades again. It is a nightmare, especially in this humidity. To install the deadbolt, the hubs had to drill a hole for the lockign mechanism to fit in right in the center, then use a spade bit to bore out a section for the bolt to slide through. This was surprisingly difficult, and took about 2 hours to get right. Once he finally had it working, we did a victory dance. It was that much of a PITA.
Next, he used a jigsaw to make a hole in the bookcase so you can access the lock from the front. It’s not the prettiest hole in the world, but it’s covered by books so you can’t even see it. Once we knew it was working, he screwed the deadbolt 2×6 block straight into the side (as you see in the photo above). When you turn the key, the bolt slides up. Now it’s time to figure out the catch.
That’s a scrap 2×4, drilled straight into the stud with 4 inch screws. It ain’t goin’ nowhere. Then the hubs measured the width of the bolt, and got inside the closet to align the placement (which was really entertaining for Charlie) and drilled in more 4″ screws into that piece, so they’re about 1 inch deep into the stud, as well as through the 1.5 inches of the board. So, it’s by no means thief-proof, but it will keep prying little hands from opening the bookcase and getting into the guns. It works like a charm too! The bookcase sits flush against the casing, and the trim covers any gaps.
If you don’t exactly need a deadbolt, but find that after you build the door it keeps swinging open, you can drill a hole in the side and install a “hook-and-eye” catch like you see in public bathrooms. You can slide your hand in and release the catch when you want to open it.
I hope this all makes sense! It’s not the prettiest solution, but since you can’t see any of it when it’s closed, it’s not really a big deal for us. Normally these spaces behind the hidden doors are utilitarian anyway. I seriously love this door!