I'm new to woodworking and I am building a bookshelf door. The bookshelf is constructed of hardwood. I mounted it, and the measurements and square look good, but it seems that the surface I used to lay it out on (a 6 foot plastic table on my steep driveway) was not particularly flat, and the top left corner sticks forward about an inch when the bottom is flush with the doorway. The hinge side is perfectly aligned.

I plan on putting trim mounted to the bookshelf that goes over the existing doorway. I hope the pictures adequately illustrate the situation. When I add trim, this will be a problem, as I want to give the illusion that it is a built-in bookshelf. As I see it, my options are:

  • adding a spacer between the bookshelf and the trim on the left side
  • shave an inch off the top left corner
  • rebuilding the bookshelf
  • adjusting the hinge side and adding a spacer on that side

The last two options are much less preferable- the hinge side is much more visible, and you know, not rebuilding it.

I'm leaning towards a spacer on the left side between the trim. Would love any alternative recommendations. I know it's a tough issue to describe and adequately illustrate, so please let me know if I can provide more concise information.

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Illustrating my current best option- a spacer to fill this gap

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5 Answers 5


Take it apart and redo it. Sorry.

That said: Book case doors tend to bend like crazy after they are loaded. I have a friend who has several in his house:

  • Instead of conventional hinges he uses a heavy duty ball flat plate bearing (Like a lazy susan uses) for the bottom bearing, and a 3/4" shaft bearing for the top bearing. The shaft bearing is mounted on the top of door with carriage bolts, and a 3/4" bolt goes through a hole in the top of the case thorugh the bearing and into a nut embedded in the jam.
  • The back panel of the bookcase is 3/4" GIS fir plywood.
  • The bookcase does not have movable shelves but has rabbeted shelves secured with glue and dowels.
  • On the back of the plywood he attaches a 2x3 diagonally to the plywood using counter sunk 2" x 1/4" lag bolts and glue.
  • The door has a sill about half and inch high, with a long taper on the side the door opens to.
  • A recessed adjustable castor in the door near the outside of it's path, but centred in depth rides up the slope as the door closes unloading the the warping torque on the door.

I'm hoping Solar Mike's solution works and solves your problem but that's a lot of twisting to correct by "pushing" and seems like it would be likely to revert back to the way it was built. You're new at woodworking and your job looks pretty good, except for the gap. I don't thing a spacer will give you the desired effect you're looking for, especially for a secret door. Bite the bullet and fix it right, your option #3. If you don't, it will probably bug you every time you look at it and you will eventually end up fixing it right. We've all been there, done that. The more you try to cover up a mistake, the worse it looks. Just my humble opinion.

  • 1
    An inch is a LOT, to over stress it back and hold it. It will most likely make joints crack to a degree to get it to stay. To make the wood "deform" and expect it to stay that way after pushing it as suggested, would work with a 1/4" problem if it was pushed and held in an inch so when it relaxed "may" work, but an 1" out will require a 3" (2" past flat) reverse twist to correct it after it is held there for a while, but that is where the joints will crack, weakening the build. I apologize for the long comment, I was trying to detail why it was better of to rebuild it.
    – Jack
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 15:59

Just dealt with the same issue. Added a swivel wheel at the bottom to keep the door from sagging/twisting and that tightened it up nicely. Not sure the swivel is necessary though as it hesitates a little when changing direction- from open to close and vice versa. Perhaps a fixed wheel set to the arc of the door would also work.

I used 3/4 inch ply for the book case and just pivot hardware top and bottom front of the bookcase


I used a block at the bottom corner while pushing the top corner in so plan on “reversing” the twist.

ie you have an inch at the top so block the bottom out an inch then push the top in flush - leave for 24 hours then test...

Worked for me but can’t guarantee your results.

  • Thank you Mike. Did you use heat and/or humidity when making your adjustment? I've got a couple of coats of poly, so I don't think getting it wet is going to do much for me but hitting it with a heat gun and setting up a rig as you describe to bend it back I think is going to be my next step. It's very rigid and heavy, but my dado's were looser than I had hoped and were shimmed in some cases, so that will likely give me a little more 'flex' than if I had perfectly cut dados for each shelf Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 22:19

You might be able to more effectively pull it in (and have it stay put that way) with a turnbuckle to apply tension on the backside (where it will be hidden), if it has enough flex to move with some force applied.

screen door turnbuckle kit

Will give a lot of results for a common hardware store item of limited length, with solid rods (typically.)

To go all the way from the protruding corner to the opposite corner you may need to use a standard turnbuckle and cables. Terminating the cables will take a bit more hardware (cable eyes, cable clamps, or suitable crimps and a crimper.)

You might actually want two, in an X, because the direction it's not sticking out is precisely the direction it will want to "droop" or "sag" under the weight of books over time, so restraining that with a brace now might prevent that later.

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