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Technical Blog: jib (secret) doors – simplistic beauty through intricate detailing

— 14 Mar 2018 by Darryn Marrs


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Detailing of flush jib door with dado and skirting mouldings

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Concealed hinges and careful detailing to make service door as invisible as possible on formal hall side

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Setting the principles of a jib door, concealed on one side and traditionally detailed on another

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Contemporary design and finish to conceal door to cloakroom within bookcase

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Effect secret door finished flush in modern plywood wall surface

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External door to service corridor concealed and married in with surrounding timber wall cladding

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Complexity to achieve simplicity through joinery craftsmanship

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A jib door is a secret door, well they are not that secret, they are a door in a formal room where the position, size or shape of the door does not fit in with the architectural character and layout of the room and so is concealed within the decoration and its position doesn’t interrupt the proportion and character. It is not invisible because usually the outline of the door or a discreet handle can be seen, but nor is it obvious as it doesn’t have the usual surrounding details of architraves, over mantle etc, that form a portal.

There are many varieties with differing levels of ingenuity and skill. The best can be very inventive with concealed latches, elaborately inscribed rails, skirtings and surfaces that marry their adjoining ones perfectly.

Some of the most effective secret doors are in panelling of the Stuart or Jacobean period where the smaller size and shape of panels more readily conceal the door’s outline.

Well detailed Jib doors need a lot of thought and consideration on how they will open and close, which direction they hinge and very specifically the hinging points, the ironmongery used and how any surface mouldings such as skirting boards and dado rails will work with the moving door.

We have detailed some very successful jib doors in traditional historic buildings and modern new build with crisp fully hidden secret doors. These are only possible using good quality joiners who understand the detailed drawings and fabricate with good quality materials and to precise tolerances to produce the desired effect.

See attached images of Jib doors from a selection of our projects and contact us if you are inspired to incorporate jib doors into your project.

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