Taking Inventory: Trapdoor
Trapdoors are awesome. The entrance to almost every Minecraft house I build is through a trapdoor. Do you want to know why? I’ll tell you why: not only do trapdoors look great in almost any building style, but mobs also can’t break a trapdoor, even on hard difficulty settings. They’re the best. Suck it, door-lovers.
Trapdoors have been in Minecraft since Beta 1.6 in 2011, when they were added alongside maps, grass and dead bushes. Originally they only opened upward, but that was later fixed so they opened down too, and the ability to climb them as a ladder was added. A bunch of different types of trapdoor have been added in the last few years - one for each type of wood, and also one made of iron that can only be opened with redstone power.
Trapdoors are made with six wood planks arranged in two rows horizontally, or four iron ingots arranged in a square, but if you don’t feel like crafting then you can also find them in shipwrecks and some igloos - hidden under the carpet, where they conceal secret basements full of goodies.
As well as an entranceway, you can use them to make drawbridges, staircases, elevators, and even sewer systems. Like torches, you can use them to quickly clear out columns of sand and gravel while mining underground. You can smelt them for fuel if you’re feeling wasteful. Oh, and they’re tremendously useful in redstone machinery.
You can also use trapdoors for aesthetic purposes. A block of dirt surrounded by open trapdoors makes an excellent flowerpot. A closed trapdoor on top of a furnace looks like a hob on top of a stove, and a trapdoor above a hopper, or a water-filled cauldron, makes a good-looking toilet. If there’s one thing every Minecraft house needs, it’s a good-looking toilet.
The history of real-world trapdoors, for some inexplicable reason, does not seem to be a subject of great academic interest, but they’ve probably been around about as long as doors have. On ships, they provide access to different decks. In homes, they let you climb up to an attic/loft or down to a cellar/basement. In theatres, they allow actors to magically appear or disappear through the stage.
But by far the coolest real-world trapdoors are the ones made by several different species of spiders. Trapdoor spiders live in aARGGGHHHHHHHH! Sound of Duncan plummeting through trapdoor before he can traumatise you with his horrifying facts about trapdoor spiders. You’re welcome.