Introduction: Better Book Safe

Picture of Better Book Safe

I wanted a book safe and didn't like the versions that I saw that looked like they were hacked out with a rusty hatchet. So I came up with my own way of making one.

Materials needed

Thick book - find a book that will look like it belongs in the bookshelf. Don't put "The Works of Shakespear" in a shelf with electronics books just because it was the right size. It looks out of place. Better to use that book "10,000 Electronic Diagrams" that you never use anymore. You can get really nice thick well built books for free or very cheaply at garage sales, library sales, old book shops or just around the house. Just ask for permission if it's not your book.

A sharp utility knife or single edge razor blade or exactco knife

Band saw (recommended) or coping saw (useable)

6 min. epoxy or thin super glue - I like 6 min. epoxy because it is thick and will stay where you put it and I'm sensitive to the fumes of super glue.

Strong cloth or paper to reinforce the binding if necessary.

Step 1: Removing the Cover

Picture of Removing the Cover

Lets get started!

The better book will have a binding that looks like this. The cover of the spine is separate from the actual spine of the book and you can just cut down the hinge line and separate the cover from the pages.

If the cover is not separate from the spine carefully peel it away after you have cut at the hinge line.

Step 2: Half Way There

Picture of Half Way There

This is what you are trying to achieve. The book cover is separated on one side from the book pages. But the spine of the pages is still intact and the pages are still held together.

Step 3: Cover Removed

Picture of Cover Removed

Turn the book over and cut down the back hinge so that you can separate the book completely from the cover. You should end up with something like this.

Step 4: Starting to Cut the Well

Picture of Starting to Cut the Well

Use a band saw to cut out your "safe" area in the book starting from the spine and cutting in a straight line. I suggest you draw a guide line to show where you want to cut. I wanted a square safe but you could round the corners to make it easier to cut.

If you want square corners you have to cut the straight lines in the top and bottom first then cut a diagonal line so that you can get to the vertical line at the front.

When you are cutting make sure that you put pressure on the top of the stack and push from the bottom of the stack. If you push from the top of the stack the pages will buckle and the cut won't be aligned. And you stand a good chance of cutting off a finger when the stack buckles.

You could do the cuts using a coping saw but it's going to take much longer. To cut with a coping saw you should clamp the pages between two sheets of plywood already cut to the shape you want so that the book holds its shape while you cut. I did not find this necessary using a band saw.

Step 5: Cut Finished

Picture of Cut Finished

This is what you will end up with after you are finished cutting.

Of course you can and should recycle the cut out portion of the book.

Step 6: Putting It Back Together

Picture of Putting It Back Together

Lay the book back in its cover front side up. Mix us a small amount of epoxy and paint the inside of the safe with the epoxy. Make sure to get some under the bottom sheet to glue the book to the back cover. You can use thin super glue just dribble it all over the cut surface of the book. This glueing will hold the pages together and help the book to keep its shape.

Step 7: Cover Back On

Picture of Cover Back On

After the glue has hardened, apply more glue to the remaining back of the spine so that you can glue the cover back on. I was going to use the white material to reinforce the hinges but didn't feel it was necessary on this book. You can choose depending on what kind of book you use.

If you want a more finished appearance you can paint the interior or glue felt to the inside to cover up the glued edges.

Step 8: Finished

It's finished. You now have a book safe you can be proud to hide your "stash" in. No more embarrassing looks when your mom finds your stuff in a crappy looking book safe.


Loki_Peverell (author)2009-10-16

This is awesome and sooooooo easy! And now I will finally have a use for the bandsaw my uncle left in the basement when he moved out!

wenpherd (author)Loki_Peverell2009-10-20

Never wear a tie when operating a bandsaw, if it gets cought in the blade its over.

 So wait, a silk tie is stronger than my entire upper body and back? My back would break before the tie would shred?

just double checking.

No, the tie would pull you into the blade and rip your face to shreds.

1) Except that I'm pretty sure I'm stronger than the tie...

2) The motor, while having a high power, low rpm (the way one would be pulled into the blade) on the input is converted to high rpm and low power for the output to the blade...

2.5) ...and if you've ever held a loose blade in your hands you'd know how light they are. the same as when you stop a fan blade with your hand. momentum and mass go hand in hand. just because it's going fast doesn't mean it's unstoppable.

3) There is also a handy-dandy device called a blade guard that only exposes a designated section of the blade. unless your guard is set at a foot above the table of the saw or your face is two inches high i see no possible way to saw ones face with a bandsaw. 

I don't mean to sound rude i just don't like it when people take what they learned in shop class and expect it to be the 100% truth.

needs_more_to_do: stay away from power tools, you'll live longer and keep your fingers and face intact. You really need to listen to others. Other people just like you, who scoff at safety advice, are missing fingers, teeth, eyes, arm muscle, etc. If you really want to mangle yourself, you're in for a lifetime of pain.

While the likely hood of catching a "tie" and being drug into the blade is very slight, the idea that you are stronger and would just "fight the force" is insane.

Picture getting your tie caught in a low rpm lathe.  A really good one belts tight and all that.

Even a low rpm it would happen in an instant and you wouldn't have ANY time to prepare for it.  If your neck wasn't broken by hitting the lathe, then you would choke to death before you could free your self.  Believe me, I've had a couple of accidents in the shop (never hurt though) and it happens so quickly that you are dumbfounded.  Even your young quick reflexed won't always protect you.  You ain't BULLET PROOF!

Only an idiot argues basic safety precautions.

worleyll (author)Re-design2010-10-01

Lathe? a lathe has alot more power than a bandsaw!

In now way did I imply that I am invincible and in no way did i suggest that one should wear whatever around the shop. It is definitely important to keep loose ends clear however, I think I was pretty clear stating that my point was to dispel the myth that Tie + Saw = Face-shred.

So before you jump to conclusions why don't you go ahead and SCROLL UP.

Well you didn't dispel anything except that you don't really have the common sense that you think you do and someday will find that out.


kibbler (author)needs_more_to_do2010-09-08

I believe that means YOU LOSE

needs_more_to_do (author)kibbler2010-09-12

Wow really quick on the draw huh buddy. Good thing i was just waiting for some one to reply.

kibbler (author)needs_more_to_do2010-09-13

No problem. I'm to help

Well I didn't learn that in shop class cause I never took one, and it still is not a good idea anyway.

1 HP is the ability of 1 Belgian type horse to life 250,000 pounds 1 foot. If a band saw motor has 1/2 HP, that means you are fighting 125,000 pounds of pull. You are also talking about blades that can cut through oak or steel, as well the band saw is probably not bolted to the floor, making that a falling hazard. So, remove the tie! :)

Wow your arguments are pointless... Wear a clip on.....

Or just be safe and not wear a tie.

r42xer (author)Loki_Peverell2009-12-09

God u guys are arguing over what would happen if your tie got stuck in a band saw. thats really cool btw

Re-design (author)Loki_Peverell2009-10-16

Watch the fingers.

Bad Horse (author)2016-06-15

Thanks! How many horsepower is that bandsaw, and about how many seconds per inch did it cut through that book?

fjolliff (author)2015-01-24

I bet that if you split the pages to where it opens in the middle, you could use it as a tablet protector, nobody would think twice about you having a kindle stashed in a boring old etiquette book! Now, I wonder if my uncle would let me borrow his band saw...

Fandragon (author)2015-01-02

Late to the game here, but I just wanted to thank you for posting this! I've made a couple of book safes (well, one book safe and one book clock) using this method, and it worked SO much better than the "slice every page one by one" method I'd tried before.

Coffeeman26 made it! (author)2014-05-08

Before I started, I felt cutting the spine with a bandsaw was an issue. Epoxy in the joint closed it up -- covering the inside of the cutout concealed the join.

I lined the inside with heavy sketch paper that closely matches the texture of the original pages of the book.

One thing I should have remembered though, I used the original paper dust cover, and might have remembered to glue the flap into the back of the book before I glued down the cutouts.

Thanks to the OP for the great ideas.

Awesome for an external hard drive cover! :3

i feel like there'd be over-heating problems with that. did you ever try it out?

Nice idea that I had not thought of.

StandingOnStones (author)2013-12-28

Have you considered entering the Secret Doors and Compartments contest?

SantaB (author)2012-11-11

Could you please add a picture of the final product? I am curious how yours looks.

I initially thought this was a great idea, but have since tried it with two books and they just look unfinished. I am not sure if I did something wrong, or this is the way they are supposed to look.

hi there, just wanted to do this, but i had a quick thought, wouldn't the portion of the spine that's not supported buckle if someone were to touch it or press on it giving the safe away? perhaps i piece of cardboard or masonite measured and cut to the size of spine would do the trick?

No. "Most" larger books have the spine reinforced already. My book safe is undetectable visually and by touch from any of the other books.

metqa (author)2012-06-14

Haha, I could find a book, do this to make a book safe, but use it to stash my nook. It would really be a Book Nook. People will think I'm reading a regular book, but it will be digitized!!

But really, this is a great idea, much neater looking than the xacto knife method.

Re-design (author)2011-10-07

Yes. Since jig-saws have an up-stroke you'lll have a harder time keeping the pages together. But other than that it should work great.

FireRescueGuy (author)2009-12-29

Neodymiummagnets from an old CD/DVD drive would be VERY strong, you would just have to "indent" an area and epoxy them in... I think they are 1/8" think too.. so its still very covert. The more magnets you use along the edge the stronger the closed position will be, but also that much harder to open.

jmhoward (author)FireRescueGuy2011-09-27

What a clever idea! Using magnets along the closed edge would keep the book from being inadvertently opened.

FireRescueGuy (author)jmhoward2011-09-27

Thank you! This was fun to build

pmcbruce (author)2011-08-16

Nice one mate. Was planning on doing something like this with a book on, business statistics or some rubbish, to put my netbook in when I travel through crazier places like south america or simply for the fun of having your netbook inside such an awesome cover - but taking the pages out and using a bandsaw, i never thought of that - brilliant.

iPodGuy (author)2011-02-16

This is awesome!

For the past couple of months I've been setting up a geocaching program for the county library system and I've been hollowing out a lot of books with an Xacto knife. I'm to the point where I'm absolutely sick of it.

Now I just have to dig out my old bandsaw and buy a new blade.


chrisandamanda (author)2010-12-06

I really like this Instructable that I am going to use for a Geocache in a Public Library. Thanks for the Idea how to do it.

Re-design (author)chrisandamanda2010-12-07

Great idea!

lug big lug (author)Re-design2010-12-25

AWESOME idea.... Is there a copyright? bc i am gunna use it

Re-design (author)lug big lug2010-12-26

Nope, no copyright. Use it as you see fit.

tbcross (author)2010-05-07

please don't use Shakespeare even if your bookshelf is loaded with classics, it just seems wrong... :)

Re-design (author)tbcross2010-05-07

Oh, I agree totally.  I used an old art encyclopedia type book.

tbcross (author)Re-design2010-05-08

:) that's cool I have some old text books that would work. The ex was a teacher and of course those got left behind. lol

peacemaker5000 (author)2010-03-20

nice and simple and you dont have to cut each page with a knife thanks

ddavel544 (author)2009-12-15

Pretty cleaver, don't have a band-saw....but my regular electric hand saw should work just as well.  Will just have to check the floor and look for my left thumb.....

Re-design (author)ddavel5442009-12-16

And don't cut thru your workbench or the kitchen table either.

stephenniall (author)Re-design2010-01-29

And my dad wonders how that burn the size of a soldering iron was on the kitchen table and why a chunk is missing

Re-design (author)stephenniall2010-01-29


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