There are a number of existing Instructables related to creating Book Safes. Most of these require the use of a sharp knife and the tedious process of cutting each page individually. I wanted to make a series of books to use as a set of geocaching hides and this approach seemed too slow so I came up with my own solution of how to make a neat cut-out through the pages.
Step 1: Required Materials
In order to make this you will require:
1. A book, one that you don't mind destroying. If you are planning to use this as a book safe it should be one that will fit in on your book shelf. It is highly likely this old hymn book would stick out like a sore thumb on a bookshelf full of modern fiction books.
2. A pillar drill, you could try with a hand held power drill but are likely to struggle keeping it straight.
3. A holesaw drill bit in the size that you want your storage area. Obviously this needs to be smaller than your book, but larger than the items you want to store.
4. Two pieces of scrap wood, wider than your holesaw bit and longer than your book.
5. Clamps, with wide enough grips to securely grip the book and wood to your drill press plate.
6. PVA Glue, glue spreader and pot
7. A pair of tweezers, if you don't have any you can probably use a screwdriver etc.
8. Non-stick sheeting, I've used a piece of oven liner but kitchen foil or similar may also work.
9. A file if you want to neaten up the edges.
10. A pencil.
Step 2: Preparation
Firstly we will prepare a jig for clamping. By using two bits of wood with a hole through clamped round the pages we want to ensure the pages don't move or rip whilst drilling.
Line up and clamp the two bits of wood together. Mark the sides of the wood so that you can line them up accurately later and ensure you have them both the correct way up.
Drill a hole all the way through the wood. Try to avoid drilling into the pillar drills plate, flipping them over halfway through helps solve this problems.
Open the book and work out how thick you want the storage area to be. To make the book feel more natural you want to leave enough pages before and after storage area, I'd suggest using the middle third of the book but it is up to you.
Place a piece of wood on each side of the storage area. Make sure you have them aligned properly with both sides the right way up and then clamp them to the book and to the drill press stand.
Step 3: Drilling
First double check your alignment, make sure the holes in the wood are aligned with each other and also aligned with where the drill will drop down - don't forget to make sure the central drill bit is lined up with the hole through the drill plate.
Turn on the drill and slowly bring it down onto the book. With any luck it should start cutting the paper. Push down until you feel resisting, the release the leaver and turn the drill off.
Using tweezers, a flat head screwdriver, knife or whatever else you have use it to pry the now cut pieces of paper up and out of the way. Some of these may not be fully cut through, just rip the paper away carefully, the next pass through with the drill head will clean it up.
Don't forget to check the drill head, paper can get stuck up there and it really makes it much harder when drilling if you are trying to squash all this paper as well.
Repeat the drilling process until you are all the way through the pages. This takes a bit of patience but shouldn't take too long.
Do one last pass through to clean up the edges. If they are still rough in places and you are a perfectionist you may want to use the file to do any last bits of cleaning - do this with the clamps still attached.
Step 4: Glueing
Remove the clamps and wood, you are now ready for gluing.
Place a non-stick sheet between the bottom of the hole and the back pages, kitchen foil may also work. This is ensure that you don't make the back page too messy with glue, if you don't care (no-one should be looking in it right?) then you may get away with skipping the prottection.
Spread the glue up and down the sides of the book, covering it liberally so that their is plenty of paper for the pages to absorb. Leave it for about 5 minutes and then re-run the glue stick round the circle, re-spreading any excess glue until it is neat and completely covered.
Fold the non-stick sheet so that it is covering the front pages and clamp the book shut. Leave to dry overnight.
Once dried you should have a storage area that is relatively firm but the edges of which can still be 'flipped' and look natural.
Now glue the next page of the book to the storage area so that it has a base - make sure you don't spread the glue all the way to the edges of the book so that it stays natural (and you don't want glue seeping out making a mess,
Clamp again and leave to dry and then you are all done.
Step 5: Conclusions
You now have a book safe, put something in and go hide it somewhere!
So did this technique work? I was pleasantly surprised how well the glue on the insides of the cut work. I was expecting that it wouldn't be strong enough, but so far it seems to be holding up. The outsides of the book have remained untouched and it is impossible to tell from casual inspection that there is anything special about this book - even if someone were to flip the corners. The technique also produces nice neat edges of the storage area without requiring large amounts of dexterity or tedious painstaking work. There are some negatives, it took longer to get the drill through the book than I was hoping, however it is still much more efficient than cutting the pages by hand with a scalpel. Obviously the big downside of this approach is that the storage area is round rather than square, this limits what can be stored and doesn't use up all the space which is available. It is up to you if the speed benefits (particularly if you are making many) outweigh the limitations in storage space.
Like any simple idea I'm not the first to come up with this approach, it has been pointed out that this instructable does a very similar technique.