Hi everybody! Today I will show you how to make a secret drawer below your table surface with the use of a hidden magnetic lock. The drawer is barely visible from the top and because of its hidden magnetic lock, appears to be part of the table itself. This Instructable shows you how to make the drawer along with the locking mechanism. If you already have a drawer, you can skip ahead to step 7 for the lock. I suggest you read through the instructable before you begin to see what is expected and get a better understanding of the project. There are many possible variations and sizes you can apply to carry different items or loads. You can also use a variety of locks, some of which I will explain here. I hope the instructions are simple and easy to understand. Enjoy and have fun.
Step 1: MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT
These are the materials required for the project. In this project I used old and damaged offcuts from previous projects so please bear with the defects :) Keep in mind some of the sizes and quantities may vary depending on your choice of materials:
- WOOD(varies according to size and dimensions):
- X1 700mm X 350mm X 12mm (Base)
- X2 700mm X 100mm X 12mm (Front and Back)
- X2 350mm X 70mm X 20mm (sides)
- X15 6X41 Wood screws
- X8 10X19 G Screws
- Pair of full ext BB runner 350mm sliding rails
- Wood glue
- Wood putty
- Wood vinyl (for matching the drawer to the rest of the table)
- X2 Earth magnets
- Metal rod (5mm X 50mm)
- PVC pipe (20mm X 20mm)
- Spring (optional)
- Q-Bond Adhesive(or any other strong adhesive)
This is the equipment that is required for this project:
- Jigsaw / Circular blade saw
- Sand paper / Electrical planer
- Measuring equipment
Step 2: PLANNING
Before you start with a task, you should always have a solid plan and understanding of the project. For this particular project you need to be fully aware of the dimension, sizes and restrictions that could effect the outcome. Draw out a plan to provide you with all the specifications.
These are some of the points you may need to consider for this project:
- For my table I had to make sure that I didn't drill into the other side drawers which could prevent them from opening.
- Take note that a person must still be able to comfortably sit without the drawer interfering with leg space.
- Decide what you want to carry in the drawer and calculate how much it would weigh to determine what materials and dimensions to use.
- Think of ways to match the secret drawer with the rest of the table. You could either paint it, plaster it or use matching wood. I plastered mine.
- Where do you want the locking system so that it doesn't interfere with the functionality of the drawer? Keep it away from magnetic materials that could effect its motion or devices that could get damaged.
- Where do you want your railings or sliding mechanism? Usually they are placed on the sides but I decided to attach them to the top. This is because I will not be storing heavy items. This also allowed me to place the locking mechanism facing the side wood. The top wood of my table surface was also much thicker and stronger than the sides. Take the dimensions of the railings as well when planning.
Step 3: DIMENSIONS AND MARKING
Once you have the plans sorted and materials gathered, it's time to measure your desk and make the relevant markings as guidance. My drawer is designed to carry my laptop and other small items. Therefore the measurements I take will be centered around my particular use for the drawer.
Measure the area under your table and record the dimensions. The desk space I will be using is 700mm X 375mm. Therefore I will use full ext BB runner 350mm sliding rails which gives the drawer enough room to stay hidden. Now make the markings on the wood. You will need 2 side boards; 1 base board; 1 backboard and 1 front board. Make sure you take the thickness of the wood and rails into consideration as this will affect the dimensions.
Step 4: PREPARING THE WOOD
Now that we have marked the wood, cut the relevant sizes. Remember to make space for the rails to slide through like in image 3. Once the wood is cut, you can sand all the edges and faces.
Step 5: ASSEMBLING THE DRAWER
Once you have cut the wood dimensions necessary for the drawer, it's time to assemble all the pieces together.
Add the wood glue around the sides where the wooden pieces will be connected. Place the 2 side boards on top of the base and attach them from the bottom using the 6X41 wood screws. When using screws, it is easier to first make a small hole with the drill. This helps guide the screws through the wood.
Once again add wood glue and attach the front and back pieces. Once they are attached you can wipe the extra wood glue with a cloth and leave it to dry.
Step 6: RAILING
Now it's time to add the sliders. Position the railings on the top side so that they are in line with the side wood. Also take note of which holes you can use on the sliders. You might have to position the slides in order to reach the holes (image 2, 4 and 6). Attach the slides with the 6X41 wood screws.
Step 7: LOCKING SYSTEM
There are a variety of locking systems that you could use. I decided to use a magnetic system because it doesn't require an evident opening or key hole.
For my system, you will have a horizontal tube that holds the magnet. The magnet will have a rod attached that protrudes out past the drawer which will effectively go into the side of the table. Additionally, you could also position the lock so that the rod goes into the side drawers as well allowing you to effectively have a lock for two compartments on the table. I also added a spring to make it automatically lock.
Firstly, cut the tube so that the magnet has enough room to slide back and forth while preventing the rod from exiting the side wood. Place a cap to prevent the magnet from exiting the back end of the tube. I used a cap from a pill case.
Then mark where the metal rod will go through the side wood and drill a hole big enough for it to slide past but small enough to prevent it from jiggling.
Now add the spring and rod to the magnet (I used their magnetic properties to keep them together without adhesive).
Test that the rod goes through and using the strong adhesive, stick the tube so that the open side is flat against the side wood.
Other locking systems could include having the rod go up into the table surface instead of the sides. It would open by pushing the magnet down with the opposite side of another magnet. There is also a variety of hidden magnetic locks that you could purchase online and in hardware stores.
Above is the magnetic lock system used in the instructable as well as an alternative setup as described above.
Step 8: DISGUISE
This step is about disguising the drawer to match the table. You can skip this part if you have painted your wood or used matching wood from the start.
Using the wood putty, cover all areas where there are defects or holes such as around the screws or where the wood pieces join. Now cut the wooden vinyl or paper so that it covers all necessary areas. Add wood glue and smear it around to all the areas that will be visible and slowly place the paper so that it is evenly attached. You can use a cloth and credit card or ruler to slowly push out any air bubbles that appear.
Step 9: ADDITIONS
You could also add a secret charging hole at the back so that a power cable can fit through. Just drill a whole at the back of the table and the drawer large enough for the cable head to pass through. Now you can also safely and secretly charge your devices. You can also add interior lighting or implement various compartments and dividers.
Step 10: INSTALLATION
Now it is time to attach the drawer to the table. measure where the metal rod from the locking system will exit and mark it on the side of the table. Add tape or some sort of marker on the drill bit so that you don't drill through the side. Drill a small hole first, then a hole the same size as the rod and using a countersink bit, widen the end so that the rod can slide in if there are slight alterations in movement. Place the drawer under the table and attach it to the top with the 10X19 G screws. Once again I first marked and made holes where the screws would go. When attaching the drawer, it might move around. Therefore I used a ruler as a buffer to keep it stationary.
Step 11: FINAL PRODUCT
This is the finished Secret Drawer. Thank you for taking time out to check out my instructable. I hope it was easy to understand and that it was useful. Think of other designs and locking systems you can make. Please comment on what you think and on how I can improve it. I'm still young and inexperienced and am constantly learning new techniques each day so your advice would be greatly appreciated :)