Wooden Box With Secret Compartment

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Introduction: Wooden Box With Secret Compartment

About: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with!

Most people who did woodwork at school would have made themselves a wooden box just like this one. It's a classic build which as a slide out lid. However, I put a bit of a spin on it and made a secret drawer!

The drawer is hidden in the bottom section of the box and if I didn't tell you it was there you'd never be the wiser.

I was going to engineer some fancy locking mechanism but didn't have to in the end as it's held in place just with friction.

The materials you need are minimal and you'll only need a few different pieces of wood and some C channel aluminum to put together this build. Tools are pretty basic as well but you will need a router to make the channel for the lid. I have a Dremel with a routing bit which does the job perfectly.

I also made a short video of it in action. I didn't bother doing a whole build video as it's pretty much just me cutting wood and which a little boring to watch.

Supplies

Step 1: Routing a Groove & Cutting the Wood for the Box

The first thing to do is to use a router and make a groove for the ply wood lid.

STEPS:

  1. First secure the piece of wood firmly to a flat surface using clamps
  2. Next decide how far down the side of the box you will want to place the lid. I like to make the groove very close to the top so I am utilizing as much of the inside section as I can
  3. With a router (or dremel with a routing bit and tool), make the groove in the wood. Go nice and slow
  4. If necessary, use something like a small screwdriver to remove any sawdust and burrs of wood left inside the groove
  5. Now it's time to work out what size you want to make the actual box. You could make a smaller one then mine or larger if you prefer - all up tp you. The dimensions of my box can be found in the image on this step
  6. Measure, mark and cut the wood to size

Step 2: Making the Box

You could use wood glue to connect the sides up but as I hate waiting I used a nail gun which worked just fine

STEPS:

  1. First connect a short and long side together, making sure that the groove in the top of the sides matches up. I have a jig that ensures that the sides are square which comes in handy for a project like this
  2. Add a couple nails and then add another long side and do the same thing.
  3. Don't put the other small side yet. You need to modify this to make the drawer section.
  4. Lastly, cut a piece of ply wood for the base and nail this top the bottom of the box. It's important that you cut the ply wood so it includes the 4th short wall of the case as well.

Step 3: Making the Drawer Runners

The runners for the drawer are made from some C channel aluminium.

STEPS:

  1. Place the C channel inside the box and mark where it ends inside the box
  2. Use a cutting wheel on a grinder and cut 2 pieces of equal length.
  3. Place back inside the box and make sure that it is flush with the 2 longer sections on the inside of the box
  4. Don't secure the C channel yet to the inside of the box - you'll do that later

Step 4: Making the Drawer

The drawer is made from some square dowel for the sides and some thin ply wood for the base. If you place the dowel and ply wood together it should fit nicely inside the C channel. If it is a little tight you can sand it after it has been made

STEPS:

  1. Place the C channel inside the box and measure the distance between them and also the length of the C channel
  2. Cut a piece of ply wood to fit and check by placing it in the C channel whist it is inside the box. If it slides in and out you have your measurements right
  3. Next, cut the square dowel to make sides for the drawer and either glue or nail gun these into place.
  4. Place it again into the c channel and make sure it slides nice and easy back and forth. Sand the top section of the drawer if it is catching anywhere

Step 5: Modding and Adding the Other Side Wall

The 4th side wall for the box is going to be partial used as the drawer front and also will be connected to the box

STEPS:

  1. First, cut the side wall in half, about 2/3 the down.
  2. Sand the cut section so it is nice and flat
  3. At this stage you can secure the C channel inside the box. Scratch up the sides that will be touching the inside of the box, add some superglue and stick them into place
  4. Place the drawer inside and while the box is sitting on a flat surface, place the smaller section of the side wall against the drawer and nail into place.
  5. Next, place the larger side wall section on top of the smaller one and while pushing down on it, also nail it into place
  6. Test to make sure that the drawer opens. It should be tight but will a bit of a pull should open. Sand the top of the drawer section if it is really tight and try again.


Step 6: Adding a Base to the Inside of the Box and Making a Lid

STEPS:

  1. To now need to make another base for the inside of the box to cover the and hide the drawer. Just a piece of ply wood so it just fits inside the box (should be as tight a fit as you can make it).
  2. Add some superglue tot he top of the C channel and glue the base to them
  3. To make the lid, measure the distance between the grooves in the top of the box and cut a piece of ply wood to fit
  4. Slide it in place and make any modifications necessary for a nice smooth fit
  5. To enable easy opening of the lid, I added a small dowel knob to the top of the lid section.
  6. Now it time to paint the box. I used some 'aged teak' stain and gave it one coat.

Step 7: Adding Some Aluminium to the Box to Help Hide the Drawer

It was around here that I dropped my camera and it wouldn't turn on again! I had to use another camera I had and the images came out dark. I did my best to fix them though.

The drawer is pretty well hidden but you can just see where the wood has been cut and it will give the secret away to anyone who has a good look. I decided to add some aluminium to help hide the drawer

STEPS:

1. Cut 4 pieces of angle aluminium and secure them to each side of the box. I added some superglue first and then screwed each one into place. Be careful when adding the glue to the aluminium and drawer as you don't want to glue it shut! Make sure you add the screws in the same place for each so there is no sign that one side is different to the other

2. Next add some flat strip aluminium around the sides of the box. I just superglued these into place. The strip where the drawer is needs to be about half way down on the drawer and cover the box section where the drawer meets the box.

Other ideas

Add 4 small rubber feet to the bottom of the box.

Add some felt to the inside of the box

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    12 Comments

    0
    JimT86
    JimT86

    6 weeks ago on Step 7

    Kinda of a lame looking box, did you fail it in high school?

    0
    SantaB
    SantaB

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    There's nicer ways to say this... while I kind of agree (I don't personally like the aluminum) I do think it is an awesome project that could be done different ways. I may try making something similar with contrasting woods.

    Great project! In fact, I like your hollow book safes as well!

    0
    Mad4400
    Mad4400

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Wow Jim, I'm so glad you came out a 4 year hiatus to offer such an insightful opinion on lonesoulsurfer's contribution. Be sure to enjoy your lump of coal this Christmas mate!

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    6 weeks ago

    That's a fun way to hide a compartment :)

    0
    Mad4400
    Mad4400

    6 weeks ago

    Seems to be missing the step sequencer mate, I guess I'll have to wait for the revised version. XD
    Great simple concept and design. I'd have to add some magnets inset into the secret drawer to help to prevent anyone stumbling upon the stash spot.(and because I can't use a design from the internet with out adding my own variation to it!)

    0
    lonesoulsurfer
    lonesoulsurfer

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    haha - everything needs a sequencer and LED's!
    yeah - magnets would be a good addition. I was going to do that myself but I found that the friction seemed to be enough to keep it well in place.

    0
    robertsteel
    robertsteel

    5 weeks ago

    Good one mate

    0
    Plantwhisperer
    Plantwhisperer

    6 weeks ago

    Nice, easy to make box!! The aluminium corners are an excellent idea for hiding the secret drawer. I'm going to try this ible with copper, in place of the aluminium, which I'll flame colour the copper then seal it.
    Thanks!!

    0
    lonesoulsurfer
    lonesoulsurfer

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Brass and wood = marriage made in heaven! I would have liked to have used brass as well but couldn't get the right sizes easily.