This invention came right from my dad's crazy mind. It's not so much a secret compartment box as it is a puzzle, but there is a lot of work involved with trying to replicate it. While there were a few flaws in our design (and mistakes in the building process), we managed to work them all out in the finished product. So if you're a dedicated woodworker and love complex problems, then step right up cuz this one's complicated!
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Step 1: Materials and Dimensions
- 1/2 Inch Plywood
- 3/16 Inch Plywood (It doesn't have to be this size, just a piece of paneling that is strong, but still flexible)
- Several 2/4s
- 1 Wooden Dowel
As for wooden materials, this is all you really need. We try to keep all of our builds restricted to extreme cheapness :)
As for the dimensions our box was 10" wide, 5" deep, and 8" high. You can see the rest of the dimensions in the picture above, small drawers are at the top and the big drawer is on the bottom. But you can make yours to whatever size you want.
Step 2: Framing and Drawers
Our procedure for cutting our plywood was very standard. We simply cut all of our pieces to size for our frame and proceeded to do the same for our drawers. In our project, we used 3/8 plywood because it was all we had on hand, but if I had to do it over, I would use 1/2 or something thicker because we had one tough time trying to nail this thing together. After you get your framing done, use some clamps to make sure the glue sets correctly.
Although I probably don't need to say it, but always make sure that you glue your pieces together along with nailing them so that they form a nice cohesive bond.
After you're done nailing and gluing your drawers together, you might need to sand them to get them to fit into their pockets.
Step 3: Handles
Super simple. Just grab whatever size dowel you want, cut it to size, glue it, clamp it, and let it dry. The next step is where things get difficult.....
Step 4: Legs and Panel Supports
In the video, we actually made things more complicated than they needed to be, but we were trying to mask our hidden grooves that you'll see later.
All we did for the legs is rip 2/4s down to a reasonable size about an inch and a half in diameter and about 10" in height and then put dadoes in them... and I mean a lot of dadoes! We put dadoes on each side of the leg that was facing outwards most of which were mainly for aesthetics.
Then we took them to the drill press and put two holes in the top, one for some special metal glides we made (I'll show you those in a second) and the other for a screw.
As a small side note, make sure your dadoes on the corners of your pieces are far enough away from each other so that there is enough space between the two that promotes a stronger bond, hopefully keeping them from breaking off. If you don't want to deal with this issue just skip making the dadoes all together and only put them on the inside of your posts so that you will have grooves to slide out your panels. Make sure that these grooves are wide enough for your panels.
Step 5: The Locks
For the locks, you're going to chop off about an inch off the tops of your posts on the ends with the holes drilled in them. These will act as your locks. MAKE SURE YOU MARK YOUR POSTS AND YOUR LOCKS SO YOU KNOW WHERE THEY GO! Trust me, you don't want to screwup your project at this point!
After you cut your wooden lock chunks off your posts, you can then attach the wooden posts to your main box. Once you've done this, you can create the metal glides. We created ours out of some old metal bolts that we ground down nice and smooth. Don't attach the wooden block locks just yet though as you're going to want to cut your sliding panels first.
Step 6: Sliding Panels
The process here is pretty much identical to cutting the plywood for your framing. Just cut your panels to fit inside your grooves, add some trim pieces to the ends, and then you can assemble your locks.
Step 7: Assembling Your Locks
For reattaching the block locks, put one screw in the top of each block and connect it to the post through the hole which you drilled earlier.
When you're putting in your metal glides, get the diameter and depth of your holes right. Otherwise, the sliding glide will get stuck in the hole or it will fall down too deep and the magnet won't be able to pull it up. The metal glide should rest comfortably somewhere in between the cut line of the post and block lock.
Also, you will want to attach a template that fits over the top of your locks. This will help conceal the mechanism that conceals your stash. What we did for ours is we actually ripped our caps off our 3/8 plywood. This way we could make it as thin or thick as we wanted.
Step 8: Finishing Up
Once you have your locks, caps, and panels attached, you're ready to finish off your Jewelry Box! We chose to use a blowtorch and an etching stylus to finish ours off. I would definitely recommend that you finish your own off with a wood burning stylus because it does wonders for masking your cracks and mistakes!
Oh yeah.... and don't forget to stain it. We used Polyurethane, but you can use whatever you want.
If you want more details as to how we completed this project, then take a look at the video at the top as it will explain in greater detail the steps needed to complete this box.