Quick and Easy Book Safe/geocache Container





Introduction: Quick and Easy Book Safe/geocache Container

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.



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44 Discussions

Same as the one I made December 2015. Most people don't have a drill press so I showed how to make it using a handheld drill.

1 reply

I have been wanting to make one but the process was entirely to tedious of a task for me (issues with ME and Leukemia brain fog and not so steady hands) have prevented me until now
Thank you
on a side note I'm going to use wood glue do as you have described but in order to make it square I'm going to try a very sharp chisel (I sharpen things a lot and have very very sharp chisels that only I'm allowed to use after a friend nearly cut the tip off his finger testing it )
But with the wood glue being dry it should be enough after clamping and drilling to square up the edges as you would any wood product
great instructable

We made a few of book safes using a cutting knife, but this idea of using a drill certainly makes the hole process faster and a lot less tedious! Thanks!

Thanks for giving me an idea! This would make items faster to access in an emergency.

I am curious about the term "pillar drill". I have never heard this machine called by that before. I live in the U.S.A., but I read and watch content from all over the world. I have only heard this machine referred to as a "drill press". Is "pillar drill" the common name for it where you live? Please, no insult intended; just curious. :-)

Thanks again.

8 replies

I'm in the UK, Pillar Drill was what I learnt to call them and looking at some of our big machine stores/manufacturers Pillar Drill seems to be what they call them as well, although drill press is also commonly used (particularly with foreign product names).

Hopefully the labelled picture let you work out what I was talking about pretty quickly!

A friend told me that to "Knock up a girl" means something different in the UK than the U.S.

Apparently in the U.K. it maens to go knock on her door and aske her for a date.

No - in my experience it is the same as the US. Perhaps 50 yrs ago....?

I'd agree with that, I can imagine that is where the phrase came from but I've only ever heard it used for getting someone pregnant - though who knows perhaps in some town or region it is still used in the traditional manner.

You did a great job of documenting your procedures, and the pictures were very well done. I appreciate quality work and sincere effort at teaching.

The internet has allowed me to learn things about other cultures that I otherwise would not know.

Our countries share a common language - English. I have always had an interest in the subtle differences that have evolved over time. You may have noticed some of these too. A few examples:

UK: learnt USA: learned
UK: whilst USA: while
UK: windscreen USA: windshield
UK: bonnet USA: hood (engine compartment covering)
UK: lorry USA: truck
UK: queue USA: line

The spoken language really complicates things. Within each country we have regional differences; even differences from one neighborhood to another; some of them are so different that I can barely understand what they are saying.

Thanks again! Chuck

I agree language differences can be really interesting, and a source of misunderstanding. Another one I know of is if you described this instructable as 'quite good' then being British I would read that as you saying "it is almost, but not totally good, there is still room for improvement, but it is a small bit above average' whilst as an American you would be trying to say 'it is very good, nothing really needs improving on it as it is better than good.'

Here in New Zealand when I did woodwork class, it was referred to as manual training, this sort of drill was called a drill press.

"Obviously the big downside of this approach is that the storage area is round rather than square,"

Would a router or a spiral saw work for this?

1 reply

Router may end up pulling the paper as it cuts, but the spiral saw is a good one to try, i dont have one but i certainly would give it a go if i did.

Could you add 4 magnets using a smaller drill to keep the top of the book from flopping open(like just close to the cavity), say if someone was trying to find something on the shelves and it were to be knocked down?

The easiest way to keep from drilling anything under a jig is to place a piece of scrap wood under the jig. Set the depth gauge deep enough to make it through the book.

Nice work for a make-do rig, thanks.


1 year ago

No reason a square area couldn't be made by making the plywood holes rectangular, drilling a smaller hole in one of the corners and using a jigsaw to cut along the edge of the plywood hole. All remaining steps would still apply of course.


1 year ago

Imagine my surprise and disappointment should I pick up such a book, start reading it, whilst becoming increasingly intrigued only to be balderdashed by the sudden appearance of a hidden treasure on the next page but one that has cut my intrigue short!

I was wondering if you could somehow use a paperback book as your safe?

And would there be a way to add a small lock on the open end of the book?