Magnetic Safebox

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Project by johnzo posted 01-26-2015 08:11 PM 2806 views 30 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As the grandfather of quite a few inquisitive grandkids and a responsible pistol owner, I’ve been searching for a kid-proof and yet instant access safebox for my gun. I’ve looked at all the biometric pistol safes, but didn’t want to bother with batteries or complexity. I also wanted it to be permanently attached to a heavy piece of real estate just in case an intruder found it and tried to steal it. After seeing what some LJ members have conceived, I came up with a safebox that I’m totally comfortable with.
It is bolted to the back of a bedroom dresser that I built a few months ago and it’s hinged door is actuated by 3
rare earth magnets that are glued into a wooden plaque. I mounted a canoe to the plaque so that it looks like a dresser top display decoration.
When I want to access my pistol, I simply place the plaque squarely onto the top of the box which is out-of-sight, behind the dresser. The 3 magnets align with 3 ferrous slugs which were engaged into 3 holes in the door. The slugs are attracted to the magnets and the door is free to open. I made the box and plaque out of maple and used glued dowels for all joints. I then lined the box with adhesive backed felt for protecting the pistol finish. I’ve made about a half dozen so far that I’ve given away to gun toting friends and family members. So far the safeboxes have been very reliable and thank god – kid safe!

-- 70 is the new 50!

12 comments so far

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122 posts in 4139 days

#1 posted 01-26-2015 08:15 PM

clever. Thanks for sharing.

-- Someday I will be more than a sawdust wisperer

View jleakey's profile


15 posts in 2844 days

#2 posted 01-26-2015 09:07 PM

This looks like a great option I would love to try and build into my bed frame. I have one question, do the bolts have some kind of spring or does gravity pretty much take care of the locking pins once the magnet is removed.

View tool_junkie's profile


333 posts in 3866 days

#3 posted 01-26-2015 09:25 PM


Just make sure your grand kids don’t see this post!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4645 days

#4 posted 01-26-2015 09:43 PM

That is a great idea Johnzo…! I have a recessed opening behind a bedside table that I store a pistol in but it has no door… just a lip to keep it from sliding out when moving the table. Your idea makes much more sense.

How do you keep the pins in place and from falling out if the magnets are not there to hold them up?

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7741 posts in 3343 days

#5 posted 01-26-2015 10:08 PM

I was wondering the same thing about the pins as Greg…

Neat idea !

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View johnzo's profile


86 posts in 4132 days

#6 posted 01-26-2015 10:10 PM

The ferrous ‘slugs’ are in fact 1/4” modified internal hex shoulder bolts (modified in that the threaded end is cut off). The upper part of the box is made up of 2 layers of maple glued together. The lower half of this ‘sandwich’ has 3 drilled 1/4” +diameter holes. The upper half has 3 aligned 3/8” diameter holes. Thus, the head of the shoulder screw is free to travel up and down in a 3/8” drilled slot and is limited at the bottom of the stroke by the 1/4” + drilled hole diameter.
I didn’t use any springs. Only gravity. Works great as long as there are proper clearances so that the shoulder bolt ‘slugs’ don’t bind when moving up and down.

-- 70 is the new 50!

View EggMan's profile


70 posts in 3111 days

#7 posted 01-27-2015 03:30 AM

Clever idea but kids are more clever than we can imagine.

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4757 posts in 4931 days

#8 posted 01-27-2015 04:02 AM

Thats awesome I love it

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

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32 posts in 2558 days

#9 posted 01-27-2015 05:16 AM

A great idea! Good work.


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View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12854 posts in 4493 days

#10 posted 01-27-2015 05:51 AM

this is a very cool idea for a hidden latch system – thanks for posting this and sharing!

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View Tdazzo's profile


56 posts in 4186 days

#11 posted 01-27-2015 08:24 AM

Brilliantly done, great job. And thanks for the great idea!

-- "If you can't do something smart, do something right." -- Sheppard Book

View johnzo's profile


86 posts in 4132 days

#12 posted 01-27-2015 06:05 PM

A few more insights on the design of the safebox: The hinge at the bottom was a simple piano hinge with the attachment screws all hidden when the box is closed.
The rare earth magnets I used are 1/2” dia. X 3/8” long. The ferrous shoulder screws are .250” X 3/4” long (with the threaded end cut off and are radiused on the end for easier hole penetration).
The shoulder screw ‘slugs’ are engaged into the holes at the top of the door to a depth of approx. 1/4” and can’t be ‘jimmied’ open.
I attached a piece of adhesive backed felt to the bottom of the plaque to hide the magnets from view. One of the pictures shows the bottom of the plaque (one w/o the felt and next to it the finished felt bottom). With the magnets hidden, the casual observer will not realize it is in fact the key to opening the safebox.
A knob is provided for swinging the lid downward.

-- 70 is the new 50!

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