58 years old secret Abdel box (Roy Underhill!) now with drawing!

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Project by mafe posted 09-28-2010 07:18 PM 57645 views 83 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

58 years old secret box
Made me a little confused when I saw this today.

Today I had a wonderful lunch at an old friend and architect Ib Welling, he is an old carpenter and has so many wonderful things in his house, so I was on a little discovery tour.

Her I found the box you see on the pictures,
I said: ‘Ib did you make yourself a Roy Underhill box?’
He answered: ‘Roy who?
And then he told me this box was given to him when he was 8 he is now 66…
It was given to him from his father’s sisters husband who was Lebanese, his name was Abdel, and was extremely rich.
So the the ‘Roy Underhill’ box are at least 58 years old, and this one comes from Lebanon.

I call it now mine the ABDEL box, and have added my sketchbook drawing.

There are two differences;
The old ABDEL has two steel tops, one that are the pivot, and one just for confusion.
The dovetail is only half, and is cut out from the lover part of the box, so it all is the same wood.
And the most interesting difference are that the original has a secret lock, that makes it impossible not to open the box unless you hold it upside down – so now even I start to see why this box are a secret box, and not just difficult to open.

Here are a link for my version of the ABDEL box; MaFe Overkill grease box.
Roy Underhill version can be found here on his web site, with plans along with other cool stuff.

I made a blog about the grease box story.

Hope it can be to inspiration, and Il think Roy are a wonderful guy, just so there are no doubts,

Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

30 comments so far

View anon's profile


417 posts in 4388 days

#1 posted 09-28-2010 07:26 PM

Hey Mads
Very cool, and awesome story :)
is it possible for you to explain the mechanism that doesnt allow you to open it unless you hold it upside down? i find it difficult to see from the pictures.

“edit” – after staring at the last two pictures for a few minutes i think i see the secret mechanism… heheh :) very very cool!!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4358 days

#2 posted 09-28-2010 07:29 PM

Mads, that is really an unusual find and looks like it is quite ingenius. I’m glad that you had a good visit with your friend. He sounds like he is quite an interesting character. take care, Mads.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4607 days

#3 posted 09-28-2010 07:34 PM

yes Mads I´m with Flemming
you deffently have to explain this
so even dummies (like me ) can see it (and understand) ....LOL

niiice score if it was given to you :-)


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24924 posts in 5167 days

#4 posted 09-28-2010 07:47 PM

Great little box Mads. An old version :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bricofleur's profile


1484 posts in 4684 days

#5 posted 09-28-2010 07:53 PM

A real treasure! Thanks for showing and sharing. That’s a nice project for the winter time.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4528 days

#6 posted 09-28-2010 08:27 PM

Cunning little devil. Upside down eh!

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4581 days

#7 posted 09-28-2010 08:51 PM

Hi guys,
Yes I’ll try and explain.
When the box are held normal the little metal piece falls into the hole under, and then it’s not possible for it to slide in the spur, when it’s turned upside down, it falls into the lit hole, and that means the middle lit now can use the spr and be opened. Clever!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4607 days

#8 posted 09-28-2010 08:57 PM

thank´s Mads hadn´t seen picture 3 sorry I thought it was the same as 4


View swirt's profile


7776 posts in 4463 days

#9 posted 09-28-2010 09:16 PM

Hmmmm an only open upside down greesebox….sounds like a trick to make sure some apprentice gets gooey hands. ;)

And yes, Roy did not invent the box. Only built one on his show. ... which ought to be starting up a new season any time now. Hard to believe he is going on his 30th season. Wow.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4348 days

#10 posted 09-28-2010 09:19 PM

Hi Mads,
had you noticed this before?

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4581 days

#11 posted 09-28-2010 09:33 PM

Hi Jamie, noticed what?
Swirt, I just wrote him, and told him the story – and I never heard about him before looking for old English tallow pot’s, but I loved this video with him, he seems so positive and full of light, just a type I love. The version my friend had was not for grease, just a secret box from Lebanon.
If some one have info of the origin, it will be fun to know more.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4432 days

#12 posted 09-28-2010 09:48 PM

Hey President, apart from the clever little mechanism, THAT box sure has character! Imagine if it could tell about its travels…

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 4301 days

#13 posted 09-28-2010 10:58 PM

What a “great” little box Mads :)

That secret lock is a awesom.

Keep of the good work finding things :)

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4425 days

#14 posted 09-29-2010 01:26 AM

Now that it is known how the lock works, I can pretend not to be a dummie.

What kind of wood is it made off?

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4581 days

#15 posted 09-29-2010 02:23 AM

Ian, I have no idea!

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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