National Treasure Desk *Spoiler*

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Forum topic by DannyBoy posted 01-03-2008 12:47 AM 8626 views 2 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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521 posts in 4194 days

01-03-2008 12:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question design movie

I know, this seems like it would be better off in the coffee lounge or on a completely different site but I had a question for the more talented among us about something I saw in the movie that I thought was wicked cool.

Stop Reading Here If You Don’t Want Me To Spoil the Movie For You*

The Resolute desks in the film have a secret compartment that can only be opened by a combination involving how far the other known drawers are pulled out. The amount you pulled out each drawer corresponded to a combination of numbers inscribed on the bottom of each drawer.

Has anyone ever actually seen or built a desk or dresser or any other piece of furniture that had something similar in it? Are there any known books out there that suggest or teach how to make such a feature?

I’m seriously curious about this. It seems a bit too cool to be true but I’m sure somebody has done it or could do it.

~Danny Boy

-- He said wood...

6 replies so far

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4635 days

#1 posted 01-03-2008 12:49 AM

I saw it and thought it was cool too, I would suspect it is possible.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4489 days

#2 posted 01-03-2008 12:53 AM

we have a couple puzzle makers here that have created “combination” movements

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4454 days

#3 posted 01-03-2008 07:36 PM

I didn’t see the movie, but… You know how a standard key lock works, right? There are a bunch of pins that are split in two at different places, the pins rest on the key, so when you put the key in you’re pushing all the pins so that the breaks line up at the edge of the cylinder and you can turn the key.

So you could put a lip along the edge of each drawer, cut a notch in that lip at different places in each drawer, and have a bar that had notches to accommodate the lip running vertically such that when your drawers were pulled out to the right location the notch in the lip lined up with the bar.

Just as in a regular lock, how accurate you can make those notches keeps you from doing pin-by-pin picking (the way you normally pick a lock is put a little tension on the lock, and then manipulate the pins up and down, hoping that there’s enough slop in the manufacture that they’ll stick slightly when one is lined up, so you can line them up one at a time), but for a kid’s desk so that they can have their very own secret compartment this should be no problem to whip together.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View JonJ's profile


163 posts in 4169 days

#4 posted 01-03-2008 07:45 PM

There was a series of books starting in the late 70’s, “Foxfire” which contained articles on mountain living. One of them was on wooden locks mounted to smokehouse doors and outbuildings. The principles could be applied to anything you wished to secure by a combination of tumblers. I’ll look and see if I can find it- meanwhile, I bet if you Googled “wooden locks” you’d find some stuff.

-- Jon

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 4168 days

#5 posted 01-04-2008 03:35 AM

The length of the cord (probably leather or for modern use, some nylon) could be fastened to the end of each drawer at differing lengths. this would run through a groove or slot to a rotating pivot. At this point, its a standard pin tumbler lock…..The twisty bits are another story :)


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View bew's profile


5 posts in 3189 days

#6 posted 08-30-2010 07:06 AM

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