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Designing hidden compartments

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Forum topic by 23tony posted 10-26-2020 05:26 PM 414 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23tony

71 posts in 1083 days


10-26-2020 05:26 PM

I’ve seen a fair number of videos on building things with hidden drawers or other compartments. I’m wondering how to go about designing something like that? What approach do you use? How do you decide HOW to hide it?


10 replies so far

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Oldtool

3082 posts in 3104 days


#1 posted 10-26-2020 09:22 PM

Doesn’t look like you’re getting a lot of suggestions, so I’ll pitch in:

First, what are you attempting to make?, book case?, desk?, etc.

I’ve personally never done this, but I would suggest that the hidden compartments be located where the front opening is at a normal joint where components meet, so as to not have a noticable seam or joint in the middle of the project.

Once you’ve determined where or how the hidden drawer is located, design the structure of the desk, book case, etc., to be structurally sound without this in place, to permit easy operation. Then if you look around the web, you can find hidden locks that operate by a magnet key held up to the front of the drawer, etc., which are sold as child proof, or secret.

Hope this helps, good luck.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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Loren

10785 posts in 4561 days


#2 posted 10-26-2020 09:25 PM

Look at examples in videos of how they work and then obsess over how to do it until you think you can make a mock up and try out your idea.

I think this stuff is kind of a guarded secret as some fancy furniture makers appeal to very wealthy male clients with that kind of old world gimmickry.

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Oldtool

3082 posts in 3104 days


#3 posted 10-26-2020 09:51 PM

23,

Found these:

https://youtu.be/mpqtq0OVcS0

https://youtu.be/V11l2sSYOWc

https://youtu.be/V3NGBo2M1Ps

https://youtu.be/XgQCtbtyUuE

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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bugradx2

194 posts in 933 days


#4 posted 10-26-2020 09:52 PM

I’ve not done one. Yet….
I’m fascinated by them. I think you have to have your mind looking at it like everything needs to feel the same so the hidden stuff isn’t noticeable. Maybe make all the drawers the same size or something to fool the mind

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

View drsurfrat's profile

drsurfrat

210 posts in 100 days


#5 posted 10-27-2020 12:53 AM

This is almost a duplicate thread:
https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/311682
I am of the opinion that there are two categories, hard to open – like a puzzle box, and hidden in plain sight – like a crown molding that is a drawer.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

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23tony

71 posts in 1083 days


#6 posted 10-27-2020 05:29 PM


First, what are you attempting to make?, book case?, desk?, etc.

I ve personally never done this, but I would suggest that the hidden compartments be located where the front opening is at a normal joint where components meet, so as to not have a noticable seam or joint in the middle of the project.

- Oldtool

Just looking for info in general at this point. Thanks for the suggestions!


23,

Found these:

- Oldtool

Thank you!


This is almost a duplicate thread:
https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/311682
I am of the opinion that there are two categories, hard to open – like a puzzle box, and hidden in plain sight – like a crown molding that is a drawer.

- drsurfrat

Missed that thread somehow – and just a few days ago too!

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1177 posts in 824 days


#7 posted 10-27-2020 09:15 PM

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WoodenDreams

1177 posts in 824 days


#8 posted 10-27-2020 09:28 PM

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Madmark2

1813 posts in 1502 days


#9 posted 10-27-2020 09:29 PM

Most cheap kitchen drawers are only 3/4 deep. I made a simple sliding lid box that attached to the back of the drawer.

Its invisible in the dark behind the drawer even with the drawer pulled to full extension on 3/4 slides.

Another hidey hole is the false toe kick panel or a removable access panel to the under cabinet areas.

The sliding bars in the desk in National Treasure are easy to make. Notch four or five bars at various points just wide enough to allow a crossbar to pass. Only when all of the notches align will the crossbar be able to trip the release.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

4077 posts in 3262 days


#10 posted 10-27-2020 10:34 PM

I put a hidden compartment in the newel post at the old house. I used some rare earth magnets to hold the top in place. Nothing fancy.

When I was a kid I had a secret compartment in the wall hidden behind the door. The wall was covered with boards so one that had a nice finger sized knot made up the cover, with a spring loaded catch to hold it in place. Good place to hide things I didn’t want anyone to find.

The desks I made all have hidden compartments behind the back board of the drawer. The drawer sides are just a little longer than the drawer interior measures.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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