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Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

author-gravatar WoodGate Dec 13, 2020

I built this for my son for Christmas. It has a secret compartment in the bottom via a removeable panel. The panel is on a spring mechanism. Sliding it towards the right allow the left to come out of its dado and lift out. 

Hand-made cast-iron hardware, Brusso hinges, brass lockset

Finished in clear Danish oil and top-coated with satin polyurethane. 

#StrongBox #SecretCompartment #Box 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

The "secret" panels are spring loaded. Push towards the right and they pop out of the left. 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

This is a piece of oak plywood that I used only for testing my spring mechanism for both the top and the bottom hidden compartments. The final panel was solid oak and doesn't have the bow that developed in the plywood. 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

Epoxy was used for the springs. 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

Walnut inlay around the top. 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

Perfect Miters! 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

I used a thin "glue-line" blade. 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

I cut all the way through the long sides and leave a tiny amount (<1 mm) on the sides and then hand cut the sides. This avoids having the blade contact the box. 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

Brass Lockset

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

A little filing and patience is all it takes to mill out an inset brass keyhole liner. 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

The box on the right is another project. For this lift-out tray, I realized I had way to much height on the sides, so rather than cut it, I added a solid Walnut bottom to the other side. When I cut it out, I ended up with an extra "valet" box that will go to someone special for Christmas! 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

Done! 

Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment
Photo of Oak StrongBox with Walnut Inlay and Secret Compartment

3 comments

The execution on this box is outstanding! I love the inlay, crisp miters, the figure in the oak, the hinges.. pretty much everything about this box, I love. Excellent work! Thanks for sharing you work.

Thank you @Sean! This Oak actually came from Home Depot I was surprised to find it usually a piece like this would be snatched up as soon as it was put on the shelf. This box started as a simple box but evolved into something more. I actually started it over 6 months ago and then put it aside before I glued up anything. I resurrected it to finish by Christmas. I did do a video for YouTube for the lock installation. 


FYI: I don't like the handle placement. I made the mistake of deciding the location and putting it on before I put the top on. Had I put the top on, I would have raised the handles another inch or so. I am looking for some sort of strapping that will hide the lower holes for the handle. If I can find something, I'll move the handles up so that the top hole now is the new bottom holes. That looks much better. 

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