Admit it: Woodworkers
are a sneaky lot. We love to make things that nobody else can figure out,
such as wooden puzzles or mechanical toys. It’s a disease that’s been around
a long time, for if you study seventeenth and eighteenth-century furniture,
you’ll find quite a number of cabinets that house “secrets.” Most of these
hidden drawers were designed to hold valuables from prying eyes and hands.
Because it was long before the days of secure banks or consumer safes,
these drawers were probably made more out of necessity than intrigue. But
you can still wow your modern friends by creating a few of these fun, safe
Secret Drawer in the Back[b1]
The traditional spice cabinet by furniture maker Craig Bentzley of Pennsylvania
offers a tantalizing puzzle at the rear of the cabinet. Start at the front
by removing the lower drawer and reaching inside, where you pull forward
a wooden key dovetailed into the case bottom. The back of the case drops
down, revealing a small drawer at the top. Pretty underhanded, eh?
Hidden Boxes in an Apron[b1]
Push back both drawers in Joseph Seremeth’s “My Brother’s Table” (a sleek cherry
coffee table), to reveal what looks like a fixed center apron. Pull out the apron
and you have a small drawer in your hands.
But wait, there’s more. Put the little hid den drawer back into the table and
reach inside one of the drawer openings to access a catch. With the catch engaged,
pull out the hidden drawer; this time you also pull out a small box behind the
This article is excerpted
from The Complete Illustrated Guide To
Furniture & Cabinet Construction.