Top Secret Table

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A lesson in hidden compartments built into a sweet little table 

By Larissa Huff

It’s not often “U.S. Government” appears on our shop phone caller-ID. And I was certainly surprised when the voice inquired if we could design a custom course in concealment furniture making for a group of Navy Seals. As an instructor at the Lohr School of Woodworking, I know firsthand that we are not a reputed hub of covert operations, but I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to change that!

This table, born of that request, provided a fun design challenge. It combines traditional furniture making techniques with commonly available hardware to create surreptitious storage in a finely built, but inconspicuous piece of furniture. The four hideaways include a compartment under the hinged top, a cavity behind each of the two side aprons, and a false back in the drawer. The top is secured with an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) lock that requires passing an electronic key-card over it to release it. The child-proof lock on the left-hand side compartment disengages with the use of a dowel-encased magnet, while the push-latches in the right-hand compartment require only finger pressure. Pushing the drawer stop up from underneath releases the drawer to expose its hidden back space.

My hope is that building this piece teaches and inspires you to incorporate similar secrets into your own furniture. Just remember—and this is important—never under any circumstances should you peek under redacted information!

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