How To Build A Secret Compartment In Your Desk


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In this world where increasingly intrusive forces are becoming more of a reality than the realms of some sci-fi movie, having a few secret places for yourself can be a boon. However, secret compartments aren’t for the crazily paranoid anymore, they can actually be downright handy. It can be a way to hide your valuables from intruders or even keeping your handgun hidden away from curious children.

When it comes to building a secret compartment, your desk is the best option. It is somewhere that you likely spend a decent amount of time, and it provides a lot of different possibilities that you can easily modify.

Building a Secret

Many desks come with drawers that are capable of being locked, but those aren’t secrets. If anything, a locked drawer is a target that says, “I have something good in here!” Building a secret compartment in your desk is about really one thing – illusion. You want to create the illusion that your desk is a completely normal desk. You want prying eyes to be able to look through it and completely not notice that there is anything different about your desk from the store models.


What You Will Need

You can build a secret compartment in your desk with surprisingly few materials. You will need, at very least:

  • A Jigsaw – Excellent for cutting into wood and leaving behind very fine lines
  • A Set of Invisible Hinges
  • Stain and Varnish – Make sure it matches the stain of your desk exactly
  • A Locking Mechanism

You have a variety of different locks available to you, but the best options are either touch locks or magnetic locks. A rip cord to pop the secret compartment cover is also an option, but unless done very subtly, it is often not much of a secret.


False-Bottomed Drawers

If you want a secret compartment, but you don’t want to put a lot of effort into modifying your desk, the false-bottomed drawer is the easiest secret compartment modification to make. This is all about simply tricking the eye into believing that this drawer is not actually as deep as it actually is.

Essentially, you take a thin piece of board that is the exact same style as the bottom of your drawer, and attach it just slightly higher than the bottom to create a secret compartment. This can be done easily with invisible hinges and it can be opened with a small obscure rip cord to pull it open or, even better, a touch latch so all you have to do to open it is push the right spot.

The major downfall with the false-bottomed drawer is that if whoever is rummaging around your desk is particularly observant, they can spot a false bottom. You can tell by looking at the side of a desk that the drawer should be deeper unless you are the master of creatingthe illusion of depth. One thing you can do is fill the drawer is papers or other clutter, just to make it look busy enough that they are not suspicious.

Another major downside is that you can’t build the compartment very big. Many who use this trick can only get, at max, about an inch and a half of space without it looking very strange, and that is only for deep drawers. It might be just big enough to conceal a handgun, but most people use this trick more for important documents.


False Bases

If you are more comfortable with your woodworking skills and willing to do the modification, installing a false base makes for building a better secret compartment than a false-bottomed drawer. Almost every desk comes with a base just the below the drawers for stability that is pretty much unutilized space. You can easily cut into it and install your own compartment before replacing the design front. Depending on the size of the base of your desk, it also provides a compartment that is much bigger than your false bottom so that beastly .45 or your horde of emergency gold will have no problem fitting.

While you can cut into that baseboard, install your compartment, and install a swinging door with invisible hinges, you have to deal with people seeing that there is that slight gap where the saw cut in. No matter of how small of a jigsaw you use, it will always be there. A good option is to disguise it is by adding some decorative lines into your base and repainting so it is not so noticeable, but there is actually an easier way.


If you take off the entire front piece of the base of your desk, you can actually attach it to a compartment like the front of a drawer. This way, you can stack some boxes on the side of your desk and it remains completely hidden. With this design, you also don’t need to install an actual lock if you don’t want to, all you need to do is grip it on each side and pull it out. By doing this, you no longer run the common risk of someone accidentally kicking your desk base and your compartment popping open for all the world to see.

A secret compartment in your desk is a great way to keep your valuables safe, but if the world unravels, it won’t be big enough to keep your whole family safe. For those times, there is the Survival Life Association and this FREE Survival Guide.

Survival Guide and checklist

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