The Lost Day

  • Advertise with us
Project by KelSnake posted 10-24-2014 11:53 AM 1320 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Lost Day

I really enjoy working with barn board sometimes because for the moment when I have finished a piece its already 100+ years old and how else can one make such a piece and have it looking centuries old? The odd weathered nail/worm hole that exists here and there can be played with as a tease because you can see parts moving behind the hole, or, you can use those holes as a point of entry to poke a stick at to affect a myriad of switches and dials.

The Lost Day chest you see above has 16 different secret compartments inside, each with a different locking system. A few secret compartments feature multiple locking systems that are accessed from different parts of the chest, yes very sneaky. One thing I have revived from my own childhood is the joy of finding hidden treasure, who does that anymore? When you have found the most hidden, most guarded secret compartment you will be rewarded with a real silver coin (sometimes there are many to be found). This chest started a genre within the puzzle designs that I build in particular, and its called a “Stem to Stern” chest meaning that every possible amount of internal space is taken up by compartments and/or locking systems. Mathematical problems were added to increase the level of difficulty in accessing the combination locks, which you only found when you reached a certain point which helps ensure the chest is solved in a particular order. All in all I believe it took this customer 18 hours to solve.

As for constructing such monstrosity I started at the beginning and worked to fill in the spaces as I went. It has elements of woodburning and stone inlays. The hawk emblem disc is actually two things, first it is removable to be used as a magnetic wand to help you get into other spaces, and two, it is what I term a “tamper seal” in that it is very difficult to get the hawk to sit perfectly square to the chest and if you come back tyo look at it some time later and it is now crooked, chances are its been played with. There are locks that are magnetic in nature but the obvious magnetic wands just don’t seem powerful enough to do the job every time (or the right polarity) so other magnetic wands (with stronger attractive/repulsive qualities) are hidden within the depths of the chest to be used in further stages.

In the last picture you can see the first panel removed via the secret magentic egg wand from the nest above, and here is where the real journey begins.

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

6 comments so far

View jakeprater's profile


91 posts in 1011 days

#1 posted 10-24-2014 12:19 PM

Outstanding, I love hidden compartments, and this chest takes that concept to a level I don’t think I could come close to!
Great looking chest, love the look of the barn wood and the details.

-- All this sawdust.......wait........ what happened to my board???

View KelSnake's profile


196 posts in 744 days

#2 posted 10-24-2014 12:38 PM

Thanks Jake! Its become a passion or an obsession, depends on who you ask. :)

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

View Ron King's profile

Ron King

31 posts in 1047 days

#3 posted 10-24-2014 03:02 PM

Well done! How did you come up with your original thoughts on how to make secret compartments?

View KelSnake's profile


196 posts in 744 days

#4 posted 10-24-2014 03:13 PM

Hi Ron, I use something called Intuited Design, which is a fancy way of saying that I paint my way into a corner and then have to find solutions to the problem. For example, you can see that the inside is made up of a sliding set of drawers and in and around that main feature is a lot of smaller spaces and I kept building my way through with more compartments. Some copartments are so very tiny, but big enough to hold clues and the like. I guess its kinda like solving those mazes as a kid and how you could solve them easier by starting at the end, this is kinda like that. I hope that answers your question. :)

-- Kel Snake, ~ Mystery By Design ~

View Todd's profile


379 posts in 1098 days

#5 posted 10-24-2014 03:36 PM

What a unique piece! Beautiful!

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View Oldtool's profile


2365 posts in 1613 days

#6 posted 10-24-2014 07:15 PM

Fantastic design & build, excellent use of the barn wood, and great looking finish. Must have been a fun project to work on.

-- "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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics