Knot Just Bookends

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Project by KnickKnack posted 01-14-2009 06:59 PM 4809 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve finally finished my entry for the competitions. I don’t expect to win, but I decided early on to give it my best shot – I didn’t decide on the shooting weapon however, and it looks like I used a water pistol! More info on some thought processes in this blog.
Anyway – bookends – we needed some (but I always say that), and here they are.

I wanted to do something “different” for the hidden compartment, so I came up with this “dismantleable” bookend idea – one of them is attached to the base with a sliding dovetail (not easy without a router table)...

and inside…

drum roll…

is the stash of cash!
Now, bookends have 2 sides – on the “pretty” side I’ve done a marquetry (I think that’s what it is) olive inset – 2 slices from the same log – it’s a knot, so I’m trying to qualify for that competition with the same piece.
I’m supposed to tell a story about the knot…
The log had been sitting in the garage, oops, shop, for a while, and every time I went past it I could hear this voice calling to me – “I’m not for burning. I’m knot for burning”. So I sliced it up – weird thing was that the knot you see wasn’t where I’d expected it to be – there was no sign of that old branch on the outside, and the knot I’d been aiming for simply wasn’t there. Serendipity.
Enough drivel…
On the other side…

is, well, a mess – and therein lies a story, and almost grounds for divorce. The original design was to give Micheangelo a run for his money and make a carving like the entry doors at Lisbon’s Rossio train station on the other side.

My mistake was to bounce this idea of the wife. Her argument, which I eventually came round to (after several days with no food), was that, since the olive side looked so incredibly beautiful (she’s a big fan too, especially since the Christmas pressie of the rose-tinted glasses), a thief might want to steal them. Soooooooo, when we go away, we’re supposed to turn the bookends “crappy side” out.
“So you have 2 hidden compartments”, I hear you say. Well – no. I figured (all on my own this time), that, in the unlikely event that a burglar decided to examine the bookends for a hidden compartment, there would be a 50% chance that he’d pick the one that didn’t have one, and would be unlikely to try the other one as well! That and not having a lot of cash to stash, of course.
Some more pics during building, in my blog.
Oh, it’s ash, with olive inset, finished with my usual turps/oil/varnish mix – this time teak oil seems to bring out the olive best and tung oil is still not available here.

The design is based on the neo-manueline entry doors at Lisbon’s Rossio train station.

which is, without doubt, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful entryways in the universe. There are some more beautiful pictures here if you’re interested, and even more if you google “Rossio train station” or anything similar.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

13 comments so far

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 2619 days

#1 posted 01-14-2009 07:26 PM

That’s a great idea for a secret compartment. Great project.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View lew's profile


10701 posts in 2847 days

#2 posted 01-14-2009 08:05 PM

Knice Knots!

Good Luck in the contest.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3310 days

#3 posted 01-14-2009 08:08 PM

Great entry on both counts!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Colin's profile


245 posts in 3013 days

#4 posted 01-14-2009 08:34 PM

great entry, great story!

-- Colin, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. "Every craftsman was once an amateur"

View WispWoods's profile


65 posts in 2518 days

#5 posted 01-14-2009 09:23 PM

Beautiful idea. Two birds with one stone, eh.

Great work!

-- - You begin thinking less, and feeling more.

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 2998 days

#6 posted 01-14-2009 09:33 PM

real purrdy wood

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Alan Young's profile

Alan Young

125 posts in 2812 days

#7 posted 01-14-2009 10:13 PM

Very Cool! The background makes for a great project.

View 93mwm's profile


59 posts in 2512 days

#8 posted 01-16-2009 12:36 PM

is the secret compartment side made from a single peice of ash hollowed out or two laminated peices?

-- mwm! Before you criticise walk a mile in their shoes, and when you do criticise you will be a mile away and have their shoes!

View KnickKnack's profile


1024 posts in 2658 days

#9 posted 01-16-2009 01:38 PM

The secret compartment is from 2 pieces laminated – picture before glue up is here

I meant to put in the dimensions of the compartment, but forgot – it’s 20cmx9cmx3cm (about 8”x3.5”x1.25”)

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3253 days

#10 posted 01-17-2009 11:58 PM

these are great and i love the story behind them. You are a great story-teller!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5784 posts in 2677 days

#11 posted 01-18-2009 12:22 AM

It looks a nice project carried out rezally well anyway get rid of the gardening books and sell them on amazon and buy some good wood books gardening YUK too much like hard work for nothing LOL Just kidding anyway good job young fella Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Jason's profile


658 posts in 2600 days

#12 posted 01-12-2010 06:23 PM

What a great project. I love the story to them. I agree that is a beautiful entry and good grounds to design a project. The secret compartment just blew me away. I love it.

Thanks for sharing with us.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View Piiterke's profile


7 posts in 2040 days

#13 posted 11-17-2010 12:48 PM

Great idea! I hope that a potential thief doesn’t read Lumberjocks ;o)
Your other projects are pretty as well.

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