Magnets & Secret Compartment for my Handgun!

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Project by jeff_wenz posted 02-29-2012 03:38 PM 17052 views 84 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had two goals for this project. First, upgrade our keychain holder that hangs by our front door. Second was to store and hide my handgun when it isn’t in my pocket.

Goal #1 was accomplished by building a 12×18 x 5” keychain holder made of cherry. It is finished in a couple coats of Deft brushing lacquer (satin). Rather than using hooks to hang the keys, I decided to use tmagnets. I bought one of those 18” magnetic tool holders and covered it with a thin veneer of cherry. I had experimented with 1/8” cherry to cover the magnet, but I lost too much pull from the magnet. I used a dentil molding design to hide the magnet. As long as the keychain weighs under 6 oz, the magnet design works well.
The cabinet also has three drawers where I was able to practice cutting finger joints. The drawers are made from ¼” cherry stock. I put a ¼” cherry face on the drawers as well as I didn’t really want the finger joints to attract too much attention.

Goal #2 was accomplished by making the cabinet swing open on 3 euro style hinges. The ¾” back of the cabinet and the 2 top trim pieces make up one assembly. Everything else swings open. This allows me to take advantage of the 2” depth of wasted space behind the 1/8” mirror (which is dado’d into the cabinet. I then mounted a rubber coated Magna Arm magnet so my handgun could be held securely. I picked up the Magna Arm at a gun show recently. It works very well for my purpose. Basically, it is a strong magnet that is rubber coated (this prevents scratching the gun). It has two holes for screw mounting it to surfaces. I think it is meant to be mounted under the dash of cars or on the underside of other surfaces to conceal a handgun.

To ensure the 3 drawers do not fall out when the cabinet is swung open, I mounted some stop blocks and also magnetized the back of the drawers so they are attracted to the stop blocks and stay in place when they are supposed to. I also plan on mounting some more “accessories” inside of the hidden compartment in the future. Maybe a keychain holder for those keys that get used only once in a blue moon.
There was one issue I had to solve after testing the swing of the compartment. Due to the weight of the case that swings open, when closed, there was a gap on the side opposite the three hinges. This was not satisfactory to me. So I mounted a dowel in the top right corner and sanded it at an angle so when it is closed, the moldings wedge back together creating a snug fit which maintains the secrecy of the hidden compartment. If I were to do this project over again, I would integrate this feature into the width of the molding hiding the dowel.

I am very happy with how this project turned out.

Question… Can I really keep calling it a “secret” compartment if I always show it off to my friends?

-- Jeff, North Carolina

36 comments so far

View Jack_T's profile


621 posts in 2119 days

#1 posted 02-29-2012 03:49 PM

Great looking cabinet. I really like the idea of magnetized draws and the hidden compartment.

No lock for the gun?

Again, a great looking key cabinet.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

7022 posts in 2517 days

#2 posted 02-29-2012 03:56 PM

I like it.
As to locks, I asked my DIL if she wanted a lock on her “Glock Box”. She said she didn’t want to fiddle with it when she needed it.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Kenns's profile


155 posts in 1679 days

#3 posted 02-29-2012 03:58 PM

This is a terrific idea and a really pleasant looking cabinet. This will go in my “favorites” file. Thanks for sharing.

-- Then, Than, Their, There, They're, To, Too, Two.....Pine, Maple, Walnut....We need to know the difference.....

View DS's profile


2141 posts in 1508 days

#4 posted 02-29-2012 04:11 PM

Such “secret” features work specifically because they ARE secret.
I wouldn’t be telling anyone about it, let alone advertising it on social networks.

I’ve built hidden rooms for clients and I’ve built secret rooms for clients. Hidden rooms are detectable with a little inspection. Secret rooms are not easily detectable even with close inspection. However, they are only as good (safe) as the secret that they even exist.

If this gun compartment was in my house I would want a locking mechanism on the cabinet to prevent accidental discovery. A magnetic lock usually fits the bill. This is even more important with children in the house.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5541 posts in 1380 days

#5 posted 02-29-2012 05:36 PM

Great design and great idea, plus excellent execution. And, no you can’t call it a secret anymore since everyone knows, but that’s the joy of L.J.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Martyroc's profile


2708 posts in 1394 days

#6 posted 02-29-2012 05:39 PM

Nice cabinet & great idea

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View millzit's profile


111 posts in 1390 days

#7 posted 02-29-2012 05:46 PM

a must do project! two thumbs up!

-- cut that out!

View ChrisK's profile


1415 posts in 2170 days

#8 posted 02-29-2012 06:00 PM

Very good execution. The magnets make for a very clean look.

-- Chris K

View bubba1772's profile


48 posts in 1376 days

#9 posted 02-29-2012 06:18 PM

Excellent! I am very intrigued by this project and can definately see myself making something similar soon!

As long as you don’t tell anyone on LJ’s where your house is your secret is safe!

-- I work with metal for money, and wood for fun...

View Cory's profile


750 posts in 2507 days

#10 posted 02-29-2012 06:44 PM

Very cool. Nice design and execution.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Maveric777's profile


2692 posts in 2165 days

#11 posted 02-29-2012 06:47 PM

Very well done! My bride is on me to build some furniture and incorporate similar hidden features as well. Most definitely like this one….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View redryder's profile


2340 posts in 2190 days

#12 posted 02-29-2012 06:51 PM

Great cabinet with several useful purposes. The safety committee always shows up for these kinds of things. I have a gun hidden in my house that only my wife and myself know about. Even nosy kids will not find it. No gun locks for us. If the bad guy comes in the middle of the night, I am not going to ask him to hold on a minute while I go unlock something…...............

-- mike...............

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2397 days

#13 posted 02-29-2012 09:20 PM

Excellent cabinet design and it looks darn good! I use rare earth magnets alot and have them in most drawers and cabinets I have built. You can but packages of 10 magents that are 5/16” diameter at Harbor Freight for a little over a dollar a pack. Last time they were on sale for 99cents per pack I bought 25 packs….250 magnets should hold me for a while…Secret compartments and hiding places are great…keep them secret.

View bhack's profile


348 posts in 2808 days

#14 posted 02-29-2012 09:27 PM

Good execution and innovative ideas Jeff. I am putting in my favorites now. Here here redryder. It is no secret that I am armed, and I don’t want to hit the pause button until I fiddle around. Thief Beware.

-- Bill - If I knew GRANDKIDS were so much fun I would have had them first.

View DamnYankee's profile


3282 posts in 1650 days

#15 posted 02-29-2012 10:42 PM

Very cool idea and well executed.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

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