I am always asked for more details when it comes to my secret compartment box builds. This one has was always very difficult to explain because even though it was a simple design, it was very difficult to execute. After much planning, I am finally able to present this newly redesigned Secret Compartment Box. It looks nearly identical to the original design and functions the exact same, but it's much easier to build and can be done with far less tools and supplies. I think I've managed to address all the prohibitive aspects of the original and you should have no problem building a box like this only using a table saw and a drill.
The box is built in four steps. First a simple tray is built, four sides with a bottom. The secret compartment is built and attached. The dummy side is fitted to the opposite side and lastly the lid is installed. The possibilities of this design are endless. You could easily build this box bigger, smaller or out of different woods. You also have complete freedom when it comes to designing a key. The only requirements for a key is that it's smaller than the lock spring release hold and that it's long enough to reach the lock spring.
On this box the tray, end caps and lid are made from Maple and the rest is Purple Heart. The hinges are from Lee Valley and it was finished with Briwax. When you cut purple heart wood, you'll be disappointed to find it's an ugly brown colour inside. The colour is caused by oxidization that happens naturally over time. If you'd like to speed the process up, you can use a propane torch to lightly heat the wood, bathe the wood in the light from a UV light bulb or simply leave it in the sun for a couple days.
Here is the original...