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How to Build Concealed Drawers

How one woodworker adds mystery to custom furniture
July 17, 2023

Concealed drawers are a great way to add a touch of mystery to your furniture. In this video, Ramon Valdez walks us through the process of building concealed drawers step-by-step.

Draw Everything Full Scale

Before you start building, it's important to draw everything full-scale on a piece of MDF or similar material. This will help you ensure that everything fits together perfectly before you start cutting any wood. Once you have everything full-scale, you can refine the details and make full-size drawings on paper.

Create a Cavity in the Bottom

When building a cabinet with hidden drawers, everything needs to stay true and square. Make sure to start accurate and stay accurate throughout the process.

If you're building a piece of furniture with concealed drawers, you'll need to create a cavity in the bottom of a component that serves as a means of attaching the top. This will keep the distance between panels consistent. Make sure to measure and mark the cavity accurately before cutting.

Anchor the Rails Down with Glue and Screws

When building the drawers, it's important to anchor the rails down with glue and screws to ensure they're sturdy and won't move around. Make sure to use the appropriate size screws for the job.

Fit the Rails to the Drawer Fronts

Use a shooting board and shooting plane to custom-fit the rails to the drawer fronts. This will ensure that the drawers fit snugly and don't move around. Add a finger pull to make it easier to grab the drawer front. This is especially important if the drawer front doesn't hang down past the drawer box much.

Finishing Touches: Pre-Lacquer, Countersink, Ease the Edges

Pre-lacquer everything before assembly to make sure you don't add mill thickness. This will help ensure that everything fits together perfectly.

When countersinking the holes, make sure to extend the drill bit almost all the way out and bring it in from the other side. This will ensure that the hole is straight and the drawer front won't be crooked. Create a beveled edge on the rail to make it look like a top rail. This will also keep the front from moving and provide a clean finish.

Add the Drawer Front

Once everything is assembled, add a drawer front to the concealed drawer. This will make it look like a regular drawer but with a secret compartment hidden inside.

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