The Construction of Secret Hiding Places

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The Construction of Secret Hiding Places, by Charles Robinson will come in handy when President Bachmann bans your collection of Zap comics.

Mr. Homegrown says:

I love alternate views of our normal notions of domesticity and home economics. On a recent trip to the book section of a large surplus store I noticed our first book The Urban Homestead right alongside books on burying weapons caches, wiring solar panels, acting as your own dentist and assembling SKS rifles. We certainly have exciting company on this journey. One book in particular caught my eye, The Construction of Secret Hiding Places by Charles Robinson. You can download a pdf of this book for free. Of course the fact that this info exists in book and interweb form means that the secrets aren't, well, secrets anymore. Nevertheless, I'll never view a stairwell, baseboard or that useless space under the dishwasher in quite the same way again.
The Construction of Secret Hiding Places


  1. I’m not really comfortable with people who perform their own dentistry owning SKS rifles.  On the other hand, if they built the rifles themselves then maybe it’s not such a big problem.

  2. My father used to pull my baby teeth using needlenose pliers.  I can’t look at a pair anymore without wincing.  “I’m just going to look!  Don’t worry, I’m not going to touch it. Is this thing loose?  Let me see…  Oops, It’s out!  See?  That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

  3. One of my favorites:

    Find a basement. Cut a 4″ hole in the wall. Cut a PVC tube of appropriate length to your purpose, and cap one end. Insert into the hole and cement it up, leaving an inch or two sticking out. Place valuables in the pipe, then insert an expandable plug ( one of those dohickies with a rubber stopper between two plates, with a bolt that pulls the plates together) to seal the pipe. Place a block of frozen sewage water in front of the plug, then screw on a normal PVC end cap so it looks like any other bit of capped PVC.

    The sewage water will discourage anyone who tries to open it, and encourage them to believe that it really is just a capped pipe.

    1. Gross. I was going to brag that my dad had a little more forethought and installed one of those fake clean-out pipe “safes” along with the actual plumbing, before the cement was poured for the basement floor and walls. But that extra touch of putting real sewage in a section of the pipe, you win, man, no mas.

  4. Also good for when you’ve finished assembling your Billy Bookcase only to find that you forgot to add the kickboard (I do it every time!)

    1. Why is it that every time I am forced to go there, I don’t get anything cool like a Billy Bookcase that I could build one of these in… no I am forced to get a Blort or  Vaschoongarble with instructions that I find equally hard to understand.

  5. It’s weird, but there has been a lot of interchange between survivalism and back-to-the-land movement for at least a few decades. Somebody must have seen “homestead” and assumed it fit with people getting off the grid, getting away from authorities, independence. I hope the attitudes of Mr. and Mrs. Homegrown rub off on the authors of their neighboring texts, so they’ll stop writing about how to defend your stash from desperate neighbors after the collapse of civilization, and start writing about how to share sauerkraut with your desperate neighbors. (i haven’t built any of the projects from Urban Homesteader yet, but I enjoyed reading it and hope to try them someday.)

  6. If you need to read this book to find/make places to hide things, your childhood was much less interesting than mine.

  7. My Dad and I installed a new kitchen in my house and I installed two hidden sections.

    One is a slim hidden drawer beneath 4 drawers which didn’t quite fill the unit I put them in.

    The second is a sliding panel which runs on little wheels and is opened by hand and closed by opening an adjacent cupboard door which is attached to the sliding mechanism with some string through some cleverly placed holes.

    All I did for three months was open and close it and laugh and clap.

    I hide all my secret Bero recipe books in the drawer and hide my super-secret water meter and some pipes behind the panel.

    Since doing the kitchen I’m now plaster boarding my utility room and having to resist making thousands of hidey holes and opting instead to burn all of my stolen government sci-tech blueprints and scone recipes.

    Except the cheese scone recipes. I’m not stupid.

    1. “secret BeRo recipe books” ? Wow. Cool. I wants. Memories of baking with Granma as a kid…

      And don’t use velcro to attach a panel as per the illustration; use those nice rare-earth magnets (I get mine from instead. Velcro will leave the panel a bit wobbly and eventually it gets rather feeble. Magnets will make a more stable connection. Or even the knock-down panel connectors from LV.

  8. My sister once shared a house which had a bedroom behind a hinged bookcase. That room always went to the tenant who had lived there the longest and it was worth waiting for.

  9. My Ex’s grandfather built his house over a number of years starting in the 20’s, there are little cabinets like this all over the place. I think it was less hiding thins and more ‘that’s space going unused’ – under the cabinets there’s a swingaway panel that exposes a space big enough for full baking sheets, above the over-range cabinets another one that’s always been used to store platters, etc. It was always fun trying to find things in that house…

  10. Info for building hidden pervy two-way mirror, read at your own risk…

    About 20 years ago my wife and I visited a friend who was house sitting for one of her professors.  My wife exited the guest bathroom and declared, “That’s a two-way mirror in there!”  She had been doing some Psychology research and had seen a number of them.  The mirror was suspicious enough that we investigated from the other side of the wall–which just happened to be located in the Master Bathroom.

    We found that if you opened the medicine cabinet in the master bath, removed the shelves (Funny, there weren’t many items in there…), you could remove a false back that revealed the other side of the two-way mirror with a big view of the guest bathroom!

    We all felt like great detectives and our friend decided that she would NOT stay over while said professor was there!

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