Edwardian Mantle with Secret Compartment

Secret compartments are the coolest part of any woodworking project. When my mother-in-law asked me to make a mantle for her Edwardian-era farmhouse, I knew what I needed to do.

I found a few reference pictures for the aesthetic design, and figured out how to integrate a secret compartment using the two glyph decorations on the front as “keys”.

The works, as viewed from the not-yet-panelled back
Some mouldings in the old farmhouse


I happened to have a large board of reclaimed, old-growth douglas fir that perfectly matched the woodwork in the old house.

Aside from some ripping with a table saw, it was an entirely hand-tool build. All-in-all, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.