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Woods We Use

Anatomy of a Box

Secret Box Uses


Tree Planting Charities



Over 40 years ago, Mike Fisher crafted his first Secret Box for his girlfriend. Since then, his passion for woodworking has grown into both a career and a world-renowned business, Heartwood Creations. Established in 1978, Rockford, Illinois out of a small garage in Mike Fisher's home, this was the first location for his business. After a decade, Heartwood moved into our current facilities and have been expanding and improving our product line and woodworking techniques ever since.

We quickly earned a reputation as a group of talented craftspeople from America’s heartland whose products are now featured in many of the finest galleries and craft shops both in the United States and internationally. While our company has grown and new products have been created, the Classic Secret Box remains our trademark. The small heart that is burned on back of each box is our craftsman’s mark that signifies a Heartwood original. Proudly handmade in the USA, Heartwood Creation's products stand a notch above the rest in their quality, artistry, and craftsmanship.

Our Founder

My passion for woodworking began as a child when I was inspired by watching my father make furniture for our home. When I joined the Boy Scouts, I read a book by Eric Sloane called "A Reverence for Wood." That book, in combination with my love for nature, gave me a deep appreciation for wood and trees.

I've made many things throughout my life from wood, but boxes have remained my primary focus. When I was sixteen, I made a box from birch for my girlfriend and put a romantic note inside. An early teacher introduced me to the sliding dovetail which i use to this day on Heartwood's little Secret boxes. I soon discovered elaborate and exotic woods and so began my love affair.

Woodworking has always been therapeutic for me. It kept me engaged during tumultuous school years and became something meaningful that involved my heart and my hands. The workshop in my parent's basement quickly became my favorite and most productive outlet. My love for the medium and the joy I receive form working with my hands continues to inspire me decades later.

Woods We Use



One of our finest methods of decoration, Marquetry has its roots as an art form in the Renaissance. It is a technique in which the craftsman takes specifically cut pieces of wood about one millimeter thick and arranges them into a pattern. Much like fitting together a puzzle, this technique allows us to create delicate Cherry blossoms and other intricate designs from several different woods.


Inlay is created by cutting pieces of wood and gluing them together in patterns. After this patterned block has been constructed is is cut again and reglued. This may be done two or three times depending on the desired results. Then it is sliced into thin strips.


Inlay created by cutting pieces of wood or other materials and gluing them together in patterns. After this patterned block has been constructed, it is sliced into strips about one millimeter thick. These strips are then applied into grooves cut into the top of our boxes so that the finished surface is flush. Inlay adds intricacy to the top of many of our boxes through patterns and colors.

Anatomy of a Box

Soft foam ring holders gently secure items.

Internal wooden keys add strength and durability.

Removable partitions

Removable partitions and ring / earring sections.

Single piece construction means the grain matches on all faces.

Drawer has stops

Beautifully grained wood.

Hand crafted inlay and marquetry.

Bottom has felt feet & is signed by the artist.

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Secret Box Uses

Unsure what to put inside our Secret Boxes? Here are some of our favorite uses. From keys to coins to jewelry to toothpicks, all small things find a home inside these tiny, wooden gems. Each of the sizes fits different types of items, as unique as the people who own them. The hand-fit dovetail lid remains a virtual mystery to the untrained eye, but is easy to open with your thumb once discovered.

Large Earrings

see more size 10 boxes

Utility Tools

see more size 11 boxes

Acupuncture Needles

see more size 12 boxes

Secret Box Stories

Over the last 35 years, we have heard many heartwarming, clever and funny stories of how people have used our boxes. Please consider sharing your personal story—or enjoy reading some of the stories others have shared. If we publish your story, we will send you a free secret box.

Precious Keepsake

After the birth of our son, my wife and I clipped a small lock of his hair and placed it in one of your secret boxes to be kept along with his baby book. It’s a priceless reminder of the love and...

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Final Resting Place

Our family had a pet gerbil that my kids loved and when it died, my husband and I wanted to teach our children that it was all right to be sad so we decided to have a proper burial in our back yard. ...

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Sentimental Souvenir

My husband and I spent our honeymoon on Tybee Island off the coast of Georgia. I wanted a souvenir to remember our time spent there, but not something silly or kitschy. I came across one of your...

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40th Anniversary

I wanted to do something special for my parents on their 40th anniversary, so one day while they were out, I broke into their house and took all of the family photographs. I scanned them into my...

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Childhood Memories

The smell of teak wood always brings me back to that day. It was the early 80s and I was with my family in a wood merchant’s store in Illinois. I noticed this wooden block that was shaped like a...

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It's the Little Things

I’ve always had a close relationship with my doctors. I’m the kind of person that can chat up almost anyone and I’m also the kind that always has various items in my purse. On a recent...

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A Family Tradition

About 30 years ago, I purchased a secret box on Cape Cod, MA and have used it on a daily basis ever since to carry my medication. Last summer, I saw them again and bought one for my daughter and one...

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For Practical Purposes

I’ve found that Heartwood secret boxes are a great way to store small parts that I don’t want to get lost. Things like nuts, screws, bolts and especially X-Acto knife blades fit well in these...

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Lost in Afghanistan

Before my son left for his deployment in Afghanistan, I gave him a Heartwood compass. One day, while out on patrol, he and his fellow soldiers became lost. To further complicate the situation,...

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Saved by the box

As a physician who has had a heart attack, I know the importance of always having your medication with you and using it as directed. On a recent vacation in Wisconsin, I did as I always do and put...

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She “Picked” Me

Years ago, my wife gave me one of your secret boxes as a gift with a new pick for my banjo in it. I used it for many years. It was a great gift from the woman I loved and it held a piece of my...

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Notes For Nurses

A stay in the hospital is never fun, but it can be made more or less comfortable by nurses. When my mother was in the hospital, I wanted to show my appreciation for the nurses who were taking care...

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Messages in a box

It’s hard to know what to do when a family member or friend is sick. You want to help, but sometimes you’re just not sure how. When a close friend of mine was sick with cancer, I came up with a...

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Long Distance Love

When I was dating my wife, there came a time when we found ourselves a great distance apart, geographically. She had moved to New York and I was living in Minnesota. I often went to the state park...

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Tree Planting Charities


A charity working in Malawi, Africa. Their motto is “Providing a hand UP, not a hand out.” Local communities run ventures to improve the environment, local education, and healthcare. We support their Forest Conservation and Tree Planting missions.


An educational organization dedicated to establishing sustainable hardwood forests in the United States. It promotes hardwood timber growth and management, environmental education, and a wise use of our nation’s renewable forest resources.


A non-profit association in Costa Rica working to promote reforestation of native trees, protecting the rainforest, and restoring the ecosystem.


A non-profit organization that provides programs and classes that connect people with nature. It is located in Rockford, Illinois and we support their native tree planting projects.


The UTA mission is to strengthen the urban forest by increasing species diversity, helping people learn how to care for trees, and caring for existing trees in the Madison, Wisconsin area. Their goal is to plant trees in low-canopy and underserved neighborhoods.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Free Returns. We believe in the quality and function of every product we craft. If you are not completely satisfied, we don’t think you should pay. Buy in confidence and call us within 60 days if we did not meet your expectations.

All of our wood products are made in our shop in Rockford Illinois. We have combined the talents of American Workers with intelligent woodworking techniques and tools allowing Heartwood to provide meaningful long term employment while competing in a global marketplace.