Old Wooden Chest With A False Bottom Exposes An Ancestor’s Curious Past

You can learn a lot about a person based on the secrets they keep hidden out of sight. People will turn a photograph of an ex-partner face down on their desk or use safes to keep the things they love stowed away. That’s a lesson one young man learned when he inherited a family heirloom.

After moving into a new apartment, a young man’s parents offered him something once owned by his late great-uncle. When he examined the contents of the surprise inheritance, however, he realized there was so much more to this family member than he or his parents ever knew…

A reddit user known as Innuendoughnut was a passionate gaming and technology fan. When he moved into a cramped, one-bedroom apartment, his parents offered him a seemingly innocuous gift.

They gave him an antique wooden chest once owned by his late great-uncle. He might’ve wondered, if only for a moment, where the thing would fit in his apartment. Eventually, he took the chest home, opened it up, and found…


Nothing. Well, at first he found nothing. Only a little bit of poking and prodding revealed the chest had a false bottom, and therefore, a secret compartment full of his great-uncle’s prized and personal treasures.

Old and worn cases of arrows sat atop the tightly packed chest, just a small hint of what else his late great-uncle valued enough to hide within a secret compartment of a locked box. “Arrows are cool right?” Innuendoughnut wrote beside the photo. He kept digging.


As he dug deeper, he found more and more equipment revealing his great-uncle’s enthusiasm for the precision sport of archery. The equipment he found puzzled him as much as it excited him. There were some insanely rare gadgets inside.

As he pulled everything out of the chest, Innuendoughnut felt a connection to the relative he hardly knew. He wanted to better understand him so he turned to the Internet to learn just how cool his great-uncle was.

He posted a picture of each item in the chest to an archery forum where the enthusiastic community taught him the history and mechanics of the Olympic sport his great-uncle loved so much. The first item he posted? Blunted arrows. What was their story?


“Blunted arrows,” an archery enthusiast with the username msanteler wrote, “are typically for small game hunting. Imagine one of those razor sharp broad-heads through a rabbit or squirrel… Overkill. Blunt force trauma is plenty.”

That information made it clear that his great-uncle enjoyed bow-and-arrow hunting—an impressive skill, no doubt! The next piece he posted from the inherited old chest—a “metal thing,” below—revealed another bit about his relative’s archery habits.


“The ‘metal thing’ is a bow stand for the competition line,” wrote user Maldevinine. The spike goes in the ground next to you, the bow goes across the two hooks, and the arrows stand up (point down) in the square. It may be broken.”

Another user elaborated that competitors would keep their arrows in the bow stand so that they didn’t have to reach far for a new arrow. The hooks on the side held the bows similarly to the modern bow stand below. So was his great-uncle an avid competitor?

Another item in the chest suggested he was: A green crate packed with beautifully organized arrows and felt patches. “You can see it’s a good set of arrows, and the leather thing in the far left is an arm guard,” user Maldevinine wrote. The other stuff?


“He’s got his spare arrow parts in there,” the user continued. “And all his competition patches [below], what looks like a pair of disposable targets and some generic tools.” But, Innuendoughnut wondered, what kind of competitor was his late, great uncle?


Innuendoughnut shared another picture he simply labeled “pins and awards?” To him, the cool little trinkets merely confirmed his great uncle was indeed an active competitor. But the archery fanatics showed him these were so much more than just pins and awards…


“I love how the most important thing in this chest was so overlooked,” one Imgur user said in response to the pins. “Look at those pins and medals. Two are Olympic!” Actually, three of the pins bore that famous five-ring symbol! Still, Innuendoughnut had doubts.

World Archery

His great-uncle was not an Olympian. “We’d probably know a bit better,” he wrote, “if a not-so-distant relative was an Olympian, right?” Yeah, lining up with Olympic archers would’ve come up at a few family Christmas parties. But another redditor pointed out another pin that suggested otherwise.

“One of the pins there is a silver fern,” user bezufache wrote. “He must have got that from a member of the New Zealand Olympic team. If not an Olympic competitor, perhaps he went as a member of the wider team for his country?” Or, he suggested…

Silver Fern Flag

“Or just a spectator who knew people in high places,” the redditor continued. “But he wouldn’t have had a pin to exchange in that case (generally people swap their pins for one from another country rather than just giving them away).” Could this mean that the great uncle earned some pins on his own with serious William Tell-like talent after all?

Innuendoughnut pulled more and more from the inherited old chest. Beautiful recurve bows and brilliant leather quivers dropped the jaws of avid archers online. Truly, the chest held treasures from the archery world.

Most importantly, the equipment hidden within the old false-bottom chest revealed so much about the passion of Innuendoughnut’s late family member, and that was the best treasure of all—a true bullseye!

Clearly, Innuendoughnut’s great-uncle locked a big piece of himself and his history in that old wooden chest. How lucky the young man was to discover it!

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