Box with mechanical wooden combination lock

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Project by mls posted 04-02-2010 04:43 AM 19093 views 18 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend wanted a locking box to put his nightstand pistol in. He wanted something he could open but his kids couldn’t. I had seen the mechanical combination lock on the Woodworking for Engineers site. So I made a few changes to the design and incorporated it into a wooden box. I let him select his own 3-number combination. My wife painted glow-in-the-dark numbers on the dial so he could operate the lock in the dark. There is a slot in the lid that is engaged with the locking pawl until the correct combination is entered. Once the combination is entered, the pawl will drop down and release the sliding lid. It works great. The lid has a sliding dovetail and it a floating panel design so seasonal wood movement wouldn’t affect the sliding dovetail. The box is finished with a danish oil stain. The box was made from some arromatic cedar from southern Missouri. My friend, Regan, gave me the wood. He cut it on his own farm and air dried it in the attic. It smelled so good, I really hated to finish it. I used walnut for contrast and this was my first attempt at the double half-blind dovetails using my incra fence on my router table. The walnut and cedar really look good together. My friend Chuck was very pleased with the box.

-- Mike, Missouri ---Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. Ralph Waldo Emerson---

20 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#1 posted 04-02-2010 04:53 AM

Man, that is really something else!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3614 days

#2 posted 04-02-2010 04:56 AM

Cool creation.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View MrPukaShell's profile


49 posts in 3069 days

#3 posted 04-02-2010 04:59 AM

Very nice. I am sure your friend was very happy and it will be something that gets handed down from generation to generation. Great Job…...

-- Robert, So Cal, My Turn or Yours.....

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3312 days

#4 posted 04-02-2010 05:46 AM

great box

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3798 days

#5 posted 04-02-2010 05:49 AM

Great looking box. You did a very nice job on it. Thanks for posting.

god Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Jerry's profile


76 posts in 3177 days

#6 posted 04-02-2010 06:06 AM

Very nice! Much “Warmer” than the steel box I keep mine in!

-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 3027 days

#7 posted 04-02-2010 07:28 AM

Looks great. ( this is just me thinking outloud ) , If his kids get it open and someone gets hurt could you be liable ?, I’ve been an avid shooter for a long time and heard some crazy stuff from the cops I shoot with. Those handgun safes come with disclaimers for alot of reasons. again not a judgement, just a what if.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3100 days

#8 posted 04-02-2010 12:48 PM

Outstanding! Very cool….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View cobbler's profile


350 posts in 3814 days

#9 posted 04-02-2010 01:49 PM

You definitely have an engineering mind. This box turned out great.

-- ''Carry on my wayward son''

View shimster's profile


96 posts in 3030 days

#10 posted 04-02-2010 02:13 PM

Outstanding is right! Needless to say, I won’t be stopping by late night to borrow a stick of butter!

-- Less is More.....expensive

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 3295 days

#11 posted 04-02-2010 02:49 PM

Nicely done locking mech..

Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3419 days

#12 posted 04-02-2010 03:01 PM

The work is very good, but –
I couldn’t help remembering a story I heard years ago when they were trying to design “childproof” medicine bottles.
The testing involved the placement of a ten dollar bill inside the bottle and telling a child, like an 8 to 10 year old, that if he could get the bottle open, he could keep the money.
One child tok the bottle, smiled and dropped it on the floor where he smashed it open with his foot.
Now, I’m not faulting your work. Its beautiful and clever.
But, if a youngster knew what was in the box and really wanted to get into it, why wouldn’t he just smash it?

Sorry, I just had to bring that up.
I sincerely hope nothing like that ever happens.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12758 posts in 3181 days

#13 posted 04-02-2010 04:46 PM

very cool, but honestly, if he has to have a pistol at his bedside, he really should consider moving to a safer neighborhood… pistols and guns should be kept at ranges or in use with the police and Military folk… just my opinion…
anyways, back to the box, very cool…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 3055 days

#14 posted 04-03-2010 03:05 AM

Well done!

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View mole's profile


33 posts in 3050 days

#15 posted 04-04-2010 03:00 AM

I love mechanical woodwork too! I was thinking of adding the lock to my box too, but it is a little too big for my current box project, so, I added a metallic commercial lock instead. next time.. next time I have to try once :))))) em, I wonder how smaller can the lock be, and is still working properly.. . . em em..

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