Locking a Two Drawer Jewelry Box ???

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Forum topic by majeagle1 posted 08-20-2011 05:52 PM 4833 views 3 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1426 posts in 3672 days

08-20-2011 05:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: box lock walnut maple hardware

I have been asked to make a jewelry box like one of my posted projects ( pictured here )


However they would like a lock on it….. that in itself is not a problem, but they also would like it to lock
the drawers as well…...

Does anybody know of a source for a lock assembly that will do this?
If not, any ideas on how to do this?

Also, if I go with just the lock for the top, what kind of lock should I use?

Thanks for any and all suggestions…..


-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

13 replies so far

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3912 days

#1 posted 08-20-2011 07:14 PM

How about 2 brass or stainless rods that can be pulled out when the lid is open? Maybe drill a small hole near a rod end and put a loop ring through it for a pull? You can make a small metal stop plate in the box bottom between the bottom of the lower drawer so the rod will catch strongly. The rods go through the drawer faces all the way into the lower stop plate.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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1426 posts in 3672 days

#2 posted 08-20-2011 07:26 PM

Good idea John, I will keep this open as an option….. thanks !

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View smartBoxmaker's profile


54 posts in 2825 days

#3 posted 08-20-2011 08:10 PM

Hi, Gene – the traditional system is to have a pin dropping down the front wall of the box into a hole in the front of the drawer, which is usually spring loaded. When the pin, only accessible when the box is open, is raised, the drawer pops out. But you have to raise the pin again to replace the drawer, and boxes of this format will typically have much wear on the back edge of the front of the drawer where users have tried to close the drawer without first raising the pin.

But of course this wouldn’t work with two drawers. The following is a brief description of an improved system I’ve devised and have used on many boxes, and will work with as many drawers as you like, for example this Lumberjocks project. By incorporating a sloping brass striking plate – at the back of the drawer – when the drawer is closed the pin is automatically lifted until it falls into the hole thus locking the drawer.

With my system a small brass plate protrudes from the back of the drawer and penetrates the back wall of the box. A thin steel rod [actually a bicycle spoke] drops down a hole in the back edge of the box and through a hole in the plate which is sloped so the pin is raised when the drawer is pushed in, falling into place and so securing the drawer. A pair of leaf springs attached to the back of the box act on the back of the drawer pushing it forwards. 

The ‘hole’ that guides the spoke is usually a vertical groove cut before the box is put together – a small brass plate is needed at either end to guide the spoke. A small turned knob or finial is attached to the top, threaded part of the spoke – this can be used to fine tune the effective length of the spoke, very important as it should not need to be raised very far to release the drawer but must still engage fully when the drawer is pushed into place.

When the lid is locked, the drawers are effectively locked. And any system utilising spring loaded drawers frees you from having to have any sort of handles or pulls on the drawers.

I hope this helps – good luck with it.

-- Andrew Crawford, Shropshire, UK.

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1426 posts in 3672 days

#4 posted 08-20-2011 08:32 PM

Andrew, thanks so much for the detailed description…. sounds like a wonderful process, but one that would take some practice before actually implementing. This one I will be drawing up and planning for at some time.
I may need to get this box done before I am ready for this….

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Albert's profile


516 posts in 3765 days

#5 posted 08-20-2011 09:18 PM

Perhaps this will help, it will lock the top drawer, maybe you could figure a way to ‘stack’ two of these to lock both drawers? Interesting problem, let us know what you come up with.

maybe you could redesign you box with a front on it like this:

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3672 days

#6 posted 08-20-2011 09:29 PM

Another good option Paul, thanks…..

in a couple of days I will weigh in all my “options” and then decide which one I will actually be able to incorporate…..

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2677 days

#7 posted 08-21-2011 03:00 AM

Would it be unaceptable to include another fixed piece of wood on the front face of the box between the two drawers? Then you could use a standard lock such as this on both drawers.

You could make a feature of iy using splines as you have at the top.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

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1426 posts in 3672 days

#8 posted 08-21-2011 03:18 AM

Thanks Tootles, good possibility but don’t know if I want to do that….... again, good idea though.

I did look at the locks at Rockler and that now brought up another question:

What is the opinion between “full mortise” locks and “half mortise” locks??

Any pros & cons?

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4029 posts in 4239 days

#9 posted 08-21-2011 06:11 PM

Way easier to do a half mortise than a full one, IMHO.
Here is a link to a standard tool box lock. How about having the bottom front of drawer one half lap over the top front of drawer two. I know that would make getting into the bottom drawer impossible (front drawer has to come out to open bottom drawer) but maybe there would be a way to have there be enough vertical height adjustability that with the first drawer removed slightly it could be lifted up sufficiently for the bottom to clear. Putting it back in the case sequentially might be a bother…

Or have a short pin system that locks the bottom drawer, but is only accessible from inside the first drawer or that drops away or retracts when the drawer is open (wooden cam, magnets, sliding tab). Believe me I’m just brainstorming on a half cup of coffee, and like Steve Palm says, I’m no rocket surgeon — even when I’m fully coffee’d up. Possibly buy one of those Japanese sliding puzzle boxes for forensic autopsy and steal an idea there.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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1426 posts in 3672 days

#10 posted 08-21-2011 06:28 PM

Thanks for the tip and the link Douglas….. might be a little cumbersome with the half lap idea, have to think on that one. I like the standard tool box lock also…. another thought.

I think the best idea yet is the sliding puzzle box for forensic autopsy….. I think you found the solution !! LOL

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4058 days

#11 posted 08-21-2011 06:40 PM

Hey Gene,
I have been watching this from the start. Interesting problem.
Hoping some bright young rocket surgeon might just show up.

My first thought was like a tool box idea, where raising the top would move a bracket out of the way on the back or sides of the drawers. The bracket could be either spring loaded or attached to the top. But I have yet to think of how to do this.

I’ll keep watching and thinking,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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1426 posts in 3672 days

#12 posted 08-21-2011 06:55 PM

Thanks Steve, another great idea….. yeh, just where is that “rocket surgeon” when you need him !!!

The bracket idea “functionally” would be great, but just how do you do it….. and make it “clean” looking for a jewelry box….

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View rolltopbox's profile


71 posts in 3169 days

#13 posted 04-05-2012 10:05 AM

And when the new owners loose their keys…...............................

Another incident I had. The owner placed the keys inside the box and closed the lid. Somehow the lock engaged locking the keys inside.

-- Bruce

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