How to Build a Working Wooden Lock
If you want to do something creative with your time, then making a working wooden lock is an unusual object which also functions as a useful project. It is not possible to build something like a Yale lock with wood, as it would require a lot of very small, fiddly objects, but you can easily make a working combination wooden lock that can be fitted to a box, or simply left on the shelf as an attractive ornament. Completing this project requires some woodworking skills, but you should not find it too hard if you have made previous wooden projects.
Step 1 - Make the Plates
The wooden lock needs a series of wheels held between two wooden plates. Cut down two suitable pieces of wood into rectangular shapes. For the front plate, you will need to make a base with two holes in it, one about the size of a silver dollar, the other the size of a cent. On the back place, you will need to have a squarer piece of wood, with only the smaller hole drilled into the wood. The two holes should line up when the plates are placed together.
Step 2 - Create the Keys
The keys are the wooden cogs which turn in order to provide the right solution to the combination lock. You need to make these with a dimension which is twice the size of the dollar hole in the front panel. You will need to drill this same size hole into the wooden keys. The wooden disks should be sanded smooth after cutting. While you are there, remove a sliver of wood from each of the cogs, about 1/16th of an inch, and half the depth of the wood.
Step 3 - Make the Shaft, the Dial and the Bracket
You should now make another cog, the same size as the others. This will be placed on the outside of the front panel. Make a long spindle, slightly smaller in depth than the holes in the cogs, so that you can push this spindle through all four. Glue this onto your back panel so that it goes through the larger hole in the front panel when the two are lined up. You should then make two small "C" shapes from wood. Add a block of wood between them so the spindle reaches the outside when the bracket is between the two panels. Add a small bar across the top of the "C" shape small enough to touch the cogs.
Step 4 - Create the Lock
Make a base which is large enough to hold the front and back panels together. Place the three cogs on the spindle, and then put the bracket onto the base, and glue it in position so that the bar falls across the cogs. You can then attach the last cog to the outside of the spindle, at the front, and screw the back panel to the base. You should now be able to turn the cogs until they lock into position.