Step by Step: Installing a Drawer Lock

hand turning a key in a drawer lock
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 30-60
What You'll Need
Cylinder or other lock
Measuring tape
Marker or marking tape
Drill/Keyhole Saw

If you have an office drawer holding sensitive or personal possessions that should not be easily accessible, you might want to add a lock. In fact, the only person that can access the drawer is person with the key or combination. This is an excellent option to installing a padlock or other locking device as this is a sign to others that something valuable is inside. Cylinder locks are quite easy to install and offer additional protection.

Step 1 - Empty the Drawer

Before the lock can be installed it is necessary to empty out the drawer. This way the contents will not be damaged. The drawer contents can also get in the way when installing the lock. If possible see about removing the drawer. In a car this may not be possible. Instead check to see if any wires are found where you will drill holes.

Step 2 - Center Point

The best place to install the lock is at the center of the drawer. With a ruler or measuring tape determine where the center of the drawer is. Mark this point with a marker or piece of tape. Place the chosen lock in the spot to ensure that the bolt of the lock will extend far enough to catch should the drawer be opened. If the lock is placed too far into the drawer then the lock will not catch.

Step 3 - The Hole

Measure the circumference of the bolt and then drill a hole where this shaft will go in the drawer. It is best to use a keyhole saw or an expanding drill bit. Once the hole has been made, take some fine grain sandpaper and sand down the interior edges.

Step 4 - Bolt

Take the O-ring and bolt off of the back of the shaft. With the two sections removed insert the lock from the front into the drilled hole. Make sure the key slot is at the vertical position as if the drawer were closed and locked. Once the key slot is in place put the O-ring back into place. Before screwing in the screw press the O-ring to the backside of the draw and then screw in the screws though the holes and the O-ring. Now replace the lock bolt.

Step 5 - Electronic Lock

An electronic lock can also be used. These are similar to an electronic door lock that can be found on the driver’s side of the door. When the correct combination is punched in then the drawer can be opened. Electronic locks can actually work in several different directions. They are durable and water resistant. These locks can withstand a lot of force. The one issue with electronic locks is that they do require batteries to work.

Step 6 - Uses in Cars

There are not many drawers in cars but many drivers and owners will install separate or “secret” drawers. These can be used for special pieces of equipment. These locks can be used on the glove compartment or a drawer or compartment found anywhere else in the vehicle. Be careful when drilling in a glove compartment as many wires will run throughout the dash and this area.