Installing a Lock on the Whiskey Cabinet
I built this cabinet to store a bottle of whiskey and two glasses, so to make it secure, I decided I had better put a lock on the door…
The installation was pretty straightforward, but it paid off having installed a few other locks in the past. I used a router table to cut the deep mortise for the lock body, and hand tools for most of the other work, like mortising the lock’s faceplate and strikeplate. All in all, it turned out well- check out the photos to see the entire process.
For more information in installing locks, check out Router Jigs Make Mortised Locks Easy.
I started by marking where I wanted the lock and laying out each part with a pencil and square. I also marked the keyhole's location and drilled it on the drill press.
I used a straight bit with stop blocks on the router table to cut the mortise. Marking the bit's location onto the fence will help me get the stop blocks in the right place.
To set the stop blocks, I lined up the marks on the door with the marks on the fence, then clamped each stop block to the fence. Then a careful plunge cut made quick work of the lock body mortise.
My router bit wasn't quite the same size as the lock's plate, so I used an old trick- I screwed the lock in place on top of the surface, and knifed around it, then finished cleaning out the shallow mortise with hand tools.
I pared to my knife lines with a 1/8 in. chisel and dry-fitted the lock into place until it fit perfectly.
With the mortise finished, I dropped the lock in place and put in the screws.
The second half of the lock is the strike plate inside the cabinet, and a recess has to be mortised into the cabinet side for the lock's bolt. Tracing around it with the door mounted in place gave me the depth for the mortise.
I transferred the lines to the inside of the cabinet to mark the top and bottom of the mortise for the bolt, and marked the bolt's depth in the cabinet using an old trick: color the bolt's tip with a pencil, close the door, and turn the key- the bolt will leave a little pencil mark on the cabinet side at the perfect depth.
With the cabinet on its side, I mortised the strikeplate the same way I did the lock's face plate, by screwing it down and knifing around it. Then I cleaned it out with a chisel and a small router plane.
I chiseled and router-planed until the strike plate fit like a glove, then screwed it down and closed the door.
The lock turns without binding, and with almost no play in the door, which is just what I was shooting for... All that's left to do is decide on a safe place to keep the key.
In keeping with the traditional Federal style of this little cabinet, I chose a brass lock and brass hinges.