How to Make a Metal Crossbar Door Lock


Metal crossbar locks provide protection from intruders without a lock and key. Intruders can't pick a crossbar, and pounding on the door not only results in waking the neighbors, but in a sore shoulder. Use metal crossbars to lock sheds, barns or home doors. They give the home the look and feel of wooden or stone crossbars in medieval castles, but with the strength of hard steel.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 steel bars, cut to size
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Steel bit
  • Wood block
  • Cutting fluid
  • 4 Toggle bolts
  • Screwdriver bit

Steel Bar Measurements

  • Measure the height of the doorway using a tape measure and mark the center with a pencil on the left and right side of the door.

  • Locate the studs of the doorframe on the right and left side of the door. Run the stud finder along the left side of the door, where you marked center, and toward the left until it locates the edge of the stud. Mark the spot with a pencil. Repeat with the right side.

  • Measure the width of the doorway, from mark to mark. Add six inches to the measurement.

Drilling the Holes

  • Place a 3-inch bar on the wood block. Measure 1 inch up from the center of the bottom of the bar and mark the spot with a pencil. Measure 1 inch down from the top and mark the spot with a pencil.

  • Place a dab of cutting oil on one of the marks. Drill a hole completely through the bar using the drill and a steel bit slightly larger than the toggle bolts, so that the toggles fit through the holes. Keep the drill pointing straight down and drill slowly. Repeat with the second mark.

  • Repeat with the second 3-inch bar, drilling two holes.

  • Set a drilled bar on top of a medium-sized bar so that the bottom of the drilled bar lines up with the bottom of the medium bar. Mark the spots for holes by placing the pencil inside the drilled holes and making a mark. Repeat with the second medium-sized bar.

  • Drill the holes in the medium-sized bars.


  • Place one of the small drilled bars against the left side of the door so that the right side of the bar rests just to the left of the mark on the wall. Mark the place for the bolts using the pencil and holes in the bar. Repeat on the right side of the wall, placing the bar to the right of the mark this time.

  • Drill pilot holes for the bolts in the wall. Use a bit that is slightly larger than the bolts.

  • Place two toggle bolts through the holes of one of the medium bars, then through the holes of the small bar. Pass the bolts through the pilot holes in the wall.

  • Tighten the bolts to the wall using the drill and the screwdriver bit. The drill tightens the bolts securely.

  • Repeat with the remaining bars and toggle bolts on the other side of the door.

  • Slip the long bar into the slots to secure.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase three steel bars of the same thickness. Have one cut to the measurement of the doorway and two cut 3 inches long. Have two more cut to 3 inches plus the thickness of the bar and include an added 1 inch. For example, if the steel bars are 1 inch thick, have the last bars cut 5 inches long.
  • Keep extra metal steel bits on hand, because they become dull over time.
  • Use metal bars as thick as desired, but remember that drilling the holes is hard on the drill and bits.
  • Always drill slowly when drilling metal. Drilling metal creates friction and heat. Drilling fast only dulls the bit, heat up the metal and destroy the drill.
  • Toggle bolts are for hollow walls, which is why the bars are installed past the studs of the doorframe. While it might seem better to attach the bars to the studs, toggle bolts are stronger than expansion anchors used in studs.
  • No matter how strong the lock appears it is possible to exert enough pressure to break down the door, although it might actually take a battering ram.

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