How to Build a Wooden Lock Box

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Wooden lock boxes serve many purposes.
Wooden lock boxes serve many purposes. (Image: wooden chest image by Oleg Verbitsky from Fotolia.com)

Lock boxes keep sensitive material and other items safe. Building a custom lock box based on the items you want to encase ensures that it will be the right size. Measure the largest item going in the box to determine the width and length of the inside of the box. The number of items to be stored in the box lets you know the needed depth. Construct the box from hardwood lumber such as oak to withstand wear and tear, making the lock box last longer.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pieces lumber, 1-by-4-by-16-inch
  • 2 pieces lumber, 1-by-4-by-6-inch
  • Variable speed drill
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • Wood glue
  • 4-penny finish nails
  • Hammer
  • Damp cloth
  • 1 piece plywood, 6-by-14 1/2-by-3/4-inch
  • Small paintbrush
  • 2 pieces lumber, 1-by-2-by-16-inch
  • 2 pieces lumber, 1-by-2-by-6-inch
  • 1 piece lumber, 1-by-8-by-16-inch
  • Piano hinge with screws, 16-inches long
  • Locking catch

Place the 1-by-4-by-16-inch lumber (front and back) on a worktable along with the 1-by-4-by-6-inch (sides of the box) pieces. Drill pilot holes down one long edge and two sides of the front and back pieces with the 1/16-inch drill bit. Keep the holes 3/8-inch from the edges.

Apply glue to the 3/4-by-1 1/2-inch ends of the two sides of the box. Set them between the front and back pieces and secure them with the finish nails. Clean up the excess glue with a damp cloth.

Brush glue on all four edges of the 6-by-14 1/2-by-3/4-inch plywood (bottom) with a small paintbrush. Insert the plywood between the sides and the front and back. Secure it with the finish nails. Clean up the glue.

Put the 1-by-2-by-16-inch pieces of lumber on the worktable (frame for the top). Drill two pilot holes on the ends of the 16-inch pieces. Keep them 3/8-inches from the edges. Put some glue on the ends of the 6-inch pieces and secure them between the longer pieces with the finish nails.

Drill pilot holes around the perimeter of the 1-by-8-by-16-inch lumber (top) with the 1/16-inch drill bit. Keep the holes 3/8-inch from the edges and space them out about 3-inches apart.

Run a bead of glue on the exposed edges of the frame for the top. Set the top on the glue and secure it with the finish nails. Turn the box over so one of the long sides is facing up and put the top against the opening in the box aligning the ends.

Secure the piano hinge to the top and the box with the screws provided. Turn the box over and install the locking catch to the top and the box according to the manufacturer’s instruction.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set the nail heads with a nail set and fill the holes with putty.
  • Sand the entire lock box before applying a finish.
  • Keep power tools out of reach of children.
  • Do not apply a finish to the lock box without proper ventilation.

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