Hard to find locks

This is Nancy, from Londonderry Brasses. I want to add "hard to find locks" to my catalog, but I am not sure what all you woodworkers are looking for. I had a recent request for a small lock which would be used in a knife box. The lock would have a 60 degree beveled edge on the half mortise lock.
Someone else suggested a small curved lock which would be used in a box.
I would appreciate any suggestions on what is needed so that I know what I should offer. If examples are available to use for the drawings and production work, that would be fantastic.
Nancy Andersen

Jack Plane

Well-known member
Hello Nancy, it's good to see you here. I would be very interested in a source of authentic eighteenth-century style plain steel locks for drawers and cupboards etc. There are still a few lock companies in the UK like John Worrall & Sons Ltd. (http://www.jworrall-locks.co.uk/html0001/index.htm) who produce cabinet locks, but they are annoyingly inaccurate!

For the most part, they have brass bolts (they should be steel), they are lever locks (they should be warded) and the caps are attached with (I feel quite ill thinking about this) plated Phillips head screws! The caps, if not self-riveting or post mounted, should at the very least be attached with slotted screws ? and plain un-plated steel ones at that.

I appreciate that wards are difficult and time consuming to produce and fit (I know, I've repaired and made dozens of locks over the years), but as long as the reproduction locks have accurate drillpins, bolts and springs, that's all that's required really for functional locks for reproduction furniture and much restoration work (wards could be added by individuals if a restoration job called for it).

The caps can be quite crude and the lock plates can be left unfinished or lightly sanded (they would have been draw-filed originally). I don't know about American locks, but English ones were made in a variety of (I hesitate to say standard) sizes with various selvedge widths and common back-sets (7/8", 1", 1-1/8", 1-1/4" etc.).