UPDATED/FINISHED: Ask the NCWW: A lock/latch for this box?

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New User
Back in January, I turned to NCWW's vast repository of wisdom to help me design a lock for a sliding top box. Here is that now closed thread: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/showthread.php?t=54888

As all things wood take longer for me than I expect, this WIP wasn't completed until a few moments ago. While there were a few good ideas, Phil Soper's "Secret Latch" turned out to be the perfect solution. It works great and my daughter is thrilled.

Here are some pictures of the completed box. I also posted a video of the lock in action. While I bounce the box off the bed to open it, it also will open by simply knocking the box in the right spot on the lid with your knuckle. If there is interest, I'll post more pictures of the "lock" itself but it's fair to say that it is exactly as Phil described.


I am pleased with how the box turned out. It was my first attempt at box making. Wood is red oak with cherry bits. Finish is Waterlox Original. (Compare the color and grain contrast between the photos in the earlier thread and this one.) Made some mistakes here and there. Next box will be better. (I learned a lot.)


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New User
That is a really neat idea with that secret latch and I'm interested in additional details. I couldn't view your video-need your permission to see it.

I re-read Phil's suggestion and am a bit confused (a senior moment).

1. A few dabs of CA glue to prevent the steel rod from falling out. How does it move up and down if it's glued in place?

2. The key is finding the right strength magnet. How'd you do that?

Bill Clemmons

Corporate Member
The box is beautiful, Dave. Excellent craftsmanship. I'd really like to watch the video. It's still saying "Private".


New User

I used a 1/8 inch poplar dowel to hold the lid from sliding off entirely. That keeps the 1/4" steel rod in its hole. The dowel is held in by friction. It's easy to remove if you want the lid off.

Finding the right strength is trial and error. I used a 1/32 thick disc rare earth magnet. I learned you need very little attraction. Very little. After failed attempts with glue and epoxy on the tip of the rod, what worked to weaken the magnetic attraction enough was two thin pieces of felt over the magnet.
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Barry W

Co-Director of Outreach
Corporate Member

A beautiful box! I want to try my hand at box - making when I gain more confidence and have a little woodworking experience under my belt. Thanks for the video.

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
So glad it worked well - great job
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