Japanese tools #13: Japanese toolbox - drawer, making the wood drawer lock

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by mafe posted 06-08-2012 09:55 AM 36512 reads 11 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Japanese toolbox - making the basic box Part 13 of Japanese tools series Part 14: Japanese toolbox - finish drawer, wood nails and final details. »

Japanese toolbox

Here we are part two of the build.
Last blog we made the basic box parts, now it’s time for handles, drawer and another little challenge.

This was where we left last blog, the basic box.

Ok a piece of wood same as the box for the handles.

And some spacers also.
(This time cutting on a German saw).

Gluing spacers to the back of the handles.

Clamps, clamps and clamps…
Gluing the batterns to the lid and spacers to the handles.

Top and end for the drawer box inside is cut to size.

Time for another drawing.
I looked at the cabinet maker video and made a drawing for the drawer that follows this approach.

As you can see now, the drawer ‘box’ is inside the box.
And parts are cut for the drawer.

First I cut a little drawer lock.

But after discovering a wonderful dark knot in the drawer front I got inspired while drilling it out.
To make an all wood drawer lock.
An extra challenge, jubiiiii.

Back to the drawing board.
Sketching different types and choosing as always the most simple – less IS more.

Here my final drawing of the lock, I actually made this after making the lock, since I build as I meet the troubles.
But I think it gives a good picture here before we go on.


Homemade tools, my carvers mallet, my cutting gauge and a rehandled mortise chisel – this makes me smile.
Mark up, cut and clean out for the lock.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Parts for the lock – more to come.

Harder wood, this is a gift from my friend Div (who is silent these days).
In this way there are also some love and personality build in, thank you Div

Do you get the picture?
Lock cam.

Making the lock cam move.

Fitting the lock cam after mounting the arm / handle.

More parts, now a kind of washer.

More clean out for the final fit.

And some grease from the grease box to make the lock run smooth.

Here we are!
All the lock parts.
Do not worry it will make sense soon.

In goes the lock cam.

Then the arm / handle.
Notice the little hole I added.

Spacers for a smooth ride.

The washer.

And a mini wedge with a small notch.

So it locks it all together elegantly.
The rest is just to cut the arm to length.

Marking for the mortise for the lock in the part over the drawer.

Chisel away…

This looks like a lock to me.


Now the handles can be glued on to the end pieces.


So time for some Japanese cabinet making after this little drawer lock game.
Marking and cutting the rabbet for the drawer front.

Marking the thickness of the drawer bottom.

The cutting gauge works fine for this task, but I will need to make me one in Japanese style one day.

I saw down through the grain to avoid tear out.

And then cut with a chisel.

Along the grain I can use the gauge and a chisel, no need for sawing.
(Notice I use my restored Japanese chisels, this is a joy).

And so we have the front ready.

Here you can see the work place in my living room with the Japanese planing board, but I will get back to this later.

I will split the blog here and continue soon.

Hope this blog can bring some inspiration to others that play with Japanese tools and work methods.

I want to send a special warm thought to Toshio Odate, thank you for inspire ring me with your book, but most of all my sister who offered me my Japanese chisels and a Kanna that was the reason why this interest started.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

28 comments so far

View TrBlu's profile


386 posts in 3138 days

#1 posted 06-08-2012 10:25 AM

Interesting lock. Thanks for sharing.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3345 days

#2 posted 06-08-2012 10:26 AM

Man, I love that little lock trick!

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 06-08-2012 11:03 AM

fantastic, that is what i really love about wood work, learning the use of different tools, different ways of getting something done, wonderful blog here mads…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View ramon's profile


153 posts in 3697 days

#4 posted 06-08-2012 11:04 AM

Impaciente me dejas,espero que no tardes mucho en darle continuidad a tu caja de herramientas japonesas y gracias por la presentacion con toda esa gran cantidad de detalles.

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4395 days

#5 posted 06-08-2012 12:10 PM

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Mafe and all his homemade tool friends working together. Nice.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23387 posts in 3618 days

#6 posted 06-08-2012 12:15 PM

Beautiful, well done!! You are a man after my own heart. I love your designs – so neat and interesting and basic!
You have a great creative mind!!!!!!!!!Thanks for sharing this. I have a similar application but I have gone too far on the box to implement it this time. But thanks for the idea, my friend!!.....................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2719 days

#7 posted 06-08-2012 12:34 PM

You do beautiful work Mafe! I love how you bring you work inside. I know it is because you have no choice but that is still just down right awesome! My wife would kill me!:) The last picture just sings elegance! You are a genius my friend. Keep up the great work!!!!

Your Friend,


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View lew's profile


12863 posts in 4268 days

#8 posted 06-08-2012 12:56 PM

Excellent choice on the lock mechanism, Mafe.

I believe the Oriental philosophies really suit you.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3167 days

#9 posted 06-08-2012 01:00 PM

The lock strike is inspired. Thanks for sharing that. The last shot of your workspace is wonderful. I am considering upgrading to Japanese chisels, but the variety of prices and types is a bit staggering….any suggestions?

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3816 days

#10 posted 06-08-2012 01:01 PM

i think lew is right mads, i think you should build a pagoda roof over one of your pipes, well of coarse not directly over it, suspended with a little bamboo,,now there is a design..that would really be cool…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3816 days

#11 posted 06-08-2012 01:04 PM

yea rgtools, get a second job…..but from what ive seen, the really good ones are worth it.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View sb194's profile


197 posts in 3531 days

#12 posted 06-08-2012 01:08 PM

As usual, great job. The locking mechanism is terrific. Looking forward to the next installment.

View Bricofleur's profile


1466 posts in 3706 days

#13 posted 06-08-2012 01:11 PM

Very interesting. Thanks.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3115 days

#14 posted 06-08-2012 01:15 PM

Great stuff as always Mads, wonderful blog with some really inspiring work.

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Brit's profile


7801 posts in 3355 days

#15 posted 06-08-2012 03:26 PM

Ah Mads. I know how those little mechanisms can test the grey cells. I made loads of sketches and a couple of prototypes before I settled on my ball delivery system for my labyrinth game. A very nice solution you came up with. Looking forward to the next installment.

All the best,


-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

showing 1 through 15 of 28 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics