Introduction: Locking Heaven's Door (with Hell's Lock)

Picture of Locking Heaven's Door (with Hell's Lock)

My wife has started a guesthouse. Not for humans - humans are noisy, dirty and difficult to please - but for dogs. She's a professionnal dog trainer - she calls it rather a 'dog owner trainer' - and keeping her clients dogs during their holidays is a great service to offer.

It's better to bring them to her than to attach them next to the road - my opinion.

Whatever. So she asked me for a lock on the door of our courtyard. Dogs like to explore the world, you know. Correction: 'unplugged' male dogs tend to like to explore the world in some conditions - correct terminology is important, for a dog trainer.

'Just a simple lock', she asked me.

Just a simple lock!

Too bad for her, I was in a very good mood. I had a few days left after many weeks of 'busy earning' and since I saw the great opportunity in this - at first sight - simple question, I started building a lock from scratch.

Entirely from wood.

What was supposed to be the kind of thing you can fix in 15 minutes became a whole day of open-minded building without plans, without a clear vision of the whole & without too many measurements. Just crafting from step to step, guided by feeling & inspired by good beers & imagination. One day of crazy sawing, drilling, planing, sculpting and more happy sawing, drilling, planing & sculpting.

The Wooden Jam Session, I called it.

My wife called it 'The Big Mistake Of Asking A Simple Service'.

No doubt, these were the best building moments of my year.

Proudly presenting: Hell's Lock!

Step 1: The Concept

Picture of The Concept

The tricky thing of this lock - like with all locks - is that when you close the door behind you, you're trapped outside. Haha.

Leave Heaven, and you'd better have the right cards to enter again.

There's also an epic Flemish saying 'In Heaven's no beer, that's why we drink it here!!!' - mostly followed by a loud 'HURAH' and at least one ad fundum.

The key of the build is a kind of surfboard-ish thing that slides in two guides.

'Closing the door' means sliding this board in its slot. The 'locking' goes fully automatic. Really.

Like I said, it's a crazy build. Also because the devil himself was my assistant.

If you want to re-enter, you might look for the right cards, but I advice you to look elsewhere.

And to read further.

Like I said, not only was the devil my assistant in the building, but he's sitting next to me in the writing.


Step 2: Talking Surfboards

Picture of Talking Surfboards

I'm not giving you the plans, I'm not going to tell you how to work wood and I'm not giving you a list of tools needed.

I'm sharing my experience, and that's the best one crafter can offer to another.

Btw, every door & every gate is different. Concepts can be adjusted. Plans are for those without creativity.

Give it a chance, your imagination.

That 'surfboard' is made from 2 pieces: a plank with a handle feature on the inside and a carved handle on the outside.

The main function of the other handle is to close the door when you're going out. Hold it in place with that handle in one hand, and move the surfboard with the other.

'Click' and it's locked. Definitively.

Btw, bis, I used oak kitchen board for those handles. Reinforced with sunken screws, stained with wodka & walnuts & oiled.

Step 3: More Crazyness

Picture of More Crazyness

Instead of using a simple metal lock that would have been almost invisible, I prefered doing the wood thing that only takes about 30% of the door space.

The look in my wife's eyes was worth a lot, when she saw the final result.

To make this a winner, I had to cut an almost invisible slot in our door, and add two tiny 'guides' in which the surfboard would slide.

Make those guides a bit larger than the thickness of the board. Humidity and that sort of issues, you know.

As you've probably seen, the surfboard has a fish tail. This tail slides into an 'anchor' - that 'small horizontal piece of wood completely on the left' - that's screwed to the door.

When you close the door - whenever it's from the in or outside - a vertical 'beam' falls between this 'small horizontal piece of wood completely on the left' and blocks any movement of the surfboard.

Aka, the door's locked.

This 'beam' is just piece of heavier wood, pivoting on an axis fixed between two other pieces screwed to the door.

In fact, the making was a lot easier than the explaining.

Step 4: Let Me Explain

Picture of Let Me Explain

Heaven's door's closed, and for some reason you want to enter.

Remind: there's no beer.

But you still want to enter, even when you realize that some crazy carpenter installed Hell's Lock on that door.

You're trying to move the horizontal hadle backwards, but of course that doesn't work.

Which means in universal language: Go To Hell!

For another reason you're definitively determined to enter, and you decide to crack the code.

Knocking won't help, anyway.

You're looking everywhere, even to the nettles growing near Heaven's Door, and you're wondering why someone planted a metal stick between those sticky plants.

Since you're not that stupid - even if you want to enter Heaven - you understand that this might be the key to open the door.

To make this short, you find a tiny hole in the door, slide the stick inside, move the handle backwards - it works! - and push the door.

And than, you realise that a big dog is blocking the road.

Which means in universal language: Go To Hell, Anyway!

Step 5: For Those Who Still Don't Get It

Picture of For Those Who Still Don't Get It

One picture says more than a whole lot of words.

Hope you enjoyed it!



knexguy 11215 (author)2016-06-19

Instead of a stick you could use magnets, put one at the bottom of the dead weight and have another on you. Ask a friend to open it and when they give up go over there with the magnet and simply unlock it!

AINews (author)2015-08-12

Could a sharp knock on a certain part of the door cause the lock to open? Would be a wooden secret knock lock in that case. Nice aesthetics, or as I like to say, looks really good!

DaddyLysle (author)2015-07-30

You don't need the wire. simply hit the door below the handle this will cause the deadweight to bounce. The first time you hit it you mentally time the bounce then get ready to move the handle as soon as you give the door a good wack.

Maxxron (author)DaddyLysle2015-08-09

I was just thinking that some kind of light spring to hold the deadweight against the door would stop that from happening. Even a properly bent twig would get the job done and keep the wooden lock motif.

bricobart (author)DaddyLysle2015-08-01

It may work in theory. I tried it to satisfy my curiosity but it failed - it's definitely a Lock From Hell...

offgrid1111 (author)2015-08-07

Well atleast ya'lls time is spent doing somthing.

acoleman3 (author)2015-08-04

i'd love to make a heavy medieval style door for my house, and then use this lock design to secure it. poor security one would say? it might be, if it weren't for the fact that the hole would be hidden behind one of the many identical metal decorations on its surface. or i may have a sliding mechanism instead of the hinged bar and come up with a completely different way of disengaging the lock. would neer have to worry about loosing my house key again!

bricobart (author)acoleman32015-08-05

You definitely nailed it, that imagination. Pre-favorited!

acoleman3 (author)bricobart2015-08-06

lol thanks mate. now i just have to get around to actually building it.

dollarseed (author)2015-08-05

I love the idea of bumping the lock, though your timing would have to be near perfect, if the gate boards were thin enough, I think that could work :)

spacecat02 (author)2015-08-05

It's a song by Kevin fowler called the lord loves a drinking man

Scorber1951 (author)2015-08-04

I love everything about this..Why can't everyone be this wonderful? crazy? NoWay! Wonderful? Absolutely! -SarahBear

bricobart (author)Scorber19512015-08-05

Thank you Sarah, but I'm really everything but wonderful - just a little bit drunk, from time to time...

dollarseed (author)2015-08-05

Very clever design. I work a lot with beer fueled ideas, and I can see many uses for a door lock of this type :)

bricobart (author)dollarseed2015-08-05

Go for it, and make it better!

spacecat02 (author)2015-08-03

I heard there were honky tawnkers in Heaven I've been told

bricobart (author)spacecat022015-08-05

Honky whàt?! Is it edible?!

shuja.shaher (author)2015-08-05

Spin a yarn with evidence-photos. . . and a beer----+THAT's heaven

TracieM1 (author)2015-08-04

That was a real crafty devil !

diy_bloke (author)2015-08-01

looks great but after reading i have stll no idea how it works. I got to side with yr wife

oshman6785 (author)diy_bloke2015-08-04

The last page gives it away. The OP is right, his explanation doesn't do it justice while the picture is worth more than one thousand words.

The locking mechanism slides into the slot on the frame. That is what locks it, right? The white board, (2x4-ish looking) is "dangling" from that top pivot point. When the locking mechanism slides in and engages, this dangling board, hangs and stops the mechanism from sliding back. The metal pin fits through the hole and pushes that dangling board back enough to release the mechanism to slide back.

Wow, ingenious!!! Love it!

diy_bloke (author)oshman67852015-08-04


bricobart (author)diy_bloke2015-08-01

And though, it's simple. Wake up the dog with the wire, ask him to open the door, enter Heaven and give him a note. Or a bone.

diy_bloke (author)bricobart2015-08-02

ah yes. that shld work :-)

Johenix (author)2015-07-30

"In Heaven there is no beer,

That's why we drink it here"

is carved over the door way to the dining hall in a German Monastery.

I think that they must have had a "House of Ale Repute".

bricobart (author)Johenix2015-08-01

Great to know! Do they brew their own beer also?

Johenix (author)bricobart2015-08-02

Most of the Monasteries had their own brewery, they probably went through a barrel a day with forty or fifty thirsty monks having at least a pint at breakfast, dinner and supper.

JoSte0421 (author)2015-07-29

Love your ible!
Thanks for the fun read.

bricobart (author)JoSte04212015-08-01

Thank you, I'bles made by 2 are the best!

EcoExpatMike (author)2015-07-29


PKM (author)2015-07-29

Very nice build, as most of your wooden contraptions are. Two questions:
1) is "bis" a Belgian-ism? I see it in lots of your instructables- is it like "mec" in French, for instance?
2) if you bump the door and slide the handle at just the right time, can you open the lock without using the wire? Large-scale lock bumping :)

bricobart (author)PKM2015-07-29

Thanx mate! But no, 'bis' is not a belgianism, it's latin. The complete sequence is bis, ter, quater, quiquies, sexies, septies, octies, novies, decies etc.

The bumping methode might work, btw, very clever!

bricobart (author)bricobart2015-07-29

I forgot to say that it's a counting sequence, of course - bis means 2, ter means 3 etc. We use it often in written dutch, but I guess it's completely not done in english...

Jobar007 (author)2015-07-29

I've seen similar door latches, but none with a lock. After seeing the picture, it is quite obvious how it works. A bonus would have been to locate the exterior "keyhole" inside of a knot hole, so it would have been even harder to locate. Perhaps multiple holes with corresponding holes in the locking board that are "dummy" keyholes to make it harder to get into heaven (which is quite difficult, depending on your religion). Maybe some kind of sequence with ratchets? My mind is racing with ideas right now. I just wish I had a courtyard gate to implement them.

Great idea, as always. Well executed, and well written. Thanks for sharing.

bricobart (author)Jobar0072015-07-29

Thanx Jobar, the idea of more holes & a sequenced board sounds pretty cool - worth to explore further! The advantage on our door is that the hole is completely invisible, due to the poor shape of the door. Even me I'm searching it all the time...

emilyvanleemput (author)2015-07-29

I could only think of one author when I read the title ;) It looks great!

You made me laugh with this one, thanx Emily!

KrisA5 (author)2015-07-29

That my good sir, is a fantastic way to spend the day! I'll try that in my shed.

bricobart (author)KrisA52015-07-29

Good luck my friend, and let me know how it turned out!

Edbed (author)2015-07-29

The devil must be a great carpenter. ;)

bricobart (author)Edbed2015-07-29

Definitely, I miss him already ;)

Edbed (author)2015-07-29

This is bloody brilliant. I like how a simple problem can be solved by a lovely intricate artifice.

bricobart (author)Edbed2015-07-29

Thanx a lot, sometimes the most simple solution isn't the best. If you want to enjoy, you have to suffer!

Lorddrake (author)2015-07-29


bricobart (author)Lorddrake2015-07-29

I wouldn't go thàt far, but thanx a lot anyway! ;)

Sovereignty (author)2015-07-29

Huh? Huh? Huh? What the...?

Step 5..... Aahhhh!


DaddysGal22 (author)2015-07-29


londobali (author)2015-07-29

Thanks for the nice read.. and playlist.. :D

will put this as my collection for my dream farm one day.. :)

Royell (author)2015-07-29

You seem like that sort of fellow to have a drink with. XD
Excellent story!

About This Instructable




Bio: I made a beer mug with only a knife & a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.
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