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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One picture says more than a whole lot of words.

Hope you enjoyed it!