Introduction: The Lock Box: Lockpicking Display & Practice Stand

About: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For wan…

Hello my freaky darlings and welcome to yet another installment of what I like to do in my free time. Brought to you by the letter "L"

"L", the first letter of Lock-picking, also larceny... But I assure you, the two needn't be synonymous. So please, grab yourself a tasty libation and read on wit yo bad self!

This project was really wrought out of necessity more so then anything else. When it comes to hobbies my passions burn hot, and I've a tendency to jump in with both feet, guns blazing. So, when I got it into my head that I wanted to learn how to pick locks, locks became my all consuming desire: I had to have them, all of them...

Thankfully, I've the bestest wife this side of the kuiper belt (a little astronomy humor) and she very lovingly put up with my discarded conquests strewn about the apartment like so many used tissues. Before her patience began to wane I decided that I needed to consolidate/organize and of course, do so with style.

To be honest, my first inclination was to go out and buy some sort of metal grating like Sherlock has in "Elementary" and be done with it. But I live in a small studio apartment, so it just wasn't practical. Besides, I can't go ripping off a TV shows aesthetic like some thirty year old fan-boy (no offense to y'all fan-boys out there).

All things considered, I decided to come to mine own rescue. I give you: "The lock box." Follow me in my harrowing journey to create one of those things you never knew I always wanted.

Step 1: "What's the in the Box!?!"

So, believe it or not, it took me about six trips to three different liquor stores over the course of four days to procure one wine box. I don't know what else people are doing with these boxes, but if you see one snap it up! You may not find another for a long, long time. You've been warned!

Why a wine box? I don't really know, But I like wine and wine comes form a barrel and a barrel is sorta like a box, only not, so... What can I say, logic.

Wine and wine box in hand (like I'd only buy the box), I proceeded to stain the outside with a polyurethane stain/sealant.

*Quick side note: if you plan on using a polyurethane based anything, be sure and crack a window or be an otherwise well ventilated area. That stuff can give you the spins like you wouldn't believe and can really stink up the place besides.

Thankfully, I already had the stain from another project a while back. A little stain goes a long way! I made sure to cover the interior base of the box with cardboard to ensure I didn't mistakenly stain/seal it as I had other plans for that.

If you don't know how to stain something, I'm probably not the right person to tell you how to go about doing it properly. But if your curious; I used a wadded up paper towel to apply it in nice even-ish strokes and followed that up after a few seconds or so with another clean-ish/dry-ish paper towel wiping away the excess. Worked for me, your milage may vary.

Step 2: Built to Last.

If I'm going to build/modify something, I want it to be bomb proof. I don't like having to use kid gloves with any of my toys. So, after I got the exterior and interior sides stained (2X coats) I went back and added L-brackets to all four interior corners of the box.

Unfortunately, the sides were a lot thinner then the top and bottom (held in a vertical orientation) so what ended up happening was that the screws came jutting out of the sides like some sort of Ben Hur chariot mod. I figured I trim them flush a little later on and all would be well, right?

What I didn't expect, was for the screws to be made from the remnants of the Roswell crash of '47! I tried lineman's pliers, side cutters, cutoff wheels and finally a hacksaw and I couldn't get through one of those damn screws! At least not without marring the hell out of the exterior of the box. Not good.

In the end, I decided to forgo the L-brackets and used the screws for added support by drilling them directly into the top and bottom through the sides. That part of the process over I went on to add some more holes.

Step 3: How to Make a Box Holy.

So, I know that at some point I may want to hang this from the wall somewhere (security deposit be damned). Knowing that and wanting to not have to revisit this project later. I decided to go ahead and add some eye-bolts to the top. To avoid accidentally drilling though the back panel (again, held at a vertical orientation) I used a pair of washers as spacers and drilled through the guide holes they provided. I used a drill bit slightly smaller then the unthreaded core of the bolt to allowing me to screw the bolt into the wood of a little added support and to reduce any play there may have been otherwise. I then used a second washer and a nut for the final fitting.

Having added the eye-bolts to the top gave me the idea to do so on the side as well. "Why the side?" you may ask. Well, by adding a pair of eye-bolts to the side of the piece, I was then able to add a length of salvaged chain, giving me a working "real world" scenario with which to practice my newfound obsession!

Next I drilled two holes to accommodate a pair of poles fashioned out of some leftover 1/2" copper pipe. First I used a leftover piece of cardboard as a template, positioning the locks to be hung on a bias (as they would naturally). Once I was content with the angle of their dangle, I used one of the copper rods as a "cookie cutter" and punched holes into the cardboard in the crooks of thier shackles. I then used this template to drill out two holes on one side of the box using a spade drill bit. Once done, I threaded the poles through the holes and with the excess trued them up using a level. I then marked their positioning on the interior side opposite and drilled two more holes, done!

Man did that last little bit sound like a tech. manual or what!? I promise though, it was really easy. I just took my time with it and it came out all right in the end.

Step 4: Ooops. No Wait, I Meant to Do That!

Once I got the holes drilled for the poles I threw some locks on there to see how they hung (they hung fabulously by the way). What I then noticed was that there was the inordinate amount of empty space beneath them. Now, I knew that there'd be some space, but hadn't really anticipated that much! I had to add something. Then I remembered that extra piece of poplar left over from my work bench restoration, Yahtzee! I'd add a shelf.

Here's that 'ible if you're interested:

Adding the shelf was about as easy as you'd imagine; measure twice, cut once (old carpenter's adage). Took me all of about ten minutes (give me credit I was using a little milwaukee folding saw). Once it was cut and pressure fit I decided that because the shelf wasn't as deep as the sides of the box I could add some hooks to hold the keys for the various locks by which it would eventually be adorned. Don't ask me where I got that idea from, originally i was going to use and old soup can...

Placing the hocks wasn't hard at all. I actually used the pressure fit to aid me in both measuring and pre-drilling the holes for the hooks. Kinda like having an extra pair of hands. Again, measure twice, yadda, yadda, yadda... I will say however, that I'm certainly glad my drill has a bubble level mounted to the back. All of the holes for the hooks were drilled perfectly level adding to their uniformity.

Step 5: Attention to Detail, Yeah I Can Dig It.

With all the aforementioned steps now in the rearview I decided to go on back and make a few alterations. Firstly, I painted the back panel with some matte white acrylic paint. I did this for two reasons: First, I'd thought about decoupaging an exploded view of a lock on the interior of the box (which I may still do. but haven't found a photo I can 100% commit to as yet) and the acrylic will allow for better adherence of the podge. Secondly, in the interim I thought that a brighter internal color would make the locks "pop!" Which I think that it does. So, I've no regrets.

Once I got the background painted I tapped it off and re-stained the interior sides to ensure nice clean lines. Not too much more to say about that really. I guess, I was a bit too cautious on the first pass and missed a tiny swath of space nearest the backdrop. no harm no foul.

Lastly, I decided that since I'd already adorned one side it was time to go back and do something with the other one. Life's about balance. I picked up a cheap hasp from our local dollar store and affixed it to the other side of the box. I hooked it up with a wickedly cheap combination lock as a place holder till I find something I prefer to have so vehemently on display.

Anyway, that's that! Or rather, it was... I decided to go ahead and decoupage the back like I said I'd planing on doing earlier. Checkout the process and the final result in the next step.

Step 6: One Giant Leap for Mankind

When I first started this project I wasn't sure that I was going to go through with this. Mainly because I've never decoupaged anything before and I was so enamored with this piece as it was, I was worried I'd ruin it by the attempt. But, this weekend I decided to bite the bullet and give it a shot. I figured, the worst that could happen was that I'd have to sand it all down and start over. Thankfully that didn't happen.

I found the photo through google images under "padlock patent drawing." I downloaded it as a jpeg and e-mailed it to my local Staples copy and print center. They were able to blow it up to proportions near enough to the interior backing of the box 14"X20" (again, vertical orientation). I was able to trim things down to the extent that it fit with minimal coaxing.

I did have to cut the image a little to elongate it, so I strategically placed the cut where it would be covered up by the drawer in the final assembly (I'd removed the drawer to make it easier placing the image). It also helped getting it all pasted down, being in two pieces and all. I think I'd of had a lot more wrinkles if I'd tried to podge it in one big piece. I applied a nice even coat of podge to the base and positioned the image as carefully as possible. Then I spent a good while using some bunched up paper towels to smooth it all out. I wasn't able to get out all the wrinkles, but I think that there being a few wrinkles here and there add to the charm.

*Tip: When I wasn't using the brush (in-between coats) I kept it immersed in some mildly soapy water so I wouldn't ruin the brush or cause any pulling/chunky buildup of the podge. When I was ready to use it again, I dried it off with paper towels. Worked like a charm.

After I got the image firmly glued down I waited the prescribed 15mins before applying a top-coat. I ended up applying three coats 15 minutes apart (call me paranoid). I tried to keep the brush strokes long and in one direction as I didn't want to risk trying to lightly sand in-between coats.

I took extra care going over the edges as thoroughly as possible to ensure that the corners and edges were firmly established.

Now, I can pretty safely say I'm finished. Thanks for looking. Hope you enjoyed it. Please also check out my intro to lock picking ible here:

I hope you enjoyed the read. I always enjoy the writing. Please, as with any of my posts, take what you want and ditch the rest... Also, don't forget to favorite, follow and Vote for me in the contests if you liked it! Don't be afraid to comment if you didn't.

Make a Box Contest

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Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

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Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016