Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cabinet Locks

Cabinet or drawer locks come in all different sizes and applications. Some are used on filing cabinets, gun cabinets, liquor cabinets, or desk drawers. The most common questions that I get asked are; "What size do I need for my application, and Can I get them keyed alike?" I will go over all the basic points of cabinet locks in this post. First, what types are there? Cabinet locks come in either a disc tumbler or a pin tumbler. The term tumbler is interchangeable with the term cylinder. See the anatomy listed below:
Cabinet Lock Anatomy

A disc tumbler works by discs inside the cylinder that rotate back and fourth to lock and unlock. A pin tumbler has spring loaded pins that drop down into place when it's locked and unlocked. A pin tumbler works the same way a door lock that would be on your front door works.

Pin Tumbler LockDisc Tumbler

Next would be the types of application, we carry the disc tumblers which is by far the most popular. These would go on doors or drawers for filing cabinets, liquor cabinets, built-ins, etc.. the "everyday use" cabinet. The pin tumblers would be used in similar applications but with a little more security. Another type would be a plunger lock, these come in both disc and pin options. The plunger locks are used on sliding doors or on the side of a filing cabinet. You can press the front of the lock in and it will push a small "button" into the strike. When someone tries to pull the drawer out or slide the door over the "button" will not allow the door or drawer to move. When you unlock it with a key, the "button" retracts into the lock and allows clearance for the door or drawer to move.
Plunger Lock

A drawer lock comes in either a dead latching (works just like a deadbolt on your front door) or spring latch (works just like a door knob on your bedroom or bathroom.) A drawer lock is specifically made to latch up into the frame of the cabinetry when the drawer is closed.
Plunger Lock

And, the last application that we have is a combination lock. You can either use the combination or the key override for locking and unlocking the cabinets. These would be great in a school, church, gym, or any other public setting where you have multiple people using common areas.
Combination Cam Lock

So, can you get the locks keyed alike? Yes, all of the cabinet and drawer locks that we carry either come keyed alike or keyed different right from the manufacturer. If you want six locks keyed alike then all you have to do is order the one that has the KA in the part number and when you get them they will all use the same key. If there is a KD in the part number then all of the locks will use different keys. We stock two different key numbers from National Cabinet Lock, our numbers are 413A and 415A. National Cabinet Lock's part numbers look like this C8053-14A-KA413A. The first set of five digits are the specific model of lock, the second set of digits is the color of the lock. 14A is Nickel, 3 is bright brass, and 4G is antique brass. The last set of digits will be the keying of the lock. KA413A will be keyed alike with the number 413A, KA415A will be keyed alike with the number 415A, KD will be keyed different, and KDMK will be keyed different and master keyed.

Last would be the dimensions. On our site we list the overall length of the lock in the first line of the description, in the product specifications it will tell you the maximum material thickness. For example: The NCL-C8060 is 1 3/4" long but will only accommodate a material thickness of 1-7/16". This can work in a number of ways, if you have a door that is 3/4" thick and sits on a frame that is 3/4" thick this lock will work with the straight cam that comes with. If you have a door that is flush with your frame and your door is 1-3/4" thick, you will need this lock plus you will use the offset cam (the bent one.) The bend in the cam that comes with the locks is 1/4" so when you add the 1-7/16" thick and the extra 1/4" you're right at 1-3/4".

For the most part, the National Cabinet Locks that we carry will come with the straight and the bent cam inside the package. We do also carry additional cams to accommodate different applications.

Visit the Hardware Hut today!
“Leave the Details to Us”


  1. Be honest it's a bit harder to me to understand this system.. But it gives me more aspiration and cool knowledge. I partly know what makes the key and cabinet locks work.

  2. Thanks for such a great information. In these days its hard to find a honest blog about locks. This is very helpful, thanks.

    quality door