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Locksmithing/Replacing locks on a wooden file cabinet


I recently purchased a two-drawer wood product filing cabinet second hand. Each of the two drawers has a lock on it, but the previous owner no longer has the keys. I wanted to replace the locks myself, but I can only find replacement locks for metal filing cabinets. I've googled this and come up empty handed. I've also read through a huge amount of the questions here, but only see info regarding the Hon metal cabinets. I cannot find any numbers or letter of any kind on them, so I think purchasing replacement keys would not be possible. Can I buy replacement locks and install them myself? If so, where? I would also appreciate some guidance on removing the existing locks. Thanks in advance for any help you are able to give me. It just doesn't pay to be a "helpless female"!

Hello Jodi,
(read the bottom line first)

If you were helpless you wouldn't have found this site.

First determine the type of locks on the drawers.  Are they cam locks or drawer locks?  If they are installed on the drawers themselves and not beside the drawers then they are probably one of the above two.

A cam lock has a metal piece that turns when you turn the key.  These are installed through a hole in the face of the drawer and secured with a nut that's threaded on to the back of the lock body then the cam is installed with a screw.  You should be able to see the screw and nut if you have this type of lock.  The front of this type of lock is round and usually has a trim piece that covers the hole better can causes the lock face to extend from the drawer or door about 1/4".

On this page is a cam lock.  It may look short but that's because that particular one is and it's designed for metal doors but cam locks are made in many lengths for many applications, including wood drawers.  The lock description can be found here:

A drawer lock has a metal piece that slides up and down with the turn of the key.  They are installed through a hole in the face of the drawer from the inside face of the drawer front and are secured in place with 2 screws.  The back of the lock is generally shaped like a diamond.  The front of the lock is about 7/8" diameter and is round but has no trim piece and is either flush with the drawer or door or is only sticking out a short bit.

You can see a drawer lock here:  These too are found in different lengths to accommodate a variety of drawer and door thicknesses.  The description of this one can be found here:

Most of the time getting a key made when one is lost for either of these types of locks is more costly than a new lock but it can be done as long as the locksmith knows how to impression.  You can find replacement locks at a locksmith shop or some hardware stores if you can't find a locksmith to make a new set of keys.

If you need further please let me know.


** This is only an update to the links I provided to you in 2008.  I've seen numerous visitors to our website in 2012 trying to see the photo links I provided which were outdated.


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I do not answer Safe or automotive questions. Period. I am knowledgeable in almost every area of Locksmithing. This includes locks, keys, lost keys, residential and commercial lockouts, rekeying, masterkeying, high security locks, access control, electric locks, security cameras and home safety. I have been running an online business since 2004 where I sell all types of lock and security hardware to everyone from apartment renters to business owners to the US government. Before that I started a locksmith service in 1999. I deal with many types of security equipment including high security safe locks, heavy duty padlocks, exit devices, biometric readers, electric strikes, magnetic locks, full surface hinges and I only sell what I personally stand behind 100%. The online business has given me a more in-depth look at the locksmithing industry, helping me to learn more about each and every product that I offer, as well as products I don't have but end up finding for customers to solve any issues they have with security or door hardware.

Please don't submit any automotive or safe questions as these aren't areas that I can help in.


I have been Locksmithing since 1999 and own my own Locksmithing business. I have many years of hands-on experience through the many services I have performed for my customers. I've run my business the way I wanted, treating everyone as I would like to be treated and knowing that any customer could be my last if I didn't perform my locksmithing duties as I had promised.

I have a diploma in Masterkeying, Advanced Locksmithing & Locksmithing from Foley-Belsaw.

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