The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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1856 Wooden Railroad Switch Lock 


The device that switches the track to another track is usually kept locked.  A sliding cover over the keyhole keeps out the snow and ice so the padlock can be operated in inclimate conditions.

I started by glueing up the walnut to make the front and back pieces:


Here the laminated center piece is cut out and the ash wood spring is installed. The spring is the heart of the lock.


It takes several steps to make the key. The key shaft is 1/2" dowel rod that needs a slot cut into each end, and will need a center hole drilled in one end:






The next series of photos shows the key mechanism.









 The labelled photo below shows how the parts rotate to operate the lock.



 The rotating keyhole cover is a very interesting design:





 One tricky thing to watch when sanding the OD of the main lock sanding drum is just about the exact height of the thickness of the lock. One must be careful sanding the OD to keep the lock thickness exactly lined up to the height of the drill sanding drum.  I would suggest checkign the OD often while you sand to make sure you are not sanding a groove on the OD.

To improve the finish of this lock, I made a temporary stand to hold the components while they dry from the polyurethane applications. I used my small drill press vice to hold the wood upright.  The box of nails is my counterweight so it doesn't tip over




 And now for the finished 1856 railroad switch lock.........








Before I began, I thought this would be a cool looking lock......and I'm very happy with the actual end result.  It gives a nice clicking noise when you chose the shackle.  The dark walnut body and light colored maple shackle....and maple key.....make a nice color contrast.






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