The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

Click here to edit subtitle

Australian Wedding Locks

In early 2012, a young lady from Australia asked me to build 3 padlocks for her upcoming wedding. She wanted one large lock and two smaller locks.

I entered the pattern for the padlock into Google Sketchup.  I then used Sketchup to scale the whole lock down by 66.6666 percent to create the design for the smaller padlocks.  I selected this scale because it reduced the standard wood board thickness from 3/4" down to 1/2". I also did not want to go below 1/2" on the shackle since they are very fragile, even at 3/4" thickness.



  For the color scheme, I decide to use walnut for top and bottom, then 2 maple pieces, plus a red padauk piece for the middle segment. The hasp and key will be oak.

Making the smaller locks could be a challenge, since I have never built this size before.........I have only built the full size model. 



Small Lock Key Blank





Planing 3/4" stock down to 1/2" stock for small padlocks







Because I was making 4 small padlocks, I glued 3 pieces of brown grocery bag paper together, then glued the pattern on the top.



Ash Spring Section for Small Padlocks

 I used the scroll saw to saw out the spring cavity versus a hand held jig saw.

 Make sure the ash springs do not extend vertically more than the top or bottom of the segment..........or they will bind when fully assembled.


 I bought the ash wood from Rockler online a couple years ago.  I used the drum sander in the drill press to thin up the end that is glued to the segment.



Bottom Segments of Small Padlock Finished

 I number all the segments in pencil during the build process.



Keyhole Assembly

 It takes 2 round discs to make the keyhole assembly. I glued the round pattern onto 3/16" thick wood with white Elmer's glue. I sawed them out on the scroll saw. Then I held them against the drill press sanding drum and sanded them exactly to the circle pattern. Then I glued the 2 discs together.......

 I drilled 2 holes at the end of the key slots using the drill press. I wanted to use the scroll saw to neatly cut the key slots, but had no way to hole these small pieces with my fingers. I decided to try laying a Vise-grips flat and then clamping the disc assembly.  It worked fine.......


 I also cut the key using the scroll saw.....


 I made the key edges round using files and a Dremel drum sander.


Shackles for Small Padlocks

Next was making the shackles. These were the most challenging parts because it is so easy to damage them while routing them with the round-over bit.

I decided to leave extra stock on the bottom of the blank so I could hold them easily in the vise for sanding...I added 3 inches and made the blank 8 inches long. I also decided to leave the bottom connected versus separate to support the fragile curved tops better.


 Here is the router table set up with a 1/2" round-over bit:



 I had one crack at the top using the 1/4" round-over bit (to create a 1/2" diameter shackle). I glued the pieces back together. I lost a couple of small chunks of wood on two others.  If I was to make these again, I think I would not route the curved tops, just the sides.  Then use the Dremel drum sander by hand to round over the top hoop.



Hand Filing the Shackle Notches and Grooves

I used a round file to make the groove and a triangular flat file to make the notch:



 On one shackle, when I was testing it, the 1/8" dowel would not retain it as you swing it all around. I found the bottom of the shackle was not round. The missing material allowed it to come free during rotation. I sanded a flat spot on the shackle with the belt sander. Then I glued a piece of oak to the shackle. I used the Dremel with a drum sander to make it round again.



Here are the 4 completed small shackles:



Large Australian Wedding Lock

Click to add text, images, and other content

First Small Padlock Dry-Assembled




1st Small Padlock Glued and Clamped



1st Small Padlock Ready for Sanding



Shackle for Large Australian Wedding Padlock

I added the extra stock on the shackle blank like the small padlock. I cut the shackle on the scroll saw from 3/4" thick red oak.


 I used a 3/8" radius round-over bit to form the round cross-section. I was careful feeding the blank into the router and it worked perfectly.



Making Pieces for Large Australian Padlock




Ready for Sanding


 Drying Rack:





Completed Small Padlock

 I had enough wood cut out that I made a small padlock to keep:




Completed Australian Wedding Padlocks





Closing Thoughts on Australian Wedding Padlock Project

Since I had only built the large size padlocks before, I was not sure I could scale them down to 2/3 size. I was able to scale them ok. The 1/2" diameter shackles are very fragile. It might be advisable to try laminating some wood strips with the grain in different directions to make a stronger shackle on future locks.



 December 2012 Update on Australian Wedding Padlocks

The lady in Australia who used my locks in her "locking ceremony" or wedding, sent me a nice email, including photos of how they used my wood locks.

 Hi Dale,

Thank you so much for the beautiful locks and for your follow up! unfortunately we were unable to get married on the day that we had chosen as my brother passed away suddenly. However, we have since got married and while the location was not as nice as we had originally hoped for, the ceremony with your locks was beautiful.
We locked the smaller locks representing our two children onto the larger lock and then locked them together for life. We then tied the keys to balloons and let them go so that the locks can never be broken. It was a truly unique way for my family to celebrate. 
Hope you enjoy the photos and knowing that your locks have brought as great joy. Thank you,

Below are photos of how they used my 3 wood locks in their wedding ceremony........









 Pretty cool that these wood padlocks were made in my workshop in Fairbury, Illinois and then used in a wedding ceremony in Australia!!









Recent Photos