How to Pick a Furniture Lock

Written by susan raphael
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How to Pick a Furniture Lock
Keep a spare key for your drawer lock that you can use in case of emergencies. (lock image by Alex White from

A lot of people are scared to pick a furniture lock, especially if they are dealing with an old piece of furniture. Some would think that picking the lock would damage the furniture piece or ruin its finish. You can still pick the lock of any piece of furniture and still preserve its function. If you have a desk drawer and its key is long gone, you may need to pick the lock to force it open. If you are keeping important documents or items inside the drawer, you might want to try picking the drawer lock.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 paper clips
  • Flashlight

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  1. 1

    Get two paper clips and straighten them to use for picking the drawer lock. Peel away the plastic coating if you are using coated paper clips. Only the metal part of the paper clips should be seen. This will prevent the coating from getting stuck inside the lock while you attempt to unlock it. One of your paper clips will be used to go inside the lock while other will act as a tension wrench in your desk.

  2. 2

    Shine your flashlight into the lock to search for the side that contains the pins. Push the paper clip inside the drawer lock if you can't feel the pins. Use the paper clip to rake the sides of the drawer lock to find its pins. Hold the lock pins with just one paper clip.

  3. 3

    Insert your other paper clip and hold it parallel to the paper clip inserted in the lock. The second paper clip will help sustain the pressure on the cylinder of your drawer lock.

  4. 4

    Apply pressure on the first paper clip using the second one and help move it upward against the lock pins.

  5. 5

    Turn the lock's pins with your paper clip until it opens. The second paper clip held against the cylinder of the lock should begin to move, allowing the paper clip to move with its internal mechanics.

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