Box Locks, Box Catches and Escutcheons

WHAT are Box Locks, Box Catches and Escutcheons?

Box Locks are used on boxes to keep items inside secure, with the box owner requiring a key in order to reveal what is inside.   Box catches on the other hand, do not require a key and are useful when security is not such an issue, but keeping things held together in one place still is. The area around the box lock key hole can either be left as is, or decorated with an escutcheon, which can be either in metal, or wood or a wood veneer.

Our Stainless Steel Lock and Brass Lock - Neat Lock - are simply the best looking Box locks around. Machined from solid brass or solid stainless steel they make the perfect companion to our Neat Hinges. The polished plates have no exposed lugs, and the screw holes, like the Neat hinge, are set slightly below the surface for that neat finish. They feature a smooth locking action with a very satisfying "click”, using precision made stainless steel compression springs which will provide a lifetime of consistent operation (rather than the traditional sprung metal which can lose its spring over time). They also have a traditional shaped keyhole for those who do not wish to see the case from the outside when cutting a traditional shape in the escutcheon.  

An alternative to a box lock is a box catch and we have a nice range of catches available to choose from in a range of prices.  The sliding button catch is a firm favourite and comes in either a brass finish or nickel finish catch.  The box is opened by sliding the button to the right and lifting the lid.  We hold a limited number of left sliding catches in stock for those makers who require two catches – one sliding to the left and one sliding to the left – perhaps for a flute case or gun case.  Customers are asked to please send an email to if both types of catch are required.

The standard button catch is ideal for smaller boxes, does not require screws, and comes in a choice of gold finish or nickel finish.  To open the box you simply push in the button and lift the lid.  For larger boxes we stock the precision spring button catch, in a gold and a nickel finish, and as the name suggests once the button is pressed in the box lid springs open by about 5mm.  The quality precision spring button catch does not require screws either.

We also design and sell eye catching wooden box escutcheons and veneer box escutcheons to match the Neat Lock.  The wooden escutcheons can be either inlaid flush or proud of the box, while the veneer escutcheons are bordered and inlaid flush to the box front.  Escutcheon shapes include rectangular escutcheons and oval escutcheons.

We sell two other locks from our website – a standard lock in a gold finish and a nickel finish, as well as a mid range lock, also known as a humidor lock, in both a brass finish and nickel finish.  Both types come with matching metal escutcheons, keys and screws.  All of our hardware comes with matching screws where required.

WHO uses Box Locks, Box Catches and Escutcheons?

The box lockneat box lock - is ideal for anyone wishing to create a box using top quality, easy to fit locks (useful instructions provided).  We supply worldwide to box makers, cabinet makers, furniture makers, woodworkers and hobbyists. Makers who require a quality, precision made, highly polished lock for their finest bespoke boxes use our brass box locks – the Neat Lock.  An additional benefit is that the neat lock can be purchased as part of a matching hardware team - lock and hinge - known as the Neat Team, a solution which is best when a co-ordinated look is all important.  Matching Neat Tray Handles are also available in solid brass and solid stainless steel.

Our box catches are perfect for those occasions when a lock and key are not essential, but a method to keep a box lid closed is very much required.  There is a good selection to choose from on our website, which suit cabinet makers, box makers and hobbyists alike.

All of our box hardware items - solid brass locks, solid stainless steel locks, box catches and box escutcheons - are shipped worldwide, so when you purchase online your postage is automatically calculated and you can either pay online via paypal, another method, or contact us directly to arrange a bank transfer. 

WHERE are Box Locks, Box Catches and Escutcheons used?

The Box locks, catches and escutcheons are used for the creation of many different types of well-designed, custom made boxes, such as jewellery boxes, keepsake boxes, cufflink and watch boxes, currency boxes, stationery boxes and gentlemen’s boxes.  Dimensions are provided for each hardware item, and customers are advised to check these products suit prior to purchasing and can certainly contact us with any queries for advice.

The box locksNeat Locks -  are part of a set known as the Neat Team which includes a pair of solid brass hinges or solid stainless steel hinges and a matching lock that can be purchased separately or as a team.  These locks and matching hardware can be purchased directly from us on-line and are shipped worldwide.

The box catches come in three main finishes, brass, gold and nickel, and it is important to check you have chosen the correct finish if you are matching it with box hinges.

WHY are Box Locks, Box Catches and Escutcheons used?

Box Locks, Box catches and box escutcheons are the finishing touches to any box and will highlight the skills of the box maker when fitted with care.

There are a wide variety of box locks, box catches and box escutcheons available and we have cherry-picked the hardware we think is not only aesthetically pleasing but also the most durable and value for money. 

The neat brass box locks and stainless steel locks are solid, highly polished, well-made locks with countersunk screw holes which are perfect for precision made, beautiful boxes that deserve the highest quality hardware.

All of our locks are full-mortise locks and as such require part of the box wall to be drilled out in order to fit.  Full instructions are provided and customers can contact us with any queries.

WHEN are Box Locks, Box Catches and Escutcheons used?

Neat box locks are used when precision, durability and aesthetics are of the utmost importance to the finished piece.  These locks are specifically created for bespoke, quality boxes. It is advisable to use the lock when the lower part of the box is no less than 40mm in height, as the overall height of the lock is 31mm.

The standard button catch is ideally suited to smaller boxes (minimum wood thickness is 12.5mm), and the sliding button catch for small boxes including slim-line boxes such as flute cases, brief cases and gun cases where a left-hand and right-hand catch would be very practical.  Please note right-hand sliding button catches are provided unless customers advise us otherwise.  The precision button spring catch is larger than the standard button catch, with a button diameter of 20mm, and sits well on a medium to large box. Please note, the minimum wood thickness required for fitting the precision spring button catch is 12mm.

The wooden and veneer box escutcheons are ideal for the neat lock, while metal escutcheons are included with the mid range lock and standard lock

HOW are Box Locks, Box Catches and Escutcheons used?

Our locks, catches and escutcheons are sold in singles and come with full fitting instructions.  Once you place an order online the instructions are emailed with your order details to download and print. Instructions can also be downloaded from the description section for each item of hardware

The brass lock and stainless steel lock instructions explain how to set your router table up properly to drill for the lock case and the mortises.  Test cuts are advisable to avoid mistakes.  They also give advice on how best to cut an accurate keyhole.

Two sets of screws are provided with the neat lock  – the first set is for the initial fitting of the lock and the second set are for use when the box is complete and the lock is ready to be added at the end.  Ideally you would match the brass box lock with our brass hinge (or stainless steel box lock with our stainless steel hinge), also known as the Neat Team, for a perfect finish to your box.

The fitting instructions for the precision button catch comes with useful diagrams and a list the tools needed for the job, as well as how to use the drill press to optimum benefit.  Instructions are also provided for the sliding button catch and standard button catch

The veneer escutcheons are quite delicate and come with either a brown paper or clear plastic front cover to keep the borders in position while fitting using glue to a box. This cover is then removed and the escutcheon sanded flush prior to any coating.  Further details are provided in the instructions.