Chris Schwarz's Blog

Quick Review: Whitechapel Crab Lock

OK, so let’s say you are too cheap to purchase a blacksmith-made lock for your next tool chest or blanket chest.

Wait, that wasn’t very kind of me to call you “cheap.” Instead, let’s put it this way: Let’s say your spouse just ran off with the village blacksmith, so you are looking for an alternative to a custom-made lock.

Well here’s a great alternative: a German-made chest lock from Whitechapel Ltd. that costs about one-fourth of a custom lock.

I installed one of these locks today on a tool chest I am making for a customer and was impressed with the workmanship and movement of this lock.

If you’ve never seen a lock like this, they are commonly called “crab” locks or “grab” locks. They get that nickname because of the way they work. The lock closes down a bit like the pincers of a crab and grabs the metal bit on the lid.

Of course, you have to be careful around crabs because they can pinch you. And it’s no different with this crab lock. These locks are automatically locking, which means that when you close the lid of your chest, the chest is locked. So if you store the key to your chest inside your chest you will find out quickly why that is a bad idea.

The Whitechapel version of this lock is better-made than a lot of antique examples I have been buying for chests lately, and there is even some decorative filework on some of the parts. But even though the lock is excellent, it’s not going to fool anyone into thinking it is on par with the stuff made by custom blacksmiths such as Peter Ross.

Speaking of Peter, my wife’s not home from work, and it’s kinda getting late….

— Christopher Schwarz

If you are interested in tool chests and the tools that go in them, I’ve written a book about those two topics called “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” which is available in the ShopWoodworking store.

3 thoughts on “Quick Review: Whitechapel Crab Lock

  1. DanCarrollDanCarroll

    So what is wrong with being called cheap? As my Dad used to say, ‘Cheap is good’.

    And as to sales — it is only a bargin if you need it. Try and tell that one to you spouse when they are in the thrall of the after Xmas sales.

    Dan C

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