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Wooden Puzzle Vault

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image Ben Fink (www.bensscrollsaw.com) and Lora Irish (www.carvingpatterns.com) worked together to craft this custom version for our publisher. For this project, we used 1/2"-thick stock for the end cap.

Clever design will keep them guessing


While reading The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, I was intrigued by the description of what he called a “cryptex,” or vault protected by a combination lock. After reading the passage describing the cryptex, I knew I had to design one in wood. The project is actually quite simple and can be put together in a weekend with tools most woodworkers have.  

I was a police officer for many years and have used woodworking as the ultimate stress reliever. This project combines my love of reading, a life of law enforcement, and my passion for woodworking.  

I worked my way through several prototypes and was excited to try out the finished product on my family and friends. The reactions were priceless! With each new vault, my children bug me to give them “just the first letter.” My colleagues try to figure out a mechanical way around the lock. With a five-dial vault, using all 26 letters, there are 11,881,376 possible combinations! It is a great conversation piece and could be used to conceal a small gift for a special birthday or anniversary.

To start your vault, copy the patterns (see attachment below) for the seven rings and attach them to the blank using spray adhesive. Cover the pattern with clear packaging tape. The side with the pattern attached will be called Side A. The opposite side will be called Side B. 

Gizmos & Gadgets  Woodimals  Wooden Puzzles

Like this cool gadget?  Be sure to check out Gizmos & Gadgets, the latest special issue from Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts, for more exciting and fun gadgets and gizmos you can build!

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Comments (2 posted):

wood-n-things on 09/07/2012 01:39:40
The article bot needs to be lubricated....wrong article again.
Scrolling Days on 09/07/2012 12:08:50
Yeah, at first all of the articlebot articles linked to Easter eggs, then they all linked to steampunk, and now they all link to the wooden vault. I think the articlebot has a blown fuse. :)
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Author info
Bob Duncan Bob Duncan is the Technical Editor of Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts and Woodcarving Illustrated. more