Picking the IKEA Galant Lock

05 January 2013

I just purchased a number of pieces from the IKEA GALANT collection for my office to finally add some much needed storage space to the room. One of the reasons why I choose this particular collection from IKEA was they include a decent quality lock on all pieces that close. It's a simple 3 digit combination but keeps the hands of my toddler out of files, books and sharp objects.

I assembled a filing cabinet first and when I was done I followed the included instructions (PDF) to set my combination. The first time went smoothly but I when I tried to change the combination a second time, everything went wrong.

When I went to open the lock again after "setting" the combination the second time, it didn't work. The old combination or the default 0-0-0 didn't work either. I had no clue what the lock was set to. I tried any combinations the neighborhood of the new and old combinations but nothing worked.

My searches online weren't much help except that I should take the whole piece of furniture back to IKEA. Luckily my file cabinet didn't have draws in it so I was able to remove the lock and inspect the mechanism. Unfortunately, the back of the lock wasn't much help as it was practically sealed in metal.

This lock works by moving a spring loaded metal bar upwards to allow rotation. When the wrong combination is entered, the locking mechanism is held down by the wheels of the lock.

The wheels of the lock are round with a small inset that when aligned allow the metal bar to be pushed up, thereby enabling the lock to rotate. In the picture below, you can see gray disk which is one of three. Each disk is on the left hand side of each combination wheel.

I wasn't able to visually see the position of each wheel but I knew I could identify the position of each wheel by feeling for each inset. You can do this by inserting a VERY thin piece of metal and rotating the combination wheel until you feel the catch of the inset on the wheel. It might take several rotations but when it catches, it's easy to tell.

Despite the picture I've included, it's best to insert the metal vertically to easily identify the inset and ensure the inset is aligned with the combination displayed on the center line.

To identify the current combination I simply rotated the combination wheels until I identified the inset at each position and then rotated as a group several positions until the lock disengaged. For example, I rotated from 1-5-6 to 0-4-5 to 9-3-4 and so on until I arrived at the combination.

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