How to Remove Cam Locks in No Time – A Step-by-Step Guide

Key Takeaway

  • To take out a cam lock, you will need to unscrew it from the furniture first, which can be done by turning the cam lock clockwise. 
  • If you don’t have the key, you can still get the job done by using a screwdriver to unscrew the cam lock from its housing. 

If you’ve ever sold a piece of furniture only to find yourself wondering how to remove the cam lock, you’re not alone. I sailed in this boat last weekend when I was dismantling one of the cupboards that I sold off online. Hence, I spent a good time learning about the process and realized that only a little literature is available online.

Cam lock removal can be tricky to figure out, especially if this is your first time having to do it. As someone who recently found myself in this very situation, I’m here to offer some guidance on how to safely and easily remove a cam lock from the furniture.

In this blog post, I’ll be providing a step-by-step guide on how to remove cam locks quickly and easily. I’ll discuss all the tools and techniques you’ll need to know for a successful cam lock removal booth with or without the cam lock removal key.

What Are Cam Locks For Furniture?

What Are Cam Locks For Furniture?

The building of cabinets and other pieces of furniture frequently uses cylindrical L-shaped fasteners called cam locks. Cam locks are specialized locks that are used for furniture, cabinets, drawers, and other applications where a secure, tamper-proof closure is needed. They are typically found on desks, storage units, cupboards, and other furniture pieces. Cam locks are small, easy to install and provide a great level of security. In addition, they can be easily removed with the right tools and techniques.

What Are Cam Locks For Furniture?

How Does A Cam Lock Work?

Cam locks are a type of lock that is mounted directly on the interior side of the front of furniture. A cam lock is locked and unlocked with a key, and its tongue bar shifts its direction when a key is inserted into the cylindrical nut at the top of the cam lock and turned. When the key is inserted, the tongue bar will either be dropped if it is locked or it will be vertical if it is unlocked.

How To Remove A Cam Lock With a Key?

How To Remove A Cam Lock With a Key?

Removing a cam lock with a key is a straightforward process, and it requires very few tools. To remove a cam lock, you need a cam lock key and follow the steps given below.

  • Step 1: To begin, you will need to locate the key that came with the cam lock. Once you have located the key, make sure it is turned to the correct orientation so that it is lined up properly with the cam lock.
  • Step 2: Now that you have the key in the correct orientation, you will need to insert it into the lock. 
  • Step 3: Push the key into the lock until it can no longer move, then turn the key clockwise until the lock opens. If the lock does not open, you may need to apply a little bit of force to help it open. 
  • Step 4: Once the cam lock has opened, you can now take it out. Carefully unscrew the cam lock from its place and then remove it completely. 

Make sure to keep track of any screws that were attached to the cam lock so that you can use them again if needed. 

How To Remove A Cam Lock Without a Key?

How To Remove A Cam Lock Without a Key?

It can be difficult to open a cam lock without a key, as the key is designed to fit perfectly into the lock and turn it so that it can be unlocked. However, if you’ve lost the key to your cam lock, don’t worry – it is possible to remove the lock without a key using a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.

Here’s how,

  • Step 1: Take a screwdriver that fits perfectly into the slots of the cam lock head.
  • Step 2: Now, carefully unscrew the top and bottom of the lock. Make sure to keep track of all the pieces and where they came from for re-assembly later.
  • Step 3: Once the cam lock has been unscrewed, the core of the lock should be exposed. This core is typically held in place by two screws, so gently unscrew them and pull out the core.
  • Step 4: In most cases, the cam will be attached to a spindle or other mechanism inside the body of the lock. Using a pair of pliers, slowly and carefully turn the spindle until the cam moves back and forth freely. If done correctly, this should unlock the lock. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can I use a drill to remove cam locks from the furniture?

Answer – While some cam locks can be removed with a drill, most cam locks do not. Hence, unless you are sure that the cam lock on your furniture may be drilled out, do not use a drill to remove a cam lock, as it may damage the lock and the furniture. Instead, try to take out the cam lock with a key or unscrew it by using a screwdriver.

Q2. How to remove a broken cam lock that is stuck deep inside the hole?

Answer – To remove a broken cam lock that is stuck deep inside the hole, simply stick the end of a stick or dowel into the hot glue and insert it into the deep hole. This will allow you to grip the cam lock and pull it out. 

Q3. How do I know if my cam lock can be drilled out?

Answer – The best way to determine if a cam lock can be drilled out is to consult the manufacturer’s documentation for the specific product. If that is unavailable, you can also try a visual inspection to check for markings or information on the lock that may provide guidance. Be sure to check for additional layers of security as well, such as a keyway cover or steel barrier, which can indicate drilling would be difficult or impossible. 

In any case, always take precautions when attempting to drill a cam lock, as the components may be more delicate than a traditional lock.


Removing cam locks is a relatively straightforward process. With a key, all you need to do is insert it into the slot, turn it counterclockwise, and the lock should come right off. If you don’t have the key, you can still get the job done by using a screwdriver to unscrew the cam lock from its housing. Now that you know how to take out a cam lock, open a cam lock without a key, and unscrew a cam lock, you’re well on your way to being able to secure and protect your furniture. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this guide. For any other assistance, write to me in the comment section.

Leave a Comment

Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.