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How to Remove a Cam Lock Quickly And Effectively Without Damage?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to remove a cam lock

Our drawers and cabinets are often secured by cam locks since they are reliable fasteners for use. Still, after a while, those cam locks can malfunction as they seem to stick more often than work. Then, it is high time to get rid of the old unit.

But how to remove a cam lock without damaging it? Many assume that the quickest way is to break the lock or just drill it. But that would be such a waste. Instead, you can make use of the instructions here to work on your regular furniture cam lock.

What You Need to Follow This Tutorial

Prepare the following tools:

  • Philips head screwdriver / Hex wrench
  • A pair of pliers

How to Remove IKEA Cam Lock in Furniture Assembly?


Here’s the process of an IKEA cam lock removal from A to Z. Keep in mind that you can apply our guide to other furniture cabinets and drawers.

Step 1: Remove the blocking access

Unlock your stainless steel cam lock with its original key.

Then, you should find the blocking access of this drawer, pull it out to the cam lock’s rear, and set the piece aside.

Note: some tracks include locking levers made from plastic that require you to compress them fully to get rid of a drawer.

Step 2: Remove the latch and fastener

Take your Philips head screwdriver (or hex wrench) and use it to loosen the fastener, grabbing the perpendicular latch to the cam lock’s end.

Then, disconnect the latch and fastener from that end completely. Put both of these two pieces aside.

Step 3: Take out its retainer clip

If you find a retainer clip between the furniture backside and this cam lock, pull it out.

You can remove this clip with a pair of pliers or your own fingers, and remember to wiggle this lock side to side.

Step 4: Complete the procedure

The last step is to push the cam lock out towards the key end’s direction.

If your cam lock does not happen to slide out during this process, twist it gently from side to side.

Do not forget to reconnect the fastener and latch to the previously removed cam lock.

If you also own IKEA cabinets, this guide is usable for IKEA wheel lock removal, too.

Way to Remove a Cam Lock Without Its Key?

Get a cam lock out with its original key is one process, but what happens if you do not have the key around?

In case you have a regular cam lock to remove, an old blade screwdriver would do the work.

Take a hammer to drive your screwdriver into this key slot as far as possible. Get a pipe wrench to place on this screwdriver handle to make a turn. If you do that with enough force, the lock will be torqued open in most cases.

Can I Drill a Cam Lock Out of My Furniture?

One of the fastest (but destructive) ways to remove metal cam lock is to drill it out of the furniture. In this case, a standard ¼-inch bit attached to a power drill is the finest tool combo that goes right through the mechanism center.

While drilling, you can destroy its locking mechanism to get rid of the cam lock. However, we advise you to take this approach only when you do not wish to reuse the cam lock or are rushing to remove it.

What Do You Use a Cam Lock for?

Do you know what the primary purpose of using a cam lock is?

It is quite popular in cabinet construction as a fastener because a bundle of cam locks holds the cabinets together securely that does not affect their appearance.

In general, a cam lock is a cylindrical fastener utilized in assembling cabinets, drawers, and many other types of interior furniture.


That was how to remove a cam lock with its original key, without the key, or drill the whole item out of your furniture cabinet/drawer. Unless you plan to completely get rid of the cam lock, try non-destructive methods to protect your furniture.

What are your thoughts on this article about cam lock removal? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below. Feel free to share this article with the ones who need it.

Thank you for reading.

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