I met a local locksmith in Bridgnorth last weekend for a few beers and naturally we spoke in depth about locks, sad but true.
The great thing about locksmithing is that every locksmith has his own 'style' and packs his own bag of tricks that come natural to him but completely blow the mind of the next person to see them.
So this post I will focus on sharing ten hints, tips and tricks that I use on a daily basis that may or may not be of interest to other locksmiths and DIYers. Completely random, no specific topic.
1/ Lever lock key turn
Found a key on the inside of a lever lock? No need for key turner gadgets. Drill small nothces into the curtain wheel via the keyhole and inch round with a pointy tool. Combined with a small flat blade driver in the curtianwheel center you will easilly unlock the door.
2/ Adjusting uPVC Doors
When adjusting hinges on a uPVC door you should mark around the hinges with a pencil before adjusting, both as a guide to see the movement but also to find your way back should you go wrong. 90% of the time all that is required is a few turns in on the top hinge!
3/ Stones and Matts
Again uPVC doors. Always check for stones, dirt, carpet corners obstructing the bottom of the door. It sounds daft but can leave you scratching your head if un-noticed and your door has a mystery locking problem. Another favourite is the Xmas wreath hung over the top of the door.
4/ Advertising Your Locksmith Business
90% of locksmith work now comes from online sources! Add your listing to every directory you can find. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, create multiple company websites. If one gets hit in Google algorithm changes, you have a backup on standby.
5/ Invest in a Neodymium Magnet
Not only do they aid in the bypass of a lot of Kaba mechanical locks, they are also great for finding those screws/parts you just dropped in the customers gravel driveway. Just keep it stored safely!
6/ Santos Lever Locks
An oddball black lock with oval cutout in the hardplate. Remember that the stump is part of the lockcase and in this lock the levers move over the stump as opposed to the stump through the levers. Leverpack is riveted to the bolt.
7/ Millenco Mech's - Second chance
Dual spindle Millenco uPVC mechanisms that are only using the one spindle gear can be repaired by carefully dismantling and swapping the broken gear for the redundant one. Its like a second life and will save the cost of a new £70+ mechanism.
8/ Yale Doormaster Locksmith Repair Locks
Before cutting down any sections to length ensure they are all set in the open position ie: all hooks and bolts retracted. Most are fitted with a plastic retaining pin that sheers when installed however i have had a few where it was missing so worth a double check before cutting a wrong length.
9/ Vehicle Key Fishing
Copper-nickel fuel line from your local car spares shop is by far the best material for key fishing. It is strong enough not to collapse under its own weight but also highly malleable. I use a tent peg hammered in one end as the perfect hook. Much cheaper than expensive pre-made auto locksmith tools.
10/ Tools to Hand
When testing a lock and/or closing a door ALWAYS keep your tools with you. A faulty lock or daft mistake could leave you in an embarassing situation and even locked out yourself. That one time you chance it will be the one time that catches you out. Be wary of wind blowing doors shut, short spindles not picking up on the handles and faulty lever locks that only work one side (usually ERA's).
Rick | Locksmith Walsall