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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Monday, 7 January 2013
Can a lock be too secure? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
I heard through the grapevine today that the local housing association responsible for the door and lock maintenance in the Wolverhampton area have decided to do a U-turn on upgrading all its doors to the all singing/dancing anti drill/bump/snap locks.

It seems the locksmiths employed by the housing association have been struggling for some time opening these locks when the tenants lose keys or get locked out and despite being trained at a local locksmith training school, still lack the techniques and tools to open these locks effectively.

I must admit i have been waiting for this for some time and surprised they managed for so long. I also recently spotted a small out of hours locksmiths contract offered online by the company.

Having worked on these monster doors in the past i feel for the inexperienced carpenters and handymen that get pushed into these tricky jobs.

Typically the doors comprise of a good quality composite door and frame, well fitted and equipped with all the extras; letter box guards, proper cylinder guards that bolt through the width and breadth of the door, high quality anti drill cylinders such as Roto, ABC trap pin or Mila Evolution.

Its fair to say that picking a good quality cylinder such as these is well out of the capabilities of a handyman and indeed a lot of locksmiths, drilling can be a hard slog when met with off center anti drill posts and stainless pins; without correct drill bits it would be nigh on impossible.

Snapping is well and truly out of the question without causing considerable damage. The anti snap guards inside the doors are collossal and hold very well against destructive attack.

So the question arrises..

Can locks be too secure?

My opinion for what its worth is that lock manufacturers have been in such a rush to address the lock snapping problem and/or just jumping on the bandwagon that the products user friendliness and maintenance capabilities have been overlooked, possibly to the extent that these locks could actually cause as much harm as good.

Don't get me wrong here its important that security issues such as lock snapping and 'bumping' (if that is a problem?) are dealt with in new designs to conform to insurance requirements and to meet BS standards but should also be designed to be removed easilly by the end user should keys be lost or damaged locks needs changing.

Changing a vandalised euro is going to be much more hassle for the locksmith called to replace it if he cant just remove the interior handles to snap it out and prices in the future will increase to reflect that.

Im hoping that this issue will become more aparent to the manufacturers in the future and that solutions are developed to create a more user friendly lock.

I think a little more functionality and a little less impenetrability would make for the best lock!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:09 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:19 PM GMT
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Friday, 28 December 2012
Featured Local Locksmith | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!
featured local locksmiths









'Featured' is a new section I have decided to add to the locksmith blog.

I feel this will be a welcome addition to the blog and tie in nicely with my other efforts over at http://www.locksmith-directory.org.uk in promoting local locksmith businesses.

The featured section is space for local locksmith companies to explain a little about what they do, who they cater for and the locksmith services they can offer.

The same rules apply as in the locksmith directory and no national locksmith companies or call centres need contact me as this is solely for the small local locksmiths seeking additional exposure.

What is required?

> 2-300 words that best describe your company.
> Full address and contact details.
> 3-5 pictures of your locksmith business and/or work.
> A company logo.

These can be emailed over to me clicking here

Once i have received the details and checked through them they will be stored untl my next Featured update. These updates will be made in due course as not to saturate my locksmith blog posts and no guarantee can be made on the publishing time.

featured local locksmiths  locksmith picking a lock


Posted by Rick the Pick at 5:38 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2014 1:46 PM BST
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Thursday, 27 December 2012
Testing the Yale Anti-Snap | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

The latest Yale BS cylinder has been giving me grief for a while now.

Picking

Despite the unusually wide keyway of the new Yale BS, picking this lock cylinder is very tricky! As well as the usual spooled driver pins you will now find serrated key pins making it a formidable opponent. Long gone are the days a locksmith can quickly zap away with his EPG as this lock incorporates high tollerance security pins.

yales anti snap lock cylinders

The serrated key pins will bind when a pinstack is lifted past the sheer line and into the milled groove on the pin. Unlike a spooled driver pin these cannot be 'undone' without releasing tension and allowing the pinstack to respring.

Bad news for me as my cylinder picking skills have gone completely out of the window as of late.

Snapping

Snapping a correctly fitted Yale cylinder outright is going to be no easy feat and well beyond the capabilities of the common burglar and his grips.

The joint inbetween the lock body and sacrificial section is a lot stronger than i expected, its not a case of using a flat blade screwdriver down the keyway, it is pretty resistant and still requires a good grip to remove this portion.

Removing the sacrificial section eliminates the first three pins of the lock cylinder and also the anti drill pin at the front of the cylinder, leaving you with three pinstacks.


snapped yale bs lock cylinder

The sheerline of the frontmost pinstack will be visible leaving you two to pick blind. You may find these surprisingly tricky since the plug now moves back and forth as well as rotating and may also contain a serrated key pin. You will also have the problem of getting tension on a lock set back behind the handle face and will probably need to make a custom tension wrench for this.

The remaining section of the lock incorporates the grip deflecting bumps that look like ball bearings. These work very well and make gripping anything other than the first few millimeters of the lock particulaly tricky, however several attempts sees them deform quickly, they are not the same strength as bearing steel.

The hardened spine of the lock is tough yet flexible and I failed to snap this section in a satisfactory way.

Drilling

The new Yale BS cylinder is no more drill resistant than the last BS rated lock cylinder.

It contains an antidrill pin pressed into the front of the lock however i found this to jump out of the bottom of the lock on several occasions when drilled in the 'sweet spot'. The plug contains two antidrill pins side by side in the front of the plug face.

There are several pinstacks containing stainless pins which can take some drilling even with a carbide drill bit should you be aiming for the traditional sheer line area.

Shimming

Shimming the lock by piercing the plug face is far trickier than if you remove the sacrifical section.

Snapping the front section of the lock gives you access to the sheer line of the lock and eliminates 3 pins from the equation. It will also save you wrecking a drill bit when you meet the two antidrill pins in the front of the plug.


shimming open a lock

The shim slides in nicely since you can see the first sheer line.

Remember my original lock shimming post? If you feel the shim slide in but jam the pinstack you are more than likely in a pin serration or catching a spool. Pulling the shim back a fraction so the pinstack resets will sort this but may have damaged the end of the shim.


shimming a yale lock open

So overall, what do i make of the new yale BS lock cylinder?

I think its a great lock for the money and the best from Yale so far, possibly the best anti-snap lock available on the UK market since it avoids the gimmicky keys like the ABS or Magnum that I find put off a lot of my customers off the idea.

These are readily available to the public at a reasonable price and a lock that I think may separate the handymen from the real locksmiths in the future.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 5:42 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2013 7:48 AM GMT
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Seasonal Lock Problems | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

At certain times of the year a locksmith will expect to see an increase in seasonal door and lock problems.

I would define this as a lock problem caused or amplified by the change in weather.

In the colder weather leading to the winter season the most common problem I come across as a locksmith in Bridgnorth is upvc door contraction.

As the temperature falls the door shrinks a few millimeters and can throw the locking mechanism out of line.

Usually this problem can be cured by adjusting the hinges and/or keeps to match the warping in the door and is a fairly straightforward job for a locksmith in the majority of cases.

However the increasing stiffness of the lock is often ignored resulting in additional forces being applied to the lock in order to get the key to turn.

Eventaully something gives and you have a whole different problem to deal with. Unjamming a upvc door lock can be a complete nightmare and prices will reflect that!

Again in the Summertime the exact opposite can occur and you can find yourself with a door that seems too big for the hole with rollers catching on the frame when closing.

Some doors will swell so badly in the heat that they no longer open at all, particularly the darker brown colours that attract more heat.

A tip given to me by another local locksmith for this scenario is to run a cold hosepipe over the door to cool it. Sounds ridiculous to a customer but it works and saves using a door spreading tool.

Those two issues are rarely seen in the more solid composite doors however when choosing a new composite door I would always recommend a customer to choose a lighter colour.

Again with some of the darker shades of door a lot of heat is retained in direct sunlight which can cause the resin shell to blister and eventually crack, particularly in the cheaper range of composite doors.

Padlocks are prone to freezing in the frosty weather, furthermore when we are unfortunate enough to have a downpour beforehand.

In this situation you should NEVER try and force the key. Its not going to happen and you are likely to bend or snap the key making for a tricker opening.

There are a couple of methods I have used in the past from pouring hot water from a kettle onto the padlock, warming the key with a lighter and inserting, or heating lightly with a blow lamp on some of the more extreme frozen locks.

Unfreezing the locks to your car is pretty much the same process however i dont expect anyone to be silly enough to take a blowtorch to their vehicle... I will not be held liable for any burning cars :-D

This is probably my last post this side of Christmas so I hope you have a good one and thanks for reading. Merry Xmas

Rick



icy padlock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:11 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:20 PM GMT
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Sunday, 2 December 2012
Willenhall, Lock Capital of the World | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As most of you know I work as a locksmith and am based in Willenhall, possibly the most famous lock town in the world.

Half the people I work for as a locksmith in Willenhall will talk to me about relatives that used to work in the lock making industry if they haven't themsleves.

Willenhall has its own lock museum and many of the lock makers descendants still operate in the area.

Iv decided to dedicate a small section of the blog to name and offer a little exposure to some of the local lock companies still in the area.

Lewis Locks
http://www.lewislocksltd.co.uk/
furniture locks + supplier of other locally sourced products

Imperial locks
http://www.imperiallocks.co.uk/
High quality lever lock & mortice case manufacturers

A&E Squire
http://www.aesquire.com/
Furniture and cabinet lock manufacturer

Croft Architectural
http://www.croft.co.uk/
High quality brass and architectural hardware manufacturers

There are also the larger lock names based here in Willenhall such as ERA and Assa Abloy Group both of which offer a large range of locking products assembled using imported parts.

If iv missed you off the list please feel free to email me with a little more info and i'l see what i can do.

willenhall lock makers

Rick | Wolverhampton Locksmiths


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:23 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:22 PM GMT
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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Alternative Snapping | Locksmith Blog
It seems that every crook out there seems to know about lock snapping.

The companies scaremongering the public into upgrading locks put the technique right in the spotlight and i can honestly say i saw the number of lock snap related break ins double if not triple.

However they dont always get in.
I came across this lock mullered in a door a few months ago and had to improvise since picking was well and truly out of the question.

mangled upvc door lock

As i have never dug deep and purchased a plug puller tool I decided to drill for the retaining screw and hope to snap the lock using a bit of leverage with the aid of a tight fitting screwdriver down the drill hole.

30 seconds of jiggling and the weak metal finally gave way and out popped the cylinder half.

drilled lock cylinder

Its a technique iv heard about in the past but never really been in a situation that allowed me to test it.

In fact theres even a small tools company selling the Rod Based Snapper for this very purpose.

-------------------

I had a spare half hour today and was playing with some locks and decided I would document a flaw with some of the cheaper antisnap locks on the market.

What i have noticed with companies designing locks that 'tick all the boxes' is that they can actually reduce the overall security of the lock.

This particular one made by UAP (BS Rated?) all singing and dancing anti drill/snap/pick euro cylinder.

UAP antisnap lock 

However you will notice that all 'anti drill' properties are contained within the sacrificial portion of the lock.
Eliminate that portion and its game over.
If this particular lock has been awarded a BS rating it should most certainly be stripped of it!

front of an antisnap lock made by UAP

I know it would be easy enough to pick the remaining 3 pins for anyone half capable...

However since i had no anti drill pins to wreck a £3+ hardplate bit i decided to snap this in the same method as I used on the vandalised Zone cylinder i encountered on the job above. 
Just for fun :-)

lock snapped


Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:42 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:23 PM GMT
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Sunday, 25 November 2012
Mul-t-lock G Series Alternative Destructive Opening | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

Glued or damaged padlocks can be a nightmare to open when used with a good hasp and staple.
Higher security models usually feature a closed shackle and hardened bolt usual Boron.

A few years back I had to devise a way to open the mul-t-lock g series padlocks for a non-locksmith friend who dealt with a lot of these on their sites.

Bolt cutters are useless and using a grinder would have been particularly dangerous at these warehouses. BOOM!

As a lot of locksmiths know, drilling for the traditional sheer line is hard on a loose hanging padlock. Throw in the usual antidrill measures that multlock incorporate into their cylinders and you are looking at a major ballache!

So I took a few padlocks to play with and heres what i came up with:

The g series padlocks incorporate a special half cylinder in the padlock body making lock changes particularly easy once the lock is open.

mul-t-lock padlocks locksmith

The cylinder is held in place by the usual retaining screw down the shackle hole and a small split pin through the side of the padlock body.

The split pin is not hardened steel as you would expect a 1/8th" drill down it puts you bang on target for the retaining screw.


multlock g series padlock

Run down your pilot hole with a larger diameter drill bit until you hit the retaining screw and remove as much material from the threaded portion of the cylinder as possible.

I have also used the drain hole as an extra pilot hole so that you may bring another angled drill to the rear portion of the cylinder.

drilling a multlock padlock

You may find a little bit of thread holding the cylinder in but a screwdriver or similar can be used just to break the last part and push the cylinder from the padlock body.

locksmiths drilled padlock

Obviously this method is only preferable when picking is not possible and the lock has been vandalised. They are in fact not a bad pick when in a favourable position and not kneeling in a puddle at the bottom of a roller shutter.

picking a multlock padlock


Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:12 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:24 PM GMT
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Thursday, 22 November 2012
Is SEO important to a locksmith? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As a lot of locksmiths are now discovering the main bulk of their work is now coming from online leads.

Times have changed dramatically and iv seen virtually all of the major local competition vanish within two years beacuse they thought they could survive on reputation alone.

I was lucky to discover early on that the most important part of running a successful locksmith business is Search Engine Optimisation.

I cant stress how important this is!

Nothing to do with locks, not taught on any locksmith course i know of and completely baffling to the oldschool generation!

75% of the actual physical work i do is sat here at the computer optimising my websites (note the pluralisation).

The likes Thomson Local and Yellow Pages are single celled organisms online compared to the goliath that is Google and although they offer web based advertising products you can do so much better for your money and if you know what you are doing can exploit various aspects of their system to get FREE online advertsing that out performs their paying customers.

The typical online directory listing is £200 upwards per area and will be lost in a sea of other adverts usually in the shadows of large national locksmith advertisers. A website with hundreds of pages can cost you £30-60 a year plus SEO fees if you dont know how to do it yourself.

SEO is still considered a dark art and with Google constantly changing the rules of the game it can feel like you're the donkey chasing the carrot.

As my SEO knowledge has grown I have attracted the attention of other websites and locksmiths asking for help so have begun to take on a small amount of private search engine optimisation work.

I dont intend to make a big business out of it nor much money, its something i enjoy and beneficial to my own locksmith business.

If you would like me to get involved with improving the search engine optimisation of your locksmith website then you can contact me on
07724-828289 or email me at placeborick@hotmail.com and we can come to some sort of arrangement.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:33 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:25 PM GMT
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Saturday, 27 October 2012
Lock opening vids - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Lock picking

Was browsing through my photobucket account this morning and stumbled on a few interesting lock opening vids i made but probably never posted for whatever reason.

Cyberlock magnetic bump attack

This is the magnetic attack used to bump open the older generation of videx cyberlock.

Millenco Magnum Wafer Overlift

Method i discovered to quickly defeat the Millenco Magnums wafers.

 Era BS Thumbturn Bypass

Simple bypass of the new BS ERA thumbturns that can cause so much trouble when drilling.

Lever lock bumping

Local locksmith demonstrating the bumping of worn lever locks


Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:44 AM BST
Updated: Sunday, 11 November 2012 5:06 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Carbide tipped drill bits - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

With lock manufacturers being pressured into producing even more impenetrable locks our lives as locksmiths are getting trickier by the day.

Im not a big fan of pushing high security locks onto the domestic customers;

for one: It makes my life as a locksmith much more stressful in the event of a lockout.

two: Burglars rarely attmept to open a lock anyway.

So the last few months iv come across quite a few nasty locks that have felt the wrath of the rotary pick... and then laughed at me while they resisted to the last slither of metal holding them strong.

As most locksmiths will know; drilling a lock can go terribly wrong!
(Thats deffo not one of mine btw! HaHa)























Throw in torrential rain or a poorly lit alleyway and you are guarantee'd a headache.

So lets get to the point.

Good hardplate carbide tipped drills are relatively expensive!
Faced witha good BS rated cylinder and a spot of bad luck could see you using 3 bits when drilling at the traditional sheer line point.

Iv been testing a few different brands of carbide drill to see how they fare in the locksmiths world.

All drills have been tested on locks containing two or more hardened anti-drill pins plus one or more stainless key pins.

SKS budget drill:


These are priced in at £2-3 plus VAT for a useable size.

Poor penetration against hardened pins

Struggle against stainless key pins.



Budget Duffells drill:

Priced between £1.30 and £2.20 plus VAT for a useable size.

Reasonble penetration against hardened and stainless pins.

Cutting edge continues down the drill bit for widening holes

 

Souber Tungsten Carbide bits:

More expensive range at £3-4 plus vat for a useable size.

Reasonable penetration against hardened and stainless pins.

Last slightly longer that the other budget ranges.



Alpen Reds

Much stronger than other budget ranges with the same strength as the Souber bits.

Price is very reasonable and these are now stocked by all the major trade suppliers.

_____________________

We were recently featured in the locksmith directory featured locksmiths page: Wolverhampton Locksmiths


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:11 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:28 PM GMT
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Thursday, 12 July 2012
Support Local locksmiths - Locksmith Blog

This is the new weapon against the national advertisers.

This directory is about promoting local locksmiths and the logo represents their membership of the No nationals campaign.

In these hard economic times it is important to support small local businesses, in our case locksmiths.

As soon as customers realise that national companies are all about extortionate charges and shoddy workmanship performed by fresh trainees the better.

to share this logo on your website you can paste the following code:

<a href="http://www.locksmith-directory.org.uk/about.html"><img src="http://www.locksmith-directory.org.uk/images/local-locksmith.png" alt="local locksmiths"></a>

If you see any national company displaying the logo on any of their pages then please report to placeborick@hotmail.com with details.

Thanks

Rick | Locksmith in Wolverhampton


Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:28 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:29 PM GMT
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Thursday, 21 June 2012
bad customers - Locksmith Blog
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

Being a self employed locksmith can be quite frustrating at times.

This week seems to have ticked all the boxes, being messed about left right and center on most of my locksmith jobs. Its definately been one of those 'Why do I bother' weeks.

First lesson i'v learned is:

Never do anyone a favour!

Your act of charity or heping out that 'friend' is rarely appreciated. Regardless of the greatly reduced fee (if you have made anything at all) they WILL moan about it come paying time. Needless to say i'v been clear that next time; "dont be calling me!"

Second lesson:

Dont expect any thanks for the work you do...

I recently had a hospital book me to arrive at a patients house on their return as the paramedics had just shut the door whilst rushing her off to hospital.

The family of the patient all had keys however none of them could be contacted or had bothered to visit the elderly woman (In 5 weeks i might add) thus a locksmith had been arranged.

So the ambulance pulls up and i begin unlocking the door whilst they unload the elderly woman.


locksmith picking a lock

Literally as the last pin was binding a car screaches alongside the road and a big burly woman screams "Stop, I have the keys!"

Ignoring me completely the woman barges through everyone there and her first words, i kid you not... "Why didn't you tell us you were in fucking hospital..."

Since i was ignored completely whilst they shouted at one another I packed my bag and left. This was clearly not anyone i was going to see a penny out of...

Although not every working week as a locksmith is this miserable, it has dented both my pride and enthusiasm and I'l definately be glad to see the back of this one.

Chin up and Happy locksmithing! :-)

Rick | Walsall Locksmith


Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:56 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:30 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Staffs Police - locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

I havent blogged for quite some time now as work has picked up and it seems im the only locksmith in the area that hasn't gone under.

I can't complain....

So,

Just blogging, well more ranting regarding a certain non paying customer.

I feel it is my duty to publicly name and shame, even if it saves just one self employed tradesman from getting shafted by these unlikely CROOKS!

I completed a locksmith job for Staffs police, over eight weeks ago.

The PC i dealt with (5093 T.Reece) promised me this and that regarding payment for the job and seemed a genuine chap.

So the weeks passed by and I heard nothing from Staffs police and sent out the usual reminders and made a few calls.

Well two months on and iv currently been in touch with six different members of Staffs Police, sent 6 reminders all with payment details, sent a letter of legal action to both the officer i dealt with and the accounts dept.

Still no attempt whatsoever to make a payment, nobody calls back and the original PC full of promises seems to have vanished.

Its customers like this that self employed tradesmen DO NOT NEED.
Times are hard as it is, and frankly I think Staffs Police are a complete bunch of criminals.

I strongly recommend you think carefully before dealing with these pirates.
Staffs Police, come pay time will lead you on a wild goose chase and pass you from pillar to post to avoid paying up.

I will be pursuing this one as far as possible as I think crooks like this need exposing.

For anyone else that has been shafted by Staffs police, here are a few contacts I did manage to scrape together but dont hold your breath!



MARCIA ASHER - Senior Finance Asst

DEE ECCLESTON Responsible for setting up accounts

...and should the money arrive in my account I will let you all know.

Happy Locksmithing

________________

UPDATE: Money finally arrived after ten weeks hassling them and an apology from the gaffer... Case closed Locksmith Cannock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:59 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:31 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Stale Summer / Locksmith Training - Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Its that stale summer period again and theres not much happening in the way of work, news or anything really and therefore nothing much to report.

I do have a few good items to post later on when i have a bit more time to write them up properly though:

-Femurats manifoil safe lock manipulation guide/experience: An interesting insight into a newbies first NDE safe cracking.

-Thumbturn wires: How to make your own thumbturn wire and how to use it properly

-Locksmith handy tips and tricks: useful nuggets of knowledge to make life easier.

Keep stopping by and keep me posted on any new developments in the locksmith world!

----

lock picking course learn to be a locksmith


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:24 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 2 December 2012 8:54 AM GMT
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Friday, 17 June 2011
Spamming my Blog

Just a word of warning for SEO folk spamming my blog:

Firstly; dont waste your time, I will delete it unless otherwise agreed beforehand via email.

Secondly; I forward all the offending URL's in a monthly report direct to google who will penalize your site accordingly.


You have been warned!


 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:28 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:31 PM GMT
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Monday, 6 June 2011
uPVC mech replacement parts - Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

A few days ago i was called out to a failed upvc mech.

Upon removing the handle i saw it was a Millenco with the dual spindle cams however only used the upper cam.

upvc door lock

The door was unlocked easilly using the second cam below and i soon had the MPL on the floor.

The lock was in great condition, however the cheap cast cam had snapped off when the customers grandaughter had been swinging on the handles.

I agreed with the customer that it wasnt neccessary to pay the massive cost of a replacement unit and i would swap the top and bottom spindle cams to repair the lock.

It took a few minutes and we had one working mech again, at the fraction of the cost of replacing the unit, not to mention the time saved fetching another one.

millenco door lock

Which leads me to ask the question;

Why dont manufacturers sell replacement parts for these locks?
(If they do i havent seen any yet!)

**Edit: Someone got the hint: http://midlandlocks.angelfire.com/blog/index.blog/1475337/millenco-replacement-cams-locksmith-blog/

Maybe its better for business to be selling whole units....

The cost of repairing a failed upvc lock mechanism is pretty high with certain models, Millenco especially as they have non-replacable gearboxes.

I often find myself appologising to my customers for the cost of repairing their door when in reality it is the lock manufacturers pocketing the lions share of the money.

Is it time we started demanding replacement parts for these locks in order to keep costs down? Afterall there is a considerable difference between the £50+ MPL's and a couple of quids worth of cast metal.

upvc lock cam

Next time you are ordering a part from your supplier; Ask for the part to fix the existing lock. Its a long shot but one day they may respond to the demand by offering these parts for sale.

In the meantime i will be stripping and sorting my old mech parts for future use.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:53 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2016 8:05 AM BST
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Friday, 15 April 2011
Unlocking a deadlocking snib with no letterbox
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

A few days ago i encountered my first deadlocked nightlatch where the snib had managed to activate as the door was slammed shut, and of course this door had no letterbox.

Another good locksmith showed me a method to unlock these a few years back however iv never hasd the opportunity to test it out.

The basic principle is to remove the cylinder from the door, then drill a hole in the back of the nightlatch to manipulate the back of the snib button.

So heres how i got on:

To remove the cylinder you need to break the two retaining screws on the rim cylinder. Luckily for me it was only a cheap one and not a solid brass one which would have been far messier.

The best method (if you dont have a fancy rim snapper bar) is to drill top right and left of the cylinder face, angles slightly downwards on the face of the cylinder. This will prevent you drillin the actual securing screws and hit directly on the bit of brass holding it in.
 rim cylinder lock removal

Once you have fractured both retaining areas you may need to get a good screwdriver in there just to wiggle thecylinder until the screws free off, it should then drop straight out.

You are then left with the 32mm hole and the cylinder back plate.

If you can identify the type of nightlatch now it would be useful to locate the position of the snib, however the usual location is to the bolt side of the lock (frame side).

Yale nighlatch opening

Drill yourself a decent sized hole approx 10mm on the edge of the 32mm hole angled slighlty towards the frame side of the door.
This is absolutely bang on target for the Yale nightlatch i was working with and probably the majority of the nightlatches you will encounter.

Once the backplate has peen penetrated try not to go in any further and damage the lock. Using a poke wire locate the snib and deactivate. Open with flat blade screwdriver.



Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:38 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2016 4:20 PM BST
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Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Dealing with nutters? O_o Locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs
Every once in a while i get called out to a job that i cannot wait to get away from.

Today for example, i turned up to do a free home security survey. The door opened and i was greeted by a fairly normal looking woman in her thirties.

As i was about to walk in the door i noticed the postcards stuck in the window relating to various conspiracy theories and government cover ups.

I was half way through the door and i realised it was now too late to turn back...

Basically one of those customers that was completely stark raving mad, the house was in an odd state and i tried my best to get away as quickly and politely as possible without offending.

The customer was very paranoid about security and had alarms, locks and hasps on everything, even the loft hatch, and locked the door behind me on the way in *GULP*

These are never nice situations to be in and luckily i escaped unscathed on the promise of providing her with some high security locks for her door.

Literally anything could happen on a job like this; getting attacked, getting accused of attacking, etc. These kinds of people are usually easilly offended, angered or upset and should be dealt with utmost caution!

So my question is, how would you deal, or have you dealt with a similar situation?

Its not my first and im sure it wont be the last...

____________________

Our friends at Pennine Security Solutions - Locksmiths in Sheffield have a new website, please check it out :-)

Posted by Rick the Pick at 5:14 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2012 5:32 AM GMT
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Sunday, 27 March 2011
Locksmith snapper bars, and custom tools
Topic: General Chatter

Im currently suffering the slipped disk of hell in my lower back to bring you this update, sitting on this chair is murder so i hope you appreciate my sacrifice :-D

locksmith tools

Unfortunately, this weekend saw the death of one of my favourite locksmith tools, the snapper bar. It was only a budget SKS job but its seen me through hundreds of jobs before finally cracking up, leaving me right in the shite on an important job, Anyone thats had to open a thumbturn euro with a rounded off end will undertsand how difficult it is to hammer the plug round whilst engaging the cam in the lock... Not my finest moment but another experience point earned.

lock snapper bar

Anyway, i replaced the old tool with a new (i think its a pink's) budget snapper bar that has removable ends that screw into the main bar. An interesting design, however i fear the weak point may be the bar itself. I can see the tubing splitting further down the line around the threading...only time will tell.

Its been one of those quiet weeks thats seen me pottering around my shed making things and counting stock. One of my experiments was to make one of those key turners for curtained deadlocks.

locksmith key turning tool

Using only the junk i could lay my hands on and a tad of dremmel work i came up with this design; i think you will agree the handle is pretty cool salvaged from a battered old combo padlock from the pound shop.

Also managed to get a bit of lock picking practice in again. I really have lost my mojo as of late, thus the heavy usage of my snapper bar.
Best pick of the week was probably this garrison padlock picked with a half diamond southord pick, although brand new out the box wasnt going to be too awkward.

garrison padlocks


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:33 AM BST
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Wednesday, 2 March 2011
uPVC Door Locks - Common Problems
Topic: General Chatter

I wrote this article for the benefit of locksmiths who would like to add a little useful content to their websites.

Please dont copy and paste!

I would appreciate a link to this page in return for the use of the information.

 Common upvc door lock problems

 Door not locking properly / Stiff handle...

There are several reasons why your upvc door could be failing to lock correctly:
If the handle has been feeling a bit stiff and the key wont fully turn anymore, chances are that your upvc door is out of alignment. This can be caused by swelling and contracting of the upvc door at differing temperatures or from general wear and tear on the upvc door due to repeated slamming or hanging on the door itself. This can be sorted by adjusting the hinges of the door to re-align the keeps in the frame. once the lock is operating smoothly without obstructions the key will turn.
You can get similar symptoms due to debris in the upvc door frame preventing the door from shutting true. Regular cleaning of dirt and stones out of the frame will prevent this.

Door will only lock from one side...

If you find that your upvc door only seems to lock from one side of the door and the other will not allow a full turn of the key, then you will need a replacement lock barrel. This is caused by the central cam of the lock cylinder slipping out of alignment. General causes seem to be due to worn keys and lock components often as a result of heavy use and substandard quality locks,
You will need to call your local locksmith to replace the cylinder with a new one of correct size.

This  is a relatively quick job if there are no other complications.


Handle is spinning all the way round, not opening the door...

This is often the aftermath of not getting your upvc door adjusted when it has been feeling stiff.

Prolonged forcing of the handle puts massive strain on internal parts and eventually they WILL break!
You have broken the spindle inside the lock back box and will need either a replacement backbox or entire locking unit, depending on the type of multipoint lock fitted.
You will need to call a local locksmith to open the upvc door and order the new parts which can be pricey therefore it is important that you get your door adjusted when early symptoms of stiffness occur.

Lost Keys / Locked out...

This is definitely a job for an emergency locksmith,

DO NOT attempt to force the upvc door open as you may cause more serious damage to the multi-point lock. An experienced locksmith should be able to pick or drill the lock to open the door cleanly without permanent damage. Once the upvc door is open the lock cylinder can be removed and a new one fitted,

Lock Cylinders

Often, the cylinders fitted in new upvc doors are not the best quality and may not be suitable to satisfy your insurance requirements. Exterior door locks need to conform to BS3621 and should display a stamped kitemark on the lock. A good example is the new Yale antisnap lock.

These upvc locks will be more expensive than bog standard ones, however provide considerably more protection against drilling, snapping and picking or bumping the lock.

There are many brands of lock that exceed the British Standard rating and offer incredible protection against unauthorised opening. These demand a high price but would be well worth investing in for protecting high risk premises.

The lock cylinder should not protrude more than 5mm from the handle of the door, ideally they should sit flush.

Locks that stick out from the face of the door more than 5mm are a considerable security flaw and you should contact a locksmith to arrange the fitting of a correct sized lock.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:03 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 20 January 2013 10:19 AM GMT
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