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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Worst Locksmith Job Ever | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

The Lock Out From Hell

Thought I would write about a job I did last night which won the award for the worst job i have encountered in my five or so years of trading.

After a fairly busy day it was about knocking off time and I was looking forward to a spot of dinner. As I pulled upon the driveway the phone rang, a chap locked out as his uPVC door had jammed.

Not a problem I thought. I have probably unjammed hundreds of doors and rarely present a problem, I carry a tonne of uPVC gearboxes so although out of hours I can replace it.

When I turned up the chap had already sawed off his handle and been digging at the spindle gear which was now sitting sideways in the hole.
I immediately identified the lockcase as a mila/coldseal.

The key was turning fine to 'unlock' the mech so it was just a case of forcing the locks' hooks back in place... or so i thought.
Using various bent tools in the spindle gear hole I dug around to find a bit of rail to slide the hooks in but nothing would budge. It was jammed solid, a bit more digging around in hope of releasing jammed parts probably obstructed by broken cast metal also failed.

Now half an hour in it was time to try plan B.
Using a flat wedge i spread the door gaps to see how many hooks I was dealing with. It was a 4 hook system and an incredibly tight fit!

Now the basic principle of unjamming a door in this way is to make enough gap to manually retract a hook which in turn should put them all back in place, providing you have unlocked the mech with a key.
Another half hour passed and it was beginning to get dark with still no progress on retracting these hook bolts which appeared to be jammed locked.

Having faced this situation on a two hook system in the past I would normally spread as wide as possible and push each hooked section out of its keep one at a time until the door pops open. The problem with a 4 hook system is that you have two pairs of hooks throwing both upwards as well as down making this impossible.

At this point the next door neighbours arrived and we were allowed access to the rear of the property where i gained entry to a back door and get the customers in. This also allowed me to tackle the door from the inside.

Another half an hour spent I finally submitted and made the decision to venture into unknown territory and remove the hinges in hope of freeing the interlocking hooks. With the door off its hinges and rotated as much as possible without bending anything I again tried to free the hooks to which i had full access. Still I could not free them from the keep!!

After much struggling and a murderous headache coming on I finally released it by unsrewing the keep completely, which is not easy through an angled door gap I tell you!

The next hour was spent repairing the lock, re-hanging the door and adjusting it all to work smoothly again.

In the five or so years of opening jammed uPVC doors which I believed I was pretty much an expert at (Its usually a thirty minute job to open and repair) I have never had to go to these lengths to repair a door.

It just goes to show no matter how good you think you are, theres always going to be that job that will knock you down a few pegs and remind you that sometimes you will have to work hard for your money.

Update 06/11/2015

I have since encountered a couple of similar scenarios with this particular lock setup and have developed a great way to unjam them. Keeping it to myself for the min but it may make a future appearance on the locksmith blog ;-)


Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:14 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:05 PM GMT
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