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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Thursday, 26 September 2013
Sendola Messaging Service | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

As most locksmiths know, getting the customer to hang on to your number after the work is complete isn't always as easy as we think.

So we did a great job at a reasonable price and left a handfull of business cards, but truth be told they get stuffed in a cupboard/bin never to be found again.

sendola logo for locksmiths

I recently discovered a neat little online application called Sendola that allows you to create free buttons for your website which when clicked by a user allows them to have all your company details text directly to their phone for saving.

Obviously this is usefull in its own right but more importantly for locksmiths and tradesmen is that the user can then save your number to their phonebook quickly for future reference.

locksmiths contact details

Sendola is a system already in use by a lot of online directories and I have been testing it on a few of my locksmith websites with the intention of adding it to the featured section of my locksmith directory.

With the inevitable death of paper advertising it is important to keep up to date with the latest gadgets and trends to keep our valuable websites one step above the competition.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:36 PM BST
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Friday, 6 September 2013
Stolen Locksmith Tools | locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Just a quick post to reprt some bad news.

A locksmith in Birmingham woke up to find his van torn open yesterday and a load of expensive locksmith tools have been stolen.

Keep your eyes peeled for cheap items for sale and any suspicious online listings etc, etc.

A lot of moneys worth of locksmith equipment has been taken with serious impact on someone's business.

Lets hope these crooks are identified quickly and punished accordingly.

Any information or leads should be reported immediately to West Midlands police.

Please take time to look at a colleagues new website:
Arvco Locksmiths Brierley Hill

Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:49 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 7 July 2014 8:26 AM BST
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Saturday, 10 August 2013
Lock Spotting | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Much to the dissappointment of my wife I began snapping this odd Euro cylinder/Safe lock whilst on holiday in St Lucia this month.

Strange designed half euro that has a 90 degree locking end to it instead of the usual cam.

Not really much more to say about it, i thought it was an oddity so thought id share it with ya.

 Just a cheapy 10 pin dimple lock that looked like it would pick open with any old bit of wire you could get in it.

Heres the pics:

 euro cylinder safe lock
euro cylinder safe lock and key
euro safe
euro cylinder safe housing
euro cylinder safe unlocked
euro cylinder safe locked position

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:37 AM BST
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Friday, 26 July 2013
TS007 Lock Standard | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

TS 007 security Standard - Cannock Locksmiths

Lately you may have noticed a few locks on your jobs that are stamped with stars alongside the BS Kitemark. Heres one i removed last week: Its an Era Thumbturn BS stamped with a single star.
So whats the crack?

TS007 1 star lock

This is part of the TS007 Standard developed by Secured by Design alongside the DHF (Door & Hardware federation) and GGF (Glass & Glazing Federation) whereby locks and door hardware are graded in terms of their protection against destructive attacks and unauthorised opening.

This standard is being adopted by a lot of home insurance companies that require main external doors to meet a minimum of a 3 star rating.

So how is a ts007 3 star rating achieved?

To achieve this a door needs a combination of star rated security products with a sum of three stars or more, ie:

- 1 star lock cylinder with 2 star handle
- 3 star cylinder with normal spec handle

I have compiled a short list of some examples of TS007 rated products but by no means all of them**

**Update: Since this was originally written most major manufacturers have followed suit and have a range of 1-3 star cylinders now available.

1 Star Products

ERA 1 Star Cylinders
Cisa Astral S Cylinders
Yale Kitemark Cylinders
Yale Anti-Snap Cylinders
Magnum aka Yale Superior Cylinders
Brisant BS Cylinders

2 Star Products

ERA 2 Star Handles
Yale Platinum Handles

3 Star Products

ERA Vectis Multipoint lock
Mul-T-Lock Break Secure 3* Cylinder
Avocet ABS Cylinders

Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:41 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2016 8:00 AM BST
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Thursday, 11 July 2013
Google Penalising Mobile Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
I have been watching the Google Map locations of locksmiths for the last couple of weeks after hearing a rumour that mobile locksmiths that work from a residential base will lose their Google Places listings.

Unless you own or work from a shopfront or have a non-residential location your time is ticking...

It seems Google have decided that this is the best way to deal with the problem of locksmiths spamming the maps listings with any old address across different locations and pretending to be local.

Having dabbled with such tactics myself in the past, I found it was always a losing battle and something Google were working hard to stamp out.

So in short, if you own a shopfront its happy days and you need not worry.
To all the work from home locksmiths like myself you can expect a phonecall sometime soon to verify your business location.

Now you can buy yourself some time by telling a few white lies but inevitably your places listing(s) will get removed eventually.

I would be interested to see if Google are enforcing the same ruling upon their sponsored locksmiths listings, particularly those from national advertisers... (I would be surprised).

Locksmith Dudley

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:55 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2016 8:02 AM BST
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Monday, 10 June 2013
Reasons to avoid | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

yell false locksmiths locations

I know there are a lot of locksmiths out there that have 'some' success with Yell aka Hibu, however I have recently noticed  that they are intentionally turning a blind eye to all sorts of fraudulant activity by national locksmith chains polluting the web with their false locations.

What brought it to my attention was a listing that appeared by Keytek, a national locksmith group that subs out the majority of its locksmith work to guys around the country.

It appeared they had set up a locksmith shop a few miles up the road from me and upon further investigation there was nothing to be found.

And it seems that im not the only one. I found this post on moneysaving expert about a similar fake listing on

I decided to take a look at some of the other listings (usually the priority paid ones) on and found that 90% were in fact false locations used to dupe the customer into believing they are using a local locksmith firm.

Speaking with some of my locksmith friends we had all noticed an increase in calls asking for a particular locksmith in the area that nobody had heard of as the work needed further attention or was not up to scratch. need to start taking some responsibility for the information they are publishing instead of giving the bad locksmiths a free for all. I am meeting customers every week that are being stood up, overcharged or seeking further work from locksmith companies that seem to vanish or stop answering the phone.

They were certainly quick enough to delete a duplicate listing of mine that was added a few years ago so there is no way that hundreds of false locations that are being paid for can be overlooked. It is simply a case of turning the blind eye.

Next time they start badgering you to advertise with them say NO and explain that until this undermining of local businesses comes to a stop then you will not be spending another penny!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:44 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2014 1:41 PM BST
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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
The Aubin Lock Trophy | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Today I was lucky enough to view Aubins infamous Lock Trophy on display at Bantock House in Wolverhampton.

This marvelous piece of engineering built by Charles Aubin was on display for one day only at the local museum on loan from its current owner Gunnebo Security Group.

Valued just shy of £250k the lock is kept in its own vault and transported in a security safe whenever it is shown.

The trophy is built of solid brass and comprises of 43 tiered locks, all but the base six governed by one master lock on top of the trophy; a Joseph Bramah radial lock with huge ornate key.

A breakdown of the individual locks and their associated makers and design can be found on the chubb archives Aubin Trophy page.

Here are a few pictures I managed to take of the lock, however I wasn't allowed as close as the local press were so the quality is as good as i could manage with my cheap camera in the dark room. I will link to their pictures as soon as they are available online.

Here is a video of the lock in operation:

Here is a better video taken from Express & Star, the local newspaper covering the event

Aubin trophy lock at bantock house

The Aubin Trophy Lock

Aubin trophy lock top tiers

aubin locks bottom tiers

Rick | Wolverhampton Locksmiths 

Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:40 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 5 February 2014 8:54 AM GMT
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Thursday, 30 May 2013
Black Country Living Museum | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Today I took a visit to the Black Country Living Museum in the West Midlands.

An enclosed miniature village set in 1900's West Midlands it not only offers a great insight into black country living but also a look at the industries that made the region famous.

Of particular interest to myself were the pieces taken from the Willenhall Lock Museum (now owned by the BCLM)

As well as being able to see old locks in situe (and in use) on all of the period buildings, there is also a small section dedicated to the local safe makers and more extravagent locks produced in the region.

Rather than waffle on i will just share some of the pictures (that turned out ok) I took whilst exploring the village.

For a larger version of the display cabinet picture with text click here

period rim locks old prison lock

west midlands safes Wooden Rim Lock

willenhall lock collection Old Customs padlock

lockerbie and wilson toilet lock Lockerbie and Wilson Tipton

Old Rim Lock Locksmiths safe

Brass padlocks 1900's Cast brass rimlock Willenhall

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:01 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 30 May 2013 3:07 PM BST
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Friday, 26 April 2013
Locksmith Secrets, Hints and Tips | Locksmith Blog

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. Locksmith Brierley Hill

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

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:00 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 1 October 2013 8:17 AM BST
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Sunday, 21 April 2013
1st Defence Locksmiths Leeds | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!
1st defence locksmiths based in Leeds

This months feature is dedicated to 1st defence owned and run by Ben Gatenby a regular poster on numerous locksmith forums and a good friend of mine.

Bens father Stuart has been in the locksmith game a while and naturally Ben followed the same path having a good knowledge of the locksmith trade and the skills required to make a success of his business where a lot of new start ups failed.

Like myself, Ben at 1st Defence Locksmiths is a keen SEO addict and serial lock blogger. His latest locksmith blog looks and reads fantastic and definitely worth a read!

Anti-snap locks are now commonplace up north and Ben is well stocked to upgrade his customers to Avocet ABS or the new Brisant Secure cylinders as well as providing all the usual security additions you would expect a good locksmith to offer.

1st Defence cover the entire Leeds area as well as Wakefield and Bradford and have a large list of regular commercial clients vouching for Bens excellent locksmith service.

leeds locksmith logo

You can contact ben at 1st Defence locksmiths, 24 hours a day on:
01132 038909

Posted by Rick the Pick at 5:13 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 March 2016 7:33 AM BST
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Friday, 15 March 2013
DE Solid Bodied Lock Cylinders | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing
No locksmith likes a destructive entry, however sometimes there is just no other options available.

Today I encountered a lockout at an apartment.

It was a decent setup of Arrone+ Cylinder and nightlatch that had phantomly popped into the deadlock position when slammed shut.

arrone plus lock cylinder

With no letterbox available I would normally 'mickey mouse' the cylinder from the door and use the snib removal method i discussed a few years ago.

However as you will probably know the Arrone+ is a solid bodied lock cylinder and attempting to take out the retaining screws in the usual fashion would'nt be a smart move and could get messy.

I decided that the best way to attack this lock would be to use a rod style snapping attack, taking a bit of a gamble that the retaining screws were the clippable type and not the solid thread version.

So i drilled a decent hole into the meat of the lock body making sure to miss all pins and any anti-drill protection the lock might have had .

drilled lock

Using a tight fitting hardened rod; ala screwdriver i rolled around the edges of the hole applying force in both clockwise and anticlockwise motion and eventually fractured the retaining screws which as i gambled on, had snip off points making them considerably weaker than a solid thread screw.

snapped lock cylinder

Cylinder out the way, i drilled for the snib button and released the deadlock in the usual manner.

If you do suspect that the lock cylinder is fitted with a solid type screw then i would advise drilling diagonally through the lock body as to hit the retaining screws just behind the cylinder and weaken them enough for this to work. Id recommend a 1/8" drill bit for this as to leave enough meat in the cylinder for the snapping attack.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:11 PM BST
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Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Inside A Floor Safe | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

Had to open and repair a faulty floor safe in Wednesbury yesterday and took a few photos for my own reference. They are worth a look if you ever have to replace a floor safe lock or make a repair to one.

Floor safe and key

This particular floor safe was locked shut with the key jammed inside.
After much pursuasion with a healthy dose of release spray i managed to free it up and get it opened.

The key had been over-turned inside the lock causing one of the fingers to bend inwards through the lever pack, the whole mechanism had an unhealthy rattle so i pulled it apart and gave it a good servicing.

inside a floor safe

floor safe internals

removing the four large allen bolts holding the back plastic cover releases the sandwich of steel plates which the lock body sits on.

About 1/2lb of dust and shite errupted from the case at this point which was probably why the lock had become so stiff.

Beneath the lock body sits a central pin that engages the centre of the clutch and allows the thumbturn to activate.

If the lock were to be forcibly detached, this pin would fall loose preventing the thumbturn from working.

floor safe lock

The bolt stump has two roll pins attached which link the lock body to the release mechanism of the safes lid.

Two spring loaded plungers block the main bolts from retracting via the thumbturn.

When the key is turned 350 degrees the bolt is thrown and the plungers fully compressed out of the way.

bolts in locked position

bolts unlocked position

Its a pretty solid design and would make drilling tricky considering being mounted a good 6-8 inches below the floor. You would have to be spot on with your accuracy.

Now that i have seen the internals I would avoid drilling at all costs and definately choose the NDE approach since the lock was a relatively simple 7 lever.

Quick Tip

This will save you half an hours head scratching if you have never rebuilt one of these!

When re-assembling do not think of the lock in the usual sense.

Seems silly but REMEMBER:

When the lever lock bolt is fully withdrawn; the lids locking mechanism need to be set up in the locked position. (ie side bolts out)

If you do not set it up in this way upon re-assembly you wil find the keyholes out of line and it takes a little head scratching to work out why.

We are so used to seeing bolt out= locked, however in this case it is the opposite.

Inside a Floor Safe | Locksmith Wednesbury | Opening a Floor Safe

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:03 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 January 2014 2:35 PM GMT
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Thursday, 24 January 2013
Sidewinder Thumbturn Opener | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

I recently received a new tool to play with designed by a locksmith named Simon Barber of Outside-In Lock Tools.

The 'Sidewinder' had been in the pipeline for some time and had been tested amongst locksmiths at local meets held by Jay at Island locks.

sidwwinder tool

I watched its development on the online forum and saw feedback from the prototypes that were eventually tested out in the real locksmithing world.

The feedback was outstanding and it appeared that Si was on to a winner with his Sidewinder tool.

Certain aspects were refined and the final product was ready to be sold, snapped up instantly by all the locksmiths that had seen it.

Needless to say i was keen to test mine when it arrived this morning and nipped around a friends to test on his door (much appreciated).

The Sidewinder is a neat addition to the existing Souber letterbox tool. and is manufactured to fit perfectly with the same push together fixings.

So how does this locksmith tool actually work?

Set your letterbox tool up to the same specifications as if you were pulling the handle and use the Sidewinder fitting at the end.

letterbox thumbturn tool

Feel for the thumbturn of the lock and position the grippers over the end, you may need to feel the grippers gently over the turn then a good pull over the end will secure the grip.

The force you apply when turning the handle piece is directly  transferred through the cable to the lock thumbturn. It may wind up slightly before building up enough to throw the turn.

Now if like me you jump in without much thought you may want to remember to turn the correct way. (Turn as if you are locking on your side of the door). Take a step back and think about it...

Click, door open!

unlocking door with sidewinder

The Sidewinder is not limited to just thumbturns, it can be used on lever lock keys left inside, internal deadbolts and rounded nightlatch handles, basically anything that needs to be turned that you can get a decent grip on.

Mike at PSS locksmiths in Huddersfield recently unlocked a door with a huge bunch of keys in the back. A small child had locked his dad out whilst emptying the bins!

It is surely a great improvement over existing thumbturn tools that require winding reels of wire!

Im sure there are many yet undiscovered uses for this tool that we will no doubtedly hear about in the future.

Definately a tool to keep aboard the van and one i'd recommend to buy! It is now available through duffells on the link below.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:42 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2013 8:52 AM GMT
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Monday, 21 January 2013
Amusing Locksmith Stories | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

Ricks Locksmith blog:

Before i begin writing my intended post i would first like to WARN all the CONTENT THIEVES stealing pictures and articles from my locksmith blog that I have now started reporting it to Google who will bum your site accordingly.

If you are reading this on any other locksmith site other than  then it is being used without my consent and you are probably looking at the site of a rogue locksmith or national company employing a poor webmaster.

Try writing your own content you lazy feckers!


So back to my original post:

It goes without saying that being a professional locksmith brings you into contact with all walks of life. A few years working as a locksmith and you will pretty much see it all, whether you want to or not, right down through the utterly grusome, the absolutely hilarious and the down right awkward.

So I thought i would share with you some of the most memorable locksmith stories that i have heard over the last few years as well as a few tales of my own.

The Sleepwalker

Firstly an unbelievable scenario that I encountered in my very first year of locksmithing:

I was called out late one night by a neighbour on behalf of one of the residents that had become locked out of his apartment block.

I pulled up outside the block in my van and had a quick look around for the customer. At first glance nobody was around and got out of my van to take a closer look.

I heard "Pssst" from behind a bush and a head popped up followed by the rest of the mans naked body. Luckily he was wearing his best tight fitting Y front pants but looking rather cold. I bit my lip and listened to his tale of woe.

As a professional locksmith you learn to bite your lip and resist any kind of laughter while listening to the explanation.

Now the story goes that this guy had been travelling from holiday and was pretty shot, gone straight to bed and next thing woken up outside on the grass with no clothes. Lucky for him a neighbour spotted him and called a locksmith before he caught hypothermia.

Turns out the fellow was a serial sleepwalker and had decided to take a stroll mid dream shutting both his and the communual door on the way out.

A couple latches slipped and back in the warmth of his apartment, although i had to take a load of Euro's as payment.

The Horse

This is one of my favourite locksmith stories purely because its bizzarre!

My father in law works as an emergency locksmith for a local housing group and one day was called out to a lock out on one of the floors of some local high rise flats.

Whilst working on picking the lock for the tenant he spots a neighbours door opening down the hallway and man comes strolling out...

...followed by his pet horse on a rope.
Obviously a few refresher glances were taken at this point to make sure he wasn't losing his marbles, however the neighbour then explains that this particular guy likes to take his horse out for a walk about this time of day.

I would imagine the only way this locksmith story could have been any more bizzarre was to have discovered the beast whilst waiting for the lift door to open.

Ultimate Lock in

Again, another story from my earlier locksmithing days and one of my first eviction jobs.

I was called to attend with the bailiff upon reposession of a local house in the area. Once everyone had arrived and the courts had phoned through to give the go ahead I proceeded to gain entry and a few minutes later the door was open and I let them in to go and do their thing.

The house appeared to be abandoned anyway and was in a state so the sitex crew got to work and started unloading the steel shutters to board the house up.

At this point i got my paperwork signed and set off with the rest of my locksmiths jobs for that day.

Later that evening i got a call from the firm responsible for the operation and was asked "Why didn't you check the house!".
Completely puzzled by what i had been asked it was then explained that the Sitex team had in fact secured the house and left leaving the tennant trapped inside!

Now firstly its not the job of a locksmith to go checking these things thats what the bailiff should have been doing. I dont enjoy trapesing through other peoples shiteholes and mess and rarely set foot in these places.

Secondly, How on earth did they not see someone in the house!? My only explanation is that they must have been hiding for whatever reason... but in my opinion the bailiff should be sacked! Dropped a real bollock there to say the least and luckily the tennant had a phone handy.


And i think thats enough amusing locksmith stories for one post but will definitely be sharing a few more later on as they are being told thick and fast, its hard to remember them all. Maybe next time I will focus on some of the more grusome and disgusting locksmith tales!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:49 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:16 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Pennine Security Solutions | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!

Pennine Security Solutions - Locksmith Services

locksmith based in sheffield

Welcome to the sections first Featured locksmith company.

As a relatively new locksmith, Mike Kitchen of Pennine Security Solutions -Locksmiths Sheffield has worked incredibly hard to get his locksmith business up and running as quickly as possible.

In this economy it is extremely difficult to establish a business furthermore in a saturated industry such as locksmithing where every man and his dog are dabbling at lock changes and upvc door work.

Pennine Security Solutions specialise in uPVC and double glazed door locks which now account for the majority of locksmith work in the Sheffield area since the boom in double glazing and the increased security these doors offer.

As well as repairing uPVC door locks and mechanisms Mike is also stocking a large range of cylinders to upgrade the doors security further in the form of Avocet ABS lock cylinders that incorporate magnetic pin technology and anti-snap features.

Pennine Security Solutions cover the majority of the West and South Yorkshire areas particularly Sheffield, Huddersfield and Barnsley where the majority of their larger business and commercial locksmith customers are located.

Mike is the only locksmith working for PSS in Sheffield and when calling you will speak direct to him and book directly for any locksmith work required. There are no call centres or receptionists here, you are speaking directly with a knowledgable and experienced locksmith!

Based in Penistone, Sheffield, PSS Locksmiths can respond and be on site in the Sheffield area within 30 minutes in most cases and stocks the majority of locks and door hardware to complete the job on site without the need for a return visit.

I have been working with Mike at Pennine Security Solutions to optimise his website and build his brand and am pleased to report that he is a knowledgable and honest individual that i would not hesitate to recommend.

Need a locksmith in Sheffield? Call PSS Locksmiths today for the best locksmith service at the most reasonable price!


Mike: 01142 135134

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:55 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:17 PM GMT
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Sunday, 13 January 2013
Common Security Risk | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

Are you one of those people that always leaves a key inside the lock on a upvc door?

Well you may be surprised when i tell you that on this weeks locksmith jobs i have opened three doors through the letterbox and two doors (unusually) through the cat flap cut in the bottom panel of the back doors.

Where keys were left on the inside of the doors i have managed to turn and unlock the door with the key using various poking instruments, a technique that could be used by any crook that fancies his chances, no special locksmith tools required, any old stick would do the trick!


Firstly, Don't leave a key in, or in fact anywhere near the door. Ever heard of key fishing crimes?

Secondly, if you have to leave a key in make sure you have a letterbox guard or similar fitted, particularly letterboxes situated close to the lock. A small child may even be able to put their hand through the ltterbox and turn it from outside!

As for catflaps, some form of internal lock should be fitted to prevent a crook getting his arm inside. Sash jammers or upvc deadbolts would be a good addition.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:28 AM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2013 11:11 AM GMT
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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 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.


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 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.


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 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


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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