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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Thursday, 23 January 2014
Day In The Life | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

Day in the life of a UK locksmith

Reading back through my blog I haven't posted about any locksmith jobs for a while. I have written you an insight into one of the more interesting days worth of locksmith work.

1/ uPVC Mechanism Repair

So first job of the day was one I had been out to the previous day and ordered a new Yale multipoint lock since the existing one was having sticky latch issues.

The internal latch section was so worn it had begun catching on the faceplate and not retracting fully after use. As you may or may not know unless the latch is allowed to fully retract you will not be able to fully turn the key, the same as a hook that meets an obstruction in the keeps and does not fully extend.

Easy replacement of the centre case and a few adjustments to the top hinge of the door resulted in a fully functioning uPVC door lock. Had to do the usual explanation to the customer how to use their own door, it always surprises me how many people can't understand that the handle and key do not need to be operated together whilst slamming the door....

2/ Locked Classroom Door

Had a call come in from a local school that could no longer open one of their doors and the master key had snapped off inside.

I arrived to find an ancient horizontal mortice sashlock so was hoping I wouldn't need to order an expensive replacement. I was presented with another master key and carefully turned back and forth. The bolt felt solid to unlock so I turned backwards in the locked position popping the bolt back out slightly. The lock then opened fine.

I removed the Sashlock and opened her up to find a lever spring had snapped off inside. I removed the lever from the pack and replaced the lever spring with one from an old 110 detainer lever, which was a similar length and crimped it in place then put the lock back together.

3/ Dodgy Euro Sashlock

Had to open a euro sashlock with an internal thumbturn that would no longer unlock. Usually this happens when the bolt falls into a half open/closed position so the cam on the euro just hits the flat bottom of the bolt.

I tried for a few minutes to bump the bolt into a better position using a rubber mallet but it was a pretty tight and I eventually snapped out the euro to make access to the lock case. It opened easily using a screwdriver blade to pull the bolt open, Now I was expecting a broken lever spring inside which is the usual cause however the internals were all in tact.

I fit a new euro lock which worked fine inside the lock case and upon testing with the door closed felt the bolt bottom out and would not lock.
Upon closer inspection of the keep there was very little wood taken out by whoever fit it. A little swelling in the damp wood meant the bolt wasn't fully throwing. Chopped a little more out with a sharp chisel and job sorted.

4/ Up And Over Garage Door

I was called out to open an up and over garage door who's cable had fallen off the back so would no longer unlock with the handle.

Usually these are a doddle and you can just flick the shootbolt in with a screwdriver or pry bar, however this garage had a nice wooden facia rendered in neatly with the brickwork obstructing the usual gap.

After fifteen minutes or so of digging away with bent wires I figured I wasn't going to be able to do it without physically seeing the shootbolt.
I used my mica to locate its exact position and drilled a small hole in the facia. Using another modified wire I now had access directly to the bolt and nudged it down out the way.

With plenty of spare cable swinging on the back of the door I repaired it and made sure it was all bolted back tightly this time.

5/ Sashlock Not Unocking

Final job of the day was a sashlock that was not unlocking but spinning 360.
Nice easy one to round off the day, its always a bonus when theres a key to work with.

I inserted the key and turned to the upright position so that all levers were in line to open and used  small screwdriver in the door gap to inch the bolt inwards and unlock. This is a common fault with the Era Fortress locks and I replaced the broken curtain wheel for a new one to make good.

Thanks to: Locksmith Cannock | Locksmith Enfield

 locksmith van and new lock


Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:36 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 January 2015 7:00 AM GMT
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Thursday, 9 January 2014
Island Locks Training Course | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!

 

Island Locks Logo

 

This month I have decided to feature a locksmith training course based in Middlesex, Island Locks.


It goes without saying that you have probably already heard the name Jay Dorner on various locksmith forums or via his immensely popular Youtube channel featuring lock picking demonstrations and techniques that are taught on his locksmith training course.

I have been a member of his purpose built locksmith forum at http://www.islandlocksforum for a few years now. It was initially built to support his trainee's whilst they establish their own business, however this forum attracted a lot of attention due to its loyal following and incredibly useful resources. It is well worth joining if you haven't already found it.
What is most striking on this locksmith training forum is the lack of prejudice against newcomers and the willingness of more knowledgeable locksmiths to share information and offer advice.

As for the quality of Island locks training course, the testimonials speak for themselves. Jay has clearly played an immense part not only in providing sufficient locksmith training but also ensuring his trainees set off on the right foot and build a successful business.

lock picking course

There are so many locksmith training companies out there that will churn out new 'locksmiths' at an alarming rate offering no further support or help once the course is over with, most of which fail within the first six months of setup.

It is clear from being a member of Island Locks Forum that the success rate is considerably higher than even some of the most reputable locksmith organisations advertised online. With Island Locks there are no subscription fees or memberships to ensure you remain in 'the circle' and to make a bit more profit. Its forum is completely free to anyone wishing to look into joining the locksmith profession seeking a little more information and advice before investing and money.

In my opinion ,and in fact many other peoples opinions, this is currently the best locksmith training course in the UK with the friendliest gang of followers on the internet.

Rick

You can contact Jay at Island Locks directly at:

Mob: 07960 231418      Email: info@islandlocks.co.uk

locksmith training school

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:51 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:07 PM GMT
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Thursday, 2 January 2014
Locksmiths Quiz | Locksmith Blog

Firstly, Happy New Year.

I hope you didn't get called out too much this Christmas and managed to sneak a few drinks in.

I have been sorting my locksmith van out this morning removing all the old bits of tat lying around and removing the scrap brass from my old locks.
Thought I would have a bit of fun with it and took some pictures of the old locks that have been thrown out to make a little locksmith quiz for you.

There are ten questions based around the images in this picture which you will want to open alongside the quiz for reference.

Winner is determined by speed and accuracy of the answers so good luck and no cheating :-)

No prizes unless you fancy winning  a bag of old escutcheons and euro screws, something I seem to have an abundance of.

1/ Open the image linked above.

2/ Start the Quiz here

Enjoy.

____

 

Congratulations to Gavin of Sir Locksalot Locksmiths in Middlesbrough for answering all ten correctly in the quickest time.

I will post out your bag of scrap lock parts LOL


Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:53 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:10 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Budget Snap Resistant Locks | locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

It's the last month of the year and a few weeks before the Xmas holiday period so I have been stocking up on my euro cylinder locks to ensure im carrying a good range of sizes and finished whilst the main suppliers are closed.

box of locks

Nothing worse that not having the correct sized lock and having to go to B&Q as a last resort. So my euro cylinder cases are full to the brim and should see me through the next few weeks when work tends to pick up.

Both of my local suppliers have begun to stock a budget range of snap resistant cylinder so I thought I would try them out and let you know my thoughts on these two cheap as chips brands.

-----

NEO cylinder lock

The first is a brand imported by Morgan Locks in Walsall called NEO.

These cylinders have a milled cut after the first two pins and a pair of antidrill pins in the front of the cylinder.

I am not convinced that the milled cuts are quite deep enough to make this an effective anti-snap measure but providing the cylinder is not protruding too far it will work.

Four pinstacks remain in tact after snapping which should be enough to keep a common burglar out although anti-drill pins are removed with the sacrificial front section. A locksmith should quickly NDE these without any issues.

Price wise, NEO locks are very cheap and in my opinion a good lock to stock as your most basic snapsafe lock.

 -----

schlosser cylinder lock

The second range of budget lock I picked up was the Schlosser Technik cylinder supplied by Security hardware.

The snap resistant properties of this lock are a little better with three anti-drill pins and a more delicate snap resistant section that will break off easilly when forced.

The lock however does not feel particularly robust and feels very sloppy straight out of the box with the key sticking a little on turning. I know James at JS Locksmiths Manchester has had a few bad ones out of the box.

These are a very similar feel to the old ICL cylinders that used to be sold.

My other main concern with this lock is the quality of the finish, particularly on the brass cylinders. They appear to be made of a very poor brass/metal alloy that weathers very quickly.

This one has only been out of the box a few weeks and is already pock marked and dirty looking.

Again a very easy pick for a locksmith and all anti-drill properties are removed upon snapping off the front section which leaves only three pinstacks in tact.

Schlosser cylinders are reasonably cheap although a bit more expensive than the NEO.

-----

On conclusion I do not think I will be ordering many of the Schlossers due to the poor finish and feel of the locks which could have me recalled to replace them in the future.

The NEO's aren't a bad lock for the money and look and feel decent enough for em to use although are no substitute for a medium - high end snap resistant cylinder such as Brisant or Yale.

Rick


Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:26 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:11 PM GMT
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Sunday, 24 November 2013
SEO For Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!

As my regular readers of the Locksmith Blog and other locksmith associates know I have been dabbling with SEO for some time know and have had great success with both my own sites and for other locksmiths.

I have decided it is now time to take this to the next level since I am confident I can compete well against most rival locksmith chains notoriously taking over the google listings.

SEO is something that a lot of locksmiths have neither time for or limited understanding of.

I can offer complete site build + monthly locksmith SEO for a fraction of what is charged by local seo companies and ensure your business is seen online!

I will building a page explaining my fees and what is included in the package in the next few days.

UPDATE:

The new website is now live. https://midlandlocks.angelfire.com/seo

locksmith seo image

Locksmith Wednesfield | Locksmith Blog | Rick the Pick


Posted by Rick the Pick at 4:13 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 January 2015 7:02 AM GMT
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Thursday, 14 November 2013
Cyberlock - New Generation | Locksmith Blog

As some of my followers know iv always had a particular interest in the Videx Cyberlock and have acquired a few sample locks to experiment on in the past.

So a few weeks ago I got a call from a company asking if i could attend and help open a few at one of their sites. Of course I jumped at the chance to attempt an opening 'in the wild' so to speak.

In preparation I dug out my old Cyberlocks and gave myself a refresher course on the internals and experimented with a few methods to drill them open.

The old magnet opening trick wasn't going to be much good against the new generation Cyberlocks that have replaced the second brass pin that plugged the back of the solenoid with a free floating steel one.


 cyberlock front plug portion

The two methods that seemed to work well on the sample locks were destructive but effective.

The first was simply a brute force attack to sheer the front half of the plug apart and then pull from the lock body to bend the circlip that holds the two plug portions together.

The brutal nature of this attack ruled it out as an option since the locks were going to be mounted in some expensive devices that needed to remain unscathed.

breaking open a cyberlock























The second idea was to drill directly into the face of the plug and open up the solenoid chamber to extract the blocking element.

Drilling bang on the earthing point of the cyberlock took out the rivet and removed the shaped section of the keyway which also happens to be spot on in line with the solenoid chamber.

Further drilling into the plug face with a 1/8" drill bit exposed the pin and allowed me to suck it out with the magnet.

drilling open high security locksdrilled lock

So armed with a couple of methods to open the locks I was happy and confident as I arrived on site.

Things did not pan out well to begin with as I soon realised these Cyberlocks had evolved considerably since my sample locks had been made, discovering ball bearings pressed into the face of the plug to prevent drilling of the sweet spot and serious anti-snap and drill protection added to the main body of the locks, including an uprated circlip to prevent even the most brutal pulling/sheering attack.

However after much head scratching and sweating they were defeated!

But you will have to wait for the rest of the blog post when I have a little more time to continue.

videx cyberlock new generation

Rick | Locksmith in Cannock


Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:45 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 14 November 2013 2:57 PM GMT
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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 Yell.com/Hibu | 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 yell.com

I decided to take a look at some of the other listings (usually the priority paid ones) on yell.com 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.

Yell.com 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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDhMMGCI4Zo

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2z_u_jJG3g



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.

http://www.duffells.com/products/outside-in-sidewinder-letter-box-tool-letterbox-tool-attachment-29032.aspx


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: https://midlandlocks.angelfire.com/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  https://midlandlocks.angelfire.com/blog  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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