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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
The Future Of Home Security | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Home security has come a long way in the past decade, homes are more secure than ever as lock designs have become more complex to protect against picking or lock snapping, more windows are double glazed and more people have burglar alarms and high quality CCTV systems.

The majority of these changes have given rise to more opportunities for locksmiths to make money, eg: fitting more advanced security systems such as alarms, CCTV and installing and repairing intercom systems have become a staple for many locksmiths in London.  These advances in technology have helped us locksmiths in the past, however it is now time to look to the future and what opportunities or challenges these may bring.

Modern and future home security seems to be heavily influenced by advances in a piece of technology called The Internet Of Things. Now for those who don’t know, the internet of things is  a network of devices such as sensors, cameras, locks, etc which are embedded with electronic software that enables them to collect data then take certain preprogramed actions.  Future home security will become much more complex and may require a completely different set of skills, on the other hand some of these systems are designed to be simple to install/manage which may mean less complex security installation or repair jobs for us.

Now let’s just take a quick look at the most modern security systems on the market as this will give us a better understanding of how things at least look to develop in the future

Modern home security systems such as the ones offered by a company called Custom Controls not only focus on home security but also on home automation known as the smart home.  For example some systems can integrate almost any piece of electrical software such as heating systems, air con, garden irrigation this can also include electric locks, CCTV, alarms which are increasing in popularity and they also include perimeter security such as infrared detection beams, vibration and sound detectors. Now of course at the moment these systems are extremely expensive and only wealthy individuals can afford them.

Like most new technology though, such systems will become much more affordable with time and more wide spread. Some of these new systems have been designed to be easy to set up and will require no or very little industrial insight while some of these systems are much more complex and will undoubtedly be installed by the supplier themselves. Now another potential problem I can see is that these systems will require maintenance, this will also include electric locks and theses contracts will more than likely go to the suppliers which are often multi million pound security companies, which may take jobs away from us locksmiths.

The way I see it is that locksmiths are not going anywhere anytime soon, people will still need their doors unlocked and their locks repaired or replaced and keys cut. However the rise of home and security integration does pose a threat as these new security systems will undoubtedly be installed by huge security companies. However that does not mean that we can’t at least try to muscle in on the installation and maintenance of such systems especially as these systems become so wide spread and generic.

this will require a slightly different skill set but I believe for the ambitious locksmiths of the future understanding home security integration as well the Smart Home may become very profitable.



 locks stockeddigital lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:01 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:03 AM BST
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Thursday, 4 August 2016
PLDUK Advertising Scam | Locksmith Blog
"Hi, my name is John Smith from West Midlands Police, Don't worry you haven't done anything wrong. I'm calling about the rogue traders campaign...."

Yes this post is about the scammers at PLDUK that call you up pretending to be the police and offer you a placement in their fictional publication.
They're not the first, they won't be the last and if like me you were a naive young locksmith you have probably fallen foul of similar scams in your first year trading.

I have been trading as a local locksmith long enough now to have heard them all so I have no problem just ending the call straight away or leading them on a merry dance for a few munites if I'm feeling cheeky.
The problem is when work is thin on the ground or as a new start up there is always the chance of getting roped into these scams, particularly those that sound like a genuine organisation such as PLDUKs police inpersonation.

I always give new guys one piece of advice:
If the company is cold calling you then it's 99% likely it's a scam or other worthless sales call, I mean always give them a few seconds, you never know....

Common lines are:
"Hi my name is John Smith, I'd like to introduce our company bla bla bla..."
"Could you take on more work in your area? We have 12345 calls a day in your (tiny) suburb and need someone to pass this locksmith work on to..."
"Hi, we noticed we could not find your website ranking well on Google...."

What annoys me most about PLDUK is that their intention is to scare you into thinking they are exposing rogue traders in their magazine and the implication is there that if you don't pay up it could be your locksmith firm. I am pretty sure it's bordering on fraud by impersonating the police in this manner so if they keep pestering you it might be worthwhile dropping a complaint to trading standards or your local police.

Anyone looking to invest their money in advertising should ideally be looking for recommendations from other good locksmiths and using proven methods rather than wasting money with the cold calling firms. Be vigilant and do not be roped in by these scammers. Happy Locksmithing.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:46 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:04 AM BST
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Thursday, 7 July 2016
Testing Anti Snap Locks | Locksmith Blog
As any good locksmith should, I am constantly experimenting, testing and destroying all manner of locks to see how they work, if they work and which ones I can rely on myself.

Today I grabbed myself a selection of anti-snap locks from my scrap brass box to see which was the best anti-snap lock. All were tested using a simple pair of grips on the outermost section of the lock, no more than 10mm to simulate a snapping attack.

The locks are all budget locks to mid range up to a one star rating so should provide some protection against a lock snapping attack. Bare in mind that it is recommended to install one star anti snap locks alongside a two star handle set, however it's not a combination I regularly encounter myself.

snapped lock cylinders

The pictures are self explanatory. Nearly all the locks I tested snapped in the usual sweetspot and not at the sacrificial cut with steady horizontal pressure applied in either direction.

The addition of a strengthened central section makes a lot of difference. The Magnum cylinder was indeed tougher to snap but still failed eventually, the grade of hardened steel used was still brittle against a snapping attack.

The ISEO cylinder had the addition of a steel staple like join between the two halves which made it difficult to fully separate them. This may cause some confusion in a lock snapping burglary but wouldn't prevent the unlocking of the door, again fully snapping with a little more work.

Another one star lock cylinder which I won't name didn't even have a sacrifical cut through the plug, only in the euro body so was no more difficult than a regular lock cylinder. Whether this one snook through quality control or they're all like this is anyones guess.

snapped lockYale anti snap lock

Top of the pile and an anti-snap challenge winner for today is the Yale anti-snap cylinder kindly donated by another locksmith in both one and three star form the Yale snap safe lock cylinder is tremendously tough against a lock snapping attack and clearly has been designed carefully to meet all requirements. The sacrificial section snaps off easily and the remaining portion is secured by a seriously strong piece of hardened steel, which is not treated to the extent that is too brittle like the reinforcement of the Magnum cylinder.

A further attack on the remaining section of the Yale cylinder failed. I even managed to break the grips. Nuff said.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:30 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:04 AM BST
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Invoice Work, Tricks and scams | Locksmith Blog

As most estabished locksmiths know there are always maintenance firms and agents looking to play middleman and make a profit by subbing the work out to you. The problem is a lot of these middlemen maintenance companies are really poor payers or complete non payers, so we need to weigh up the risk vs reward before accepting locksmith work from these sources.

Scams that I have fallen foul of in the past include a property management company that got me to send the invoices to it's liquidated former self, another firm in serious debt looking to get a load of work done across it's properties before announcing bankruptcy, and the firms that just try and deny all knowledge of the work.

When these type of firms call looking to book your locksmith service you need to be asking yourself a few questions:

-Have you or any of your other locksmith associates ever heard of them?
It's easy to nip onto an online forum now and to ask other locksmiths if they have heard of or had dealings with the firm.

-Are they based locally at a physical address?
If a firm is based locally it's easy to drop by and chase the debt in person should the invoice go unpaid.  They are more likely to pay up than risk repeated confrontations.

-Are you dealing with a domestic or commercial client of theirs?
You are less liekly to be messed around on commercial locksmith work as this is normally repeat business. It will not look good for them if you start chasing the customer directly for payment/threatening removal of goods.

Always enquire about payment terms before accepting sub contracted work and if it doesn't suit you then it is better to pass than to be left out of pocket and chasing a debt. I usually state to new and unknown firms that I require immediate payment before proceeding. Once you have built up trust you can extend your terms some.

Don't be roped in just because you're having a quiet period. I'd rather be without the work than risk being left out of pocket and chasing my money. Do not make the mistake of undertaking weeks of work before seeing a payment on promise of 'more work' or 'we'll only use you'.

Trust your gut feeling! It's rarely wrong.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:17 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 27 April 2022 12:14 PM BST
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Bullying Within The Profession | Locksmith Blog

From day one of venturing into the locksmith world I learned that in no other community do tradesmen hate on one another like locksmiths do. The locksmith community is full of those that think or in some cases truly believe they are holier than the rest of the community.

Which leads me into my first blog post of the month and my first rant in quite some time. I do love a good moan.

I want all the new start ups and inexperienced locksmiths reading this now to pay attention to my next statement:

Every single trading locksmith will make a complete f**k up of a job(s) at some point in their career.


I just wanted to put that out there straight away. All the locksmiths you see on the forums claiming 100% NDE, never drilled a lock, never ran away tail between leg, master of all master locksmith types, they have all made a pigs ear somewhere down the line. You just won't hear about it.

I have read a few posts on locksmith forums and groups lately naming and shaming (albeit in a private group) new locksmiths who through poor judgment or inexperience have messed up. I won't lie it does piss me off, not becuase they are reporting poor workmanship but because of the reasons I believe they do it. It's almost as if slating someone elses work makes them feel a better locksmith for it. Just like your schoolyard bully.

Within the first year of trading as a locksmith I had fixed several jobs by more experienced locksmiths so I know first hand that it definitely happens. I quickly learned that the locksmith world is rife with bullshitters and the majority of the time it's all about scaremongering and protecting their bubble.

Have I ever screwed up a job? Yes on several occasions! The only saving grace when things go pear shaped is that you hang in there and rectify the issue, get someone else to help you out or re-imburse for your cock up.

My parting words of advice for anyone thinking of throwing in the towel, feeling pushed out or not up to the job is firstly take everything you read/hear with a pinch of salt, there is a lot of bullshit, oneupmanship and hating going on and until you're experienced enough and take a step back it's hard to see it. Secondly, don't become involved in it, it's easy to think this is normal behaviour. It's not, concentrate on developing your own skills and knowledge along with your own techniques.

If in doubt phone a friend, ask your trainer, you can even phone me if you like. Happy locksmithing.

screw jamming a locklatch reversal on fercobroken milenco lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:19 AM BST
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Tuesday, 26 April 2016
iZettle Card Reader | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

I have been testing a new card reader this month, the iZettle System.
I'm a little bit oldchool really, payments by cash, invoice or cheque but having the card reader as another option helps out in certain scenarios.

For example I recently had to let a group of drunk guys back into their apartment. Nice easy locksmith job but then came the confusion about paying, didn't have enough cash between them, couldn't find the chequebook, etc. I really didn't want to drive one of them to the cashpoint for fear of being vommited on so I opted to test run the card reader.

I opted for the iZettle card reader as it is free to order, you just pay a percentage of the charge per transaction, effectively a pay as you go system which is exactly what I wanted. Most systems require a subscription or upfront purchase fee for their readers.

The iZettle card is easy to set up; create an online account, register and verify your bank details, download the free app for your iphone and you are ready to go. The app allows you to pre create items in a basket if you offer a range of services at different prices, however I use a simple template and just input my own price depending on the job.

It is as simple as following the on screen instructions, inserting the card, inputting a pin number and then email or text the receipt to the card holder.

Monies are held in your account 'processing' for approx three working days before they are released into your nominated bank account, less their transaction fee. I actually add this percentage to my final bill so that the customer is paying for the card usage anyay. The iZettle app has features to check your existing transactions, money credited and a refund option should you require it.

It's been handy to have on a few of my locksmith jobs now and I am warming to the idea now that I fully trust the technology. The only downside to the free iZettle system is that you cannot take phone payments in advance of work. The card must be present to complete a transaction. 

izettle readerizettle appizettle transactions



Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:08 AM BST
Updated: Saturday, 30 April 2016 2:32 PM BST
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Millenco Replacement Cams | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews
Most locksmiths that deal with uPVC door lock repairs will know that one of the most common uPVC door lock failures is the shattering of the old cast Millenco cams, generally the top follower through continual forcing of the handles. The result is a handle that now spins 360 degrees.

Over the year these have been repaired by swapping the redundant gear with the broken one, anyone that's anyone knows how to do this. I blogged about this a few years ago:
The problem now is that once this 'spare' gear breaks we find a mechanism with no useable parts and is a replacement jobby.

They are not the cheapest mechanisms so when someone finally started remanufacturing the gears for the Millenco multi point locks I was eager to get my hands on some - Window Parts Millenco Cams.

Windowparts have had the cams remanufactured to the same spec as the originals and appear to be stronger too. At £10 a pop it is a cheaper alternative to the full Millenco mechanisms which are pricey from some suppliers. Definitely worth grabbing yourself a handful to get you out of a pickle and give the customer a cheaper alternative solution to their broken uPVC door lock.

millenco lock parts

Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:12 PM BST
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Monday, 4 April 2016
Stolen Locksmith Tools | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have just seen a post on Facebook that shows another victim of auto locksmith tool theft. The usual tin opener attack on the body of the van to gain access. A real shame when someones business and income is affected.

Keep your eyes and ears open for cheap or suspicious sales of auto locksmith tools and if you have any suspicions give Surrey police or the chap a call on 07801768920.

Good luck fella.


van broken in tovan break in


Posted by Rick the Pick at 6:53 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 4 April 2016 6:53 PM BST
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Tuesday, 22 March 2016
National Locksmiths. Are We Winning? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As every genuine local locksmith firm knows, the battle against the national locksmith franchises is a real concern, we simply cannot compete with their massive advertising budgets that allow them to bend the rules that govern the rest of us self employed small firms.

Over the past years you have listened to me harping on about what we can do to counter these tactics. Most locksmith groups and forums have some sort of anti-national campaign on the go and everyone seems to be doing their bit to spread awareness of these scammers.

The big question is; Is our collective might greater than that of these huge locksmith firms?

Well I really think the tables have turned in our favour.

I have been asking every single customer I work for, where they found my number, why they chose my locksmith service over any other, etc. An overwhelming proportion are stating "I liked that you were really local", "I liked your article on national locksmiths", "I did not trust the other companies I rang".... it seems being upfront and informative on our websites really does work.

You know I am a big fan/hater of and I'm always keeping a close eye on them. They seem to be working overtime lately trying to create leads for their biggest customer, any UK locksmith will know who that is! All review widgets on the website have been removed from this national locksmith firms advertisements because the negative feedback would cripple them, that's not in Yells best interest. hiding negative reviews.


More worryingly is that Yell are now editing stagnant places pages they manage and turning them into locksmith listings that redirect to their locksmith pages. Guess which company sits at the top of all those pages... This is totally against all Googles guidelines and is a pretty risky move on Yells part which could see their privellages removed. Everytime you spot one of these suspicious listings with a link to be sure to report it using the feedback button at the bottom of the search page!
This desperate attempt to generate calls leads me to believe things aren't going too well.

I have heard numerous stories over the past few months about national locksmith firms telling potential customers that the genuine local locksmith firms are 'rogue traders' if they can work so cheaply and we are not to be trusted. Myself and many other lockmiths I know have experienced this, luckily the customers are smart enough to work out who the real rogues are after a brief chat. 

I really think the combined effort of the small local locksmith firms is starting to impact these greedy national locksmiths and we must continue to educate everyone searching for locksmiths and every customer we meet.

Make sure your website explains that you are a genuine local firm and not part of any national franchise or call center, urge them to obtain as many quotes as possible and to ask all the right questions.

It doesn't have to stop there, there are so many ways in which you can prevent a national firm from duping another customer. If you cannot do a job, pass it to another genuine local locksmith that can, there are plenty of online forums and groups that allow us to refer jobs if you do not physically know another locksmith. Your honesty and helpfulness will be remembered.

Do not sub for these companies. Helping them get a foot in the door in your area is bad news all round. Why would you allow them to take your work and then give it back to you at a lesser rate? Once they have a few locksmiths to do their dirty work they will increase advertising in your area... it's a no brainer.

Right enough waffling... Keep up the good work.


All the spam listings that were showing at false UK addresses were removed. Happy days

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:49 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 May 2019 9:59 AM BST
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Thursday, 10 March 2016
Noke bluetooth padlock | Lockmith Blog

Today I got my hands on a Noke bluetooth keyless padlock to play with. Thanks to Simon at Enfield Locksmiths for the freebie. Here is a short review and initial thoughts.

The Noke padlock is a stainless 40mm shackle with keyless entry by several means which can be programmed via a dedicated smart phone app. Once you have registered and added the padlock to your managed list in the app you can then select how you would like the padlock to function.

noke padlock noke padlock battery

The shackle doubles up as an electronic clicker and is used to wake the padlock. If the app is running on your smartphone and the shackle is clicked whilst within range, the padlock will flash green and unlock. Additional keyfobs (sold separately) can also be programmed to work in the same manner.

Obviously this isn't the ideal setting if you are likely to be within range of the padlock whilst it is tampered with so if you are likely to lock up your bike and nip into the local shop you might want to add the authorise function. This will ask for permission to unlock the padlock on your screen and will not automatically unlock.

The third option is to manually log into the app, and click 'unlock' on the padlock menu.

The fourth and my personal favourite is the morse code style unlocking. (Click for a video) You can log into the app and create a sequential code of dots and dashes correspnding to short and long clicks on the shackle, short clicks indicated by a blue flash, long clicks by a white flash. This means you could safely lock away your phone in a locker, use the padlock to secure it but still be able to unlock the padlock.

Noke padlocks advertise a years battery life under 'normal use' and it is supposed to be weather resistant. The seal on the back of the lock doesn't seem tight fitting but does have a rubber o-ring. I personally would not use the padlock for permanent outdoor applications unless it was well shielded from rain. Although the electronics are well sealed inside the lock, the battery may still short out if moisture seaps in.

It's certainly an interesting design and I can see this being a great product to sell to my customers with special access requirements. 

noke padlock instructions noke padlock app

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:00 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 March 2016 10:20 AM BST
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Saturday, 5 March 2016
Lost a Key? | Locksmith Blog

As a bit of a businessman I am always looking for extra ways to earn additional money on top the existing locksmith work I do. I was researching different products that I may be able to sell to the customers that I deal with. Speaking with a friend that works as a locksmith in Wolverhampton I was informed of an online key recovery service called Lostakey.

The concept has been around for years however Lostakey has brought it upto date with an online key recovery service where lost keys can be returned to their rightful owners via a unique reference number printed on specially designed key rings. Rewards are offered for the lucky finder of the keys for their time and honesty. The keyrings come with a free years service when registered online and then £5 a year subscription from the keyring owner.

So can we make ourselves some extra money by selling these keyrings on the side? Well if you consider the potential cost of losing a set of keys consisting of a vehicle and a few house keys then we are already into hundreds of pounds for replacement locks and auto key programming. Selling the product should be pretty simple. The keyrings retail at £5 to the general public however bulk orders to locksmiths are little over £1 each. (Current offer to locksmiths is 100 keyrings, next 100 half price).



Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:57 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2017 2:13 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 1 March 2016
Impact Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!



Impact Locksmiths Liverpool

It has been over six months since I uploaded a featured locksmith to the blog so here is the first one of the year:

Paul Clark t/a Impact Locksmiths Liverpool is a fairly new, skilled and enthusiastic locksmith looking to start off on the right foot in this competitive game. Paul has obviously received some first class training as is knowledgable and kitted out properly to make an impression in the Liverpool area.

You may already recognise the name from the various locksmith forums and online networking sites that Paul is a keen member of and contributing his wisdom to.

Impact Locksmiths are based in Croxteth Liverpool so well situated to provide a fast and reliable locksmith service in the Liverpool area. Not part of any national locksmith call centers or franchises Paul is a genuine bona-fide local locksmith!

If you are based locally and looking for a top notch locksmith in Liverpool, door repairs or just some friendly advice then it is recommended that you give Impact Locksmiths your first call. You can contact Paul directly with the details below:




Paul Clark
Impact Locksmiths
50 Riviera Drive
Mob: 07590208096

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:11 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:06 AM BST
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Sunday, 28 February 2016
Make or Break | Locksmith Blog
Having enjoyed my biggest earning week on record in the seven years that I have been trading as a locksmith you'd think I would be celebrating, however I feel you have to take each week as it comes in todays climate. There are more locksmiths sprouting up than ever, I really thought the whole training boom would have quietened down a bit with the recession behind us but new start ups are still investing enthusiastically in hope of taking a slice of the market.

Let's be honest, most new locksmiths are a flash in the pan and vanish as quickly as they appeared with only a small percentage ever actually making it beyond six months. It is one of the most difficult trades to establish yourself in with ferocious competition for limited work. Often the new locksmiths have invested heavily with redundancy monies and grants buying up new tools and training courses only to find a few months in that they are not cut out for the hard work involved in growing a locksmith business or simply need a proper regular income to make ends meet. My first few years were brutal and I wouldn't have made it work without my part time job and some close trade contacts.

Even now as an established locksmith you can't take your eye off the ball. The advertising game is constantly changing and let's face it, Google pretty much has every small local business by the balls. A lot employ the help of SEO services, do SEO themselves and others rely heavily on the expensive might of Yell/Hibu to help the customer find them. All this additional work on top of the day to day running of a small business and keeping on top of new products and locksmith tools.

Moving on swiftly to national locksmith firms, hell bent on conquering every corner of the country. They rely on the high turnout of new 'locksmiths' to carry out their dirty work since most established locksmiths will not entertain the idea of subbing for them. Some of these national locksmiths firms are even providing their own basic locksmith courses to groom the ill-informed trainees for their own use. Other national locksmiths firms are using foreign nationals with very limited experience. This is an ever increasing threat to genuine local locksmiths who are often target of dirty tactics and ridiculous undercutting on price in attempt to break them.

The future of locksmithing is never a certain one and should never be taken for grantid. The rewards can indeed be fantastic but are hard earned ones that take a serious amount of dedication, time and financial investment. I have seen so many great established locksmiths go bump, fall too far behind the times or just call it a day over the last few years being unable to adapt to the change to online advertsing methods and failing to compete with the plummeting work rates.

Good luck to you all, it's a battlefield out there.

window locksmith upvc door gearbox upvc restrictor inside a upvc door lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:12 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:07 AM BST
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Thursday, 25 February 2016
Copying Content | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Just a quick post to remind subscribers not to duplicate the content of my Locksmith Blog. A few people have been copying private videos that are intended solely for the locksmith community, a few assholes outright copying my articles to their own blogs/sites word for word, image for image.

"If I find you I will kill you..." Ok maybe not, but I will turn those images you are hotlinking to into a far less desirable image that you really don't want on your webpages Tongue out

If you want to use anything just fire me an email. I am happy to help courteous and genuine locksmiths.

Rick -


Posted by Rick the Pick at 5:03 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 28 February 2016 1:49 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Avocet ABS Opening Tool | Locksmith Blog

Over the last month there has been a lot of talk about Avocet ABS Tools and dimple opening tools on the horizon. Most of the information has been pretty vague and I know a lot of locksmiths were getting that spam email that showed a grainy video of what appeared to be either a brute force or self impressioning tool. The email was in poor English as you would expect of foreign spam.

Well finally one of these Acocet ABS tools has hit home soil and a video was posted last night on an online forum showing a quick demonstration. I will be honest at first I thought this was going to be another crappy wonder tool like previous self impressioning tools. I was surprised to see a tool that opened the Avocet ABS as easy as turning a key in it!

ABS locksmith tool

The ABS opening tool has 5 blades which comprise of a milled out section around the fixed magnetic pin, obviously 5 for each possible location of the pin. A foam medium is loaded into the milled out section and covered with a clear vinyl like tape, probably to enable the blade to ride smootly into the keyway. The locksmith demonstrating turns the tool like a key and click the lock is open!

Avocet ABS tool

I am always sceptical when a new tool surfaces as most of the time they are shite. I know there is a destructive dimple opening tool out there that I have been told first hand is awful and will make a mess if the plug splits. (Found a video) This ABS opening tool however seems to deliver and looks simple to use once you have worked out the location of the magnetic pin inside the target lock.

For the warrant locksmiths up in Yorkshire where the Avocet ABS is a common security upgrade this tool is going to be a godsend. I personally do not see many so won't be ordering one for myself, I believe it was priced £100 odd pounds.

Now the Avocet ABS is a 3 star all singing and dancing lock. I am guessing Avocet are already aware of this ABS tool and are working on a fix for future models which I reckon would be along the lines of new key profiles/warding and higher security pins to prevent easy impressioning. I will be interested to see where this goes.

You can view the full video below ==>

Thanks to Scott Robertson of Mansfield Locksmiths for letting me use his videos: *I have removed the embedding as some people were struggling to view. They can be viewed via the links below:


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:40 AM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2016 3:14 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 3 February 2016 Hiding Reviews for Nationals | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

If ever there were compelling evidence that is protecting it's big spenders then this is the smoking gun.
As my followers know I am not a big fan of the directory so I am always happy to help them lose a little more custom.

All the usual suspect national locksmith firms seem to have brought protection, The most prolific 'Keytek locksmiths', that advertises under various sister company names 'Fort Secure' and 'Crown Locksmiths' no longer has a rating platform on it's pages at all.
So we have to ask why would hide it's reviews?

Their reviews must have been so consistantly shocking that it had begun to effect their leads. Rather than lose a customer that spends hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, have obviously bent the rules to suit one of their best customers and blocked any possibility of negative feedback on their pages.

Everyone needs to boycott this scummy directory right away! They have no regard for the end user who will undoubtedly be stung hard by these scam locksmiths, they have completely undermined every genuine small local locksmith business that has been loyal over the years and frankly I think its time their ship sank for the greater good.

A lot of people are wising up, I make apoint of telling the whole story to every customer I work for. Most small time locksmiths know the score now, they just need to resist lining the pockets of Yell and stand firm until the playing field is at least level again. knowingly supports scam locksmith firms and hides reviews!

Updated 12/02/16

And check this displayed on my local area search for 'locksmith Walsall'

Top of the maps, a listing for a coffee supplier that has been hijacked by no other than Yell who now have it redirected to their directory. Low and behold, Keytek sat right there at the top of the page.... scam


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:33 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 25 February 2016 5:06 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Abus 3 Star Cylinder Test | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

Whilst on a lock change in Wednesbury this morning I got my hands on an Abus 3 star lock cylinder. I have fitted the Maco 3 Star version, which is in fact identical but they're pretty pricey so I haven't given any the destructive test until today.

The Abus 3 Star locks feature a robust central cradle that houses the cam section of the lock, a sacrificial front section and all the usual anti-pick and bump features you would expect of a three star lock.

abus 3 star lock cylinder abus lock in vice

I set myself up in the vice and using my grips on the front 10mm of the lock (as in a real world scenario you shouldn't really have access to more than that)  and began the snap test, expecting the front section to sheer off to begin with. I was surprised to see the entire cast section of the lock snap off right up to the cradle which allowed me to open the lock with a flat blade screwdriver!! I was pretty sure that should not have happened and kicked myself that I had not filmed it.

I flipped the lock around and set up my camera this time, again only using the front 10mm of the lock cylinder and snapped it again clean off at the cradle (Click here for Video). The central cam did not lock up in any way and allowed the cam to turn freely. Okay we could argue that there may be an extra bit of plastic or wood lipping further up the cylinder and thus dampening the force closer to the centre of the cylinder, however looking closer at the snapped sections there is no sign of fracture near the designated sacrificial cuts.

It seems the Abus 3 Star lock cylinder has not been designed for horizontal snapping forces and the lock is clearly weaker at this point due to the additional material removed for that final pinstack and the two horizontal securing pins. It really was an unexpected and exciting result from a tried and tested three star, kitemarked cylinder.

lock snapping snapped 3 star lock

I have only tested this one cylinder so I can't really state that these locks are not fit for purpose, but if this attack can be replicated in a door on other Abus 3 star cylinders then I really think the need downgrading to 1 star. If more material were to be removed from the sacrifical cut then they may pose more of a problem. A reliable locking cam mechanism really needs adding in place of the free floating cam currently used which is in fact vulnerable to wire bypass attacks anyway.

Locksmiths! If you have some old Abus 3 Star locks then I would be interested to see your result. Please film it and I will upload with your results. Cheers.

Update 02/02/16

A few authoritive sources have been in touch stating this lock is about to lose it's 3 star rating for the very reasons highlighted above. Seems like a wise move until the design is brought up to date.There are much better upvc door locks nowadays.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:33 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2016 3:16 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Schlosser Ultimate Pro 3 Star | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

Schlosser Technik have been expanding their range of locks and have recently released their TS007 3 Star lock - The Ultimate Pro 3 Star. I managed to pick one up from a locksmith in Brownhills over the weekend. I will be honest my first impressions weren't great, it felt ratchety and cheap in the hand, and overpriced at £20 (trade price). I have blogged in the past about the schlosser quality which is what you would expect of a budget anti snap lock.

schlosser 3 star locklock snapiing

So with an hour spare i thought I'd get it out and have a pick at it. Usually Schlosser Technik are a 30 second pick for a competent locksmith... I couldn't have been more wrong! Fifteen minutes in and I am now head scratching as this lock gives no feedback, it's awful. I gave up hand picking and gave the electric pick gun a blast, again to no avial. Passing the anti-pick test it now has my attention!

I decided that now it would be a good moment to vent my frustration and snap this lock apart to see how well it held up destructively. It was clear the cam had some sort of locking mechanism in it as the entire 6 pinstacks are removed when snapping. can't be too difficult now right?
Wrong again!

chlosser clutch3 star lock

I must have spent the best part of an hour trying to fathom a non destructive operation of the cam, without success. Pushing it in, pulling it out, half dismantling from an outsiders point of view to find a bypass but still nothing. It would not play ball. Even breaking apart the remaining section of external lock body as you can with a garage door cylinder, you would still struggle to detatch the cam from the locked in clutch piece which is held in place by a 7th pin on the internal half of the lock. The only way to open this lock after snapping and without a load of drilling is via the key on the internal side which will release the clutch.

I spent some more time trying to pick that external half of the lock and eventually had to throw in the towel and see what had beaten me. I popped off the circlip and emptied the pin stacks. It contained 4 stainless mushroom driver pins and two pin-in-pin drivers, one which was free floating, the other sprung. A formidable setup for even the most accomplished lock picker.  I would be interested to know how the seasoned locksport pickers get on with this lock.

So my conclusion couldn't be further from my initial impressions of the Sclosser Technik Ultimate Pro 3 Star. It may not be constructed to the high tolerances we are used to seeing in the higher security locks but it will most definitely do it's job and prevent a lock snapping burglary. I have no doubt this will beat any burglar looking to gain entry. It's going to leave a few good locksmiths head scratching too if they try and snap this lock from the outside. Now that I know what I am up against I would leave a snapping/plug pulling attack right at the end on my list of options. Drilling the lock in the traditional sweet spot carefully may be the best DE technique for this particular lock as upsetting that clutch piece is going to make life hard.

schlosser clutch assemblysecurity pins

Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:08 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2016 3:17 PM GMT
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Monday, 7 December 2015
Five Annyoing Things Customers Say | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As an emergency locksmith in Cannock we are always dealing with the general public and meet all sorts of weird and wondeful characters, it's what makes the job more interesting. There are however certain things which we encounter on a weekly basis that really grind our gears, ceratinly my own. Here are my top five annoying things that customers do or say to locksmiths.

1> The know it all / I'm an engineer and I can't fix it.

I don't know why people like to drop this line when you are repairing their door? It's like they're saying "look mate, I am equally qualified or moreso and have already taken a look. I am not sure you can fix this". Of course they shut up as soon as you unjam that door they have been trying to open for the last week. These are the type of customer that like to stand over your shoulder suggesting better ways to do things or give unwanted opinions. I know a lot of less pateint locksmiths would pack up tools and leave, I get on with the task and smile. One of my favourite ones was a big burly chap that had been trying to chop a padlock off with some bolt cutters and failed. I took my cutters out and I could see him grinning since I was half his size. Five seconds later his padlock is off and the meathead is dumbfounded. It's all about technique not strength mate...

2> Hagglers

I don't mind a little bit of haggling before the job, I understand that in a lot of cultures this is the norm and I can give or take a few quid in certain circumstances, otherwise I will pass on the work if they're too keen. One thing that really pisses me off however is the customer that wants to haggle after the job is completed. The majority of time a firm NO will be enough to get your money but there are some that really push it and it's hard to remain professional.

3> Not giving the full story

A close relative of the haggler, this customer uses deception to get a better price. They will call a locksmith for a lock change but fail to mention important details; They have no keys and are locked out, or the door has been kicked off it's hinges and has been in the back garden for a month. You end up adjusting your quote accordingly on site only to be told "I'll get back to you then..." These customers usually end up blocked on my phone, I can't stand being messed around.

4> How much if I have my own lock?

I personally do not reduce my rates to fit a customers own lock unless I know full well it's the correct one for the job, and even then it's not by much. I have entertained this idea so many times in the past only to be handed a knackered old lock and they've still have the cheek to ask how long my work is guaranteed for. When you start dealing with these sort of customers the likelihood of the job coming to bite you in the ass further down the line increases and no locksmith likes a call back.

5> Do you do a free call out?

For a genuine local customer this is not a problem, number five is aimed more at the people that want you to come out, diagnose the problem and suggest the solution but then tell you they will call you back so they can have a go themselves first. Having slipped up on occasions in the past by giving away too much information I have learned to keep my cards close to my chest. "This is how much it's going to cost to resolve your issue", they can take it or leave it but I am not really willing to divulge any further anymore. At the end of the day our locksmith knowledge and expertise is what we charge for so it would be silly to turn up and give it away for nothing. 

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:14 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:10 AM BST
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Thursday, 19 November 2015
Belgaurd, Gibbons Alternative Opening | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

gibbons lock gibbons lock

This is quite an old trick really but today I actually got to use it so have taken a few snaps just to show you how it works.

As any good locksmith will know these old Gibbons aka Belgaurd (rebranded in various forms) are an unusual 8 gauge curtain lock and are cheap and nasty inside making them a difficult pick.

There is however an easy alternative destructive bypass that makes life easier than drilling into the organs of the lock.

On the bolt side of the lockcase is a pre pressed hole that holds the curtain spring. It happens to sit directly in line with the bottom of the lever pack. Inserting a poke wire or small screwdriver you will be able to lift the lever bellies together which fall in line to open, all you have to do is provide a little tension via the curtain. If you aren't lucky enough to be bolt side of the door you can still access the same sweet spot by drilling yourself a 4-5mm hole in the case at this point: (approx one inch towards bolt from top of curtain)

Pictures below show belly of levers through the hole and then engaged with stump.

levers down levers engaged


Posted by Rick the Pick at 6:42 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:11 AM BST
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