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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Willenhall Lock Museum | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
I've lived just a stones throw away from the Willenhall Lock Museum all of my life and been working as a locksmith in Wolverhampton for ten years, however until last weekend had never made time to visit this historical building.

It's only recently reopened again as part of the Black County Living Museum and opens it's doors the 2nd Saturday of each month with informative talks and live lock making activities using period tools.

There is a healthy collection of antique locks and keys for those interested including some super rare examples made especially for the Great Exhibition when lock makers would showcase their best works.

My favourite items were novelty giant pieces; A huge dreadnought padlock and matching giant nightlatch made by Union. The Albert Lock by Carpenter and Tildesley is also an impressive piece featuring a complex bridge warding, levers and a bramah mechanism in a large polished lockcase.

If anyone interested in locks is in the area during opening times I would strongly suggest paying a visit. Here are a few pictures:

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:42 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2018 1:22 PM BST
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Monday, 5 June 2017
Latest Update | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Once again apologies to my regular locksmith blog readers I have been struggling to find time to write a proper post lately tied between locksmith work and a lot of website work.

I thought I would log in quickly to give you a quick post and a few pictures from my phone.

Here is an interesting lock you might be interested in; an old Keith Carrier contraption designed to secure some flimsy commercial doors. I'd been called to open this one up for a maintenance firm who'd already had a go and removed the yale cylinder and padlock but couldn't open the door. I must admit I was a bit baffled myself at first until my attention was drawn to this seemingly redundant hasp and staple mounted in the centre of the door. I put my hand through the letterbox and managed to tug one of the steel bars and heard a ping as the hasp and staple rattled. At that point I realised the connection and unlocked it.

diy commercial door lock3 point locking system

Remember the old Chubb deposit lock I posted pictures of a few years ago? I had a spare half hour one afternoon after replacing a couple of AVA locks at an old house. I thought, I know I wonder if I could use these to rekey the old deposit lock. I was surprised to see the cores were exactly the same bar a few spacers but once assembled I had built myself a fully working dual key deposit lock.

chubb avav deposit locklocksmith in wolverhampton

Besides the other run of the mill jobs I have been creating a new mobile template for my website customers to choose which is currently being tested over at Please take a look and let me know what you think.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:54 AM BST
Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2018 1:23 PM BST
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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Door Repairs | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As with any trade, 'knowledge is power' and the more strings you can add to your bow the better. With every maintenance firm, man and his dog stealing away the bread and butter locksmith jobs such as lock changes, diversity has never been so important.

Door repairs are still a relatively untapped source of income for a lot of locksmiths that still tend to shy away from it for fear of dealing with the unknown and lack of experience.

For me every locksmith job is an adventure and I honestly enjoy being put to the test now and again and deal with something that is not run of the mill. So here I am again trying to encourage local locksmiths to veer off their usual path and try something new.

door repair workrepair gearboxes

Door repairs is a broad term, there are a lot of doors to go at! Thinking over the last year I have personally repaired sliding patio door components, up and over garage doors, commercial aluminium doors, plate glass doors and even giant custom sliding doors at a car showroom.

Despite the initial urge to shy away from the job it's always best to see it through and at least go and take a look. The majority of the time it's something relatively simple that any good locksmith can easily recitify.

Occasionally you will have to learn on the job. Until last week I had never replaced the rollers on a sliding patio door. On a quiet day I accepted the job and lerned how easy it actually was. Easy money I had previously dodge in the past.

As always, in conjunction with developing my own new locksmith and door repairs skills, a website spawned dedicated solely to door repair work. It has worked extremely well for me and I have also begun to build pages for other locksmiths targetting the same market in their area.  Take a look and contact me with your thoughts:

A couple of examples can be seen here:

patio door repairsupvc door handle repairs

Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:09 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 May 2019 9:46 AM BST
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Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Inside A Bramah MD27 | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

bramah MD27 Lockbramah mortice lock

The Bramah MD27 was the first deadlock in the UK to be awarded a BS3621 rating back in 1963. A good 54 years on and this lock is still manufactured and considered one of the most secure mortice locks on the market, particularly against picking due to it's unique design, similar to that of a tubular lock but with sprung wafers instead of pins.

Bramah breakdownBramah lock core

This week I managed to get my hands on an old stock Bramah MD27 from a locksmith in Walsall, so thought I would do a simple breakdown so you can see what is inside. I know it's one I've always been curious about.

Firstly a breakdown of the lockcase itself. There is a flat coverplate on each side of the lock and a removable front faceplate. If you ever dismantle on of these you should probably leave the faceplate in place as the lock will eject it's bolt as soon as the key is turned, the faceplate effectively holds the bolt in once thrown.

You will notice that the keyway on the reverse side is upside down as one operates the bolt from above and the other from below. Each lock core is surrounded by a steel bushing with a cut out machined to allow the bolt roller (rear of the bolt) a pathway upon turning the key.

bramah keybramah lock breakdown of the core

I was reluctant to disassemble the inner core at first since I'd never seen one but soon sussed out how it worked. The machined brass plug has a groove around its circumferance with a circlip like steel plate in place. This is in fact the gates for the wafers to align with, allowing the brass plug to turn through it. Inserting the key and aligning all gates allowed the two halves to slide from the plug.

Each wafer is in fact a folded section of sprung steel with a one false gate and one true gate. The keen eyed lock enthusiasts will notice that all of the false gates appear to be below the true gate leaving it potentially vulnerable to opening. Can you guess how? That is a test for another day.
Bramah lock waferInside a Bramah Lock Core

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:11 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 9:56 AM BST
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Friday, 20 January 2017
Safe Lock Collection | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have been wanting to build myself a collection of safe locks for a while now, they fascinate me, miniature puzzles designed by clever engineers with the sole purpose of staying locked until presented with the correct solution. 

Every time I take one out and look at it I am amazed that some of these can be picked open. It takes a lot of skill, even more knowledge and some clever tools for locksmiths to defeat the best safe locks.

I was lucky enough to start off my safe lock collection this week with a nice selection from a friend and locksmith in Wolverhampton who kindly donated some to me. I haven't stopped playing with them since and already looking to get my hands on some more of the modern designs before searching for some of the more obscure and older safe locks.

inside a safe lockinside of a safe lock

So to the main purpose of my post, what safe locks have you got you want to sell/swap with me!? Anything is considered, keys, no keys, broken, etc,  I am keen to hear from you and you can contact me by clicking on my email address:

mauer safe lockMauer safe internals

lagard lock internals7 lever safe lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:37 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 14 May 2019 9:49 AM BST
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Tuesday, 27 September 2016
National Network of Local Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Since I posted previously about how well online networking seems to be working amongst local locksmiths I have been pondering new ways of improving this network and as always build a dedicated website.

The idea arose after reading locksmiths comments regarding the worthlessness of some of the lockmith organisations and how they're always named 'national network..... locksmiths'. To the public they must appear genuine however as locksmiths we know how easy it can be to obtain some of these recognitions. It's all to easy to buy into a membership for use of a logo without any real vetting, MLA being the exception.

Naturally I thought it would be funny to jump on the bandwagon with the NNLL or National Network of Local Locksmiths, albeit with a serious agenda. The main purpose as always is to give exposure to the smaller self employed and family locksmith firms that struggle to compete with national locksmith franchises and call centres. I think by creating a genuine network of local firms we will be able to steer customers in the right direction should we be unable to help them personally with the lock issues. Most of us advertise 24/7 but in reality it's hard to honour that fully.

I have begun building the site which will be similar in format to other locksmith diirectories that I have created, listing locksmiths via region and all their contact details so that customers can choose the nearest locksmith in their area. It's just a landing page at the minute but should be fully live and ready to accept entries by the end of the week, providing I'm not bogged down with work.

Take a look and if you have any comments, suggestions or ideas that you think may benefit the cause then please do leave me a comment or drop me an email at Dudley Locksmith

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:57 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 9:58 AM BST
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Monday, 12 September 2016
Networking With Local Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
In the past it seemed that the majority of locksmiths kept fairly tight circles of trust when it came to the sharing of knowledge and work within their area.

With the rise in number of nationals and locksmith franchises bombarding the advertising space the self employed locksmith community appear to have formed a strong union to work against this common enemy which lets face it is a threat to every sole trader and small locksmith firm out there.

Over the last year there has been a significant increase in Facebook groups and forums with the sole purpose of sharing knowledge and work amongst the true local locksmith community with work that cannot be covered in a particular area being posted for other genuine local locksmiths to pick up.

Sharing the wealth so to speak not only reduced the chance of the customer stumbling upon the number of the national locksmith firms and getting swindled but also helps build close relationships with your local locksmiths. 

I understand that not every locksmith and his neighbour are best friends and I am sure the sharing of contract customers and regular clients will be a grey area, but those one off customers that you can steer in the right direction will help starve the national locksmiths of their prey.

As always on my blog I have to discuss an SEO persepective, a benefit in this case; A customer searches for a local locksmith and they call you. You aren't available but if you can give that customer useful information, ie a number of another trusted locksmith, and they call it, in the eyes of Google that customer has clicked your site, found the information they were looking for and closed the session. Bonus points for you and your website!

Of course this can swing the other way; you don't answer the call or do not provide an alternative source and the customer clicks back on the browser and moves to the next business in the Google search.

There are so many large firms and chancers looking to sub contract "OUR WORK" out to us. Why give them the opportunity to take a slice of it? There is more than enough to go around the genuine local locksmith firms and earn us all a great income if we can prevent these leaches from thriving in our areas.

I really think that working together as a community of local locksmiths alongside educating the potential customers in the country about national firms will pave a long and profitable future for genuine local locksmith firms.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:31 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:01 AM BST
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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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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, 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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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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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
Factors Affecting Calls | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I am currently enjoying my slowest week of the year, my phone has barely rung this week. Websites are all performing well, no problems with my phoneline... sometimes it's a complete fecking mystery as to why this happens, but it does. I normally use this unplanned spare time to finish of those bist of DIY that I never get time for or to brush up on advertising but I have actually been in bed most of the time sweating out a particularly nasty cold... anyway, It's a great opportunity to update the locksmith blog and todays topic will be 'Factors affecting Calls'.

Firstly let me just say that these factors are purely drawn from my own experience of approx six years and from chatting with other locksmiths who also suffer the occassional work drought.

commercial lock repairslock picking practice

School Holidays

I can almost guarantee that a school holiday week will be a steady one for locksmith work, ok the emergency locksmith work seems to come in but the bread and butter jobs seem to dry up. I guess during this period people spend money elsewhere on days out and holidays away so repair work gets but on the back burner for another week.


I wrote some time ago about seasonal locksmith work. Peaks of hot and cold weather often take their toll on uPVC doors in particular. I notice a good increase in uPVC door lock repair work during the coldest months of Winter from Dec - Feb.


Every now and again there will be a spate of burglaries, car thefts or lock snapping incidents that will get the local community talking and Googling. I often take to social media when i notice this change and get involved offering advice and maybe throw out a few discounts to generate a bit of work of the back of this. Word of mouthrecommendations can go bonkers if you pitch it just right.

Financial year end

This can be a rewarding period with regards to commercial work whereby it seems companies try and use up their remaining yearly spend on things that have been put off throughout the rest of the year.

Physical directory advertisements

If you are one of the few remaining local locksmiths that bother to advertise in the door to door directories you will probably notice that the first few months of a fresh directory being delivered will bring in the most leads, tailing off throughout the year as people lose and throw away that book that sits around the house.

Website downtime

A web hosts server can sometimes go offline for repair work or other problems. It is worth checking your websites are actually live on a daily basis to ensure they are actually working. Notify your host immediately if you see any error messages as they may not be aware of the problem yet. Most local locksmiths rely heavilly on web generated leads so we are potentially losing money every hour we aren't online.

I am sure there are other factors that affect the amount of locksmith calls we can receive but I think I have covered the main onesabove, if you can think of anything I have missed write me a comment and I will add it to the list. 



Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:13 AM GMT
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Monday, 2 November 2015
uPVC Window Repairs | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have had a lot of customers get in touch with me lately who seem to be struggling to find uPVC window lock repairs in the West Midlands. It appears that most double glazing firms aren't interested in these smaller jobs and a lot of locksmiths shy away from uPVC window lock repairs.

I myself do not deal with replacement glass units for double glazed windows but I do undertake a lot of lock and hinge repairs, particularly seized and broken mechanisms which jam the window shut, the same way a upvc door mechanism fails, in the majority of cases the same central gearbox will break under forcing or through wear.

I think the reason a lot of locksmiths shy away form this type of window repair work is because it isn't something that is generally taught on locksmith courses and usually requires the locksmith or repairer to think outside of the box a little and improvise in some cases. Over the years I have taught myself to unjam and free up faulty window lock mechanisms and have a few custom made tools that allow me to spread the window and manipulate rollers without the need for removing glass and beading. I taught my friend at Alcatraz Locksmith Edinburgh how to make one and he loves it!

Once the window is unjammed you can unscrew and remove the locking strip from the window edge which is usually straightforward. If working above ground floor level it will require a little more care as not to drop parts or tools. I have always managed to do this from inside but please be careful leaning out of open windows, if uncertain get yourself up a ladder and familiarise youself with the positions of screws and how to disassemble the lock. 

There are many types of window locks, the espag style being most likely in a uPVC window unit. This style incorporating a central square hole gear that operated a slider fixed with rollers, which in turn can also operate side mounted shootbolts and occassionally a central hook depending on the manufacturer. These can be in a one piece strip or three parts connected by crocodile teeth fittings. Depending on the lock and the part broken you could either end up replacing a complete strip or just a central gearbox section, again dependent on manufacturer.

window repairs window repaired

Window hinges are another common job whereby a stiff window has been forced and bent the hinges or the hinges have worn preventing the window from closing properly or catching on the closing edge.
Very easy to replace on smaller windows however I would suggest an extra pair of hands with large windows or upper story windows as the weight of the unit can be misleading. I have had a few occassions where I have been unscrewing a hinge on a heavy window only to drop a screwdriver and have to sketchily jam the window back in its hole. A good tip is to keep a few screwdrivers and screws in your pocket!

Replacement is straightforward and the hinge fits snugly in the top corner of the frame, remember they are handed and sometimes you may need to replace the pair if they open at different rates/angles to the originals. Another good tip is to sure that the pointed top end of the hinge locates correctly in the attached plastic keep. If it doesn't you may have inverted the hinge on itself and the top corner of the window will not pull in if this is the case.

Don't talk yourself out of that next window repair job, get out there and add another string to your bow! £££

pile of moneywindow lock mechanism



Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:34 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:18 AM BST
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Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Directory Listings | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Here is a copy of my latest rant on Facebook that went viral this week. Please copy and share it around. It's good to let your customers know how things really work!


A little known truth that potential customers might be interested in is that very few genuine local tradesmen now advertise in the physical paper directories (the usual door to door books), as well as their digital counterparts.

The genuine local and most competent tradesman are ditching the directories in their droves since the large national firms are constantly eating up the prime advertising space. We are simply sick of paying for advertisements that get lost amongst an array of national advertisers that use false locations, make misleading statements and use a network of redirected landline numbers to rope in and dupe unsuspecting customers.

The truth is, the directories do not give a shit. These national companies are keeping them afloat and the blind eye is being turned to keep them sweet.

A common tactic used by national advertisers is to buy a full page advertisement and split it into multiple adverts using different trading names and numbers. The truth is that all the numbers actually reach the same call centers. The customer will generally not accept the first inflated quotation and shop around, unwittingly ringing the same firms over and over, led to believe the inflated price is in fact the going rate for such work.

The little guys, the local guys that can probably offer the same service at a fraction of the cost are being pushed out and it is becoming harder for customers to find details of genuine local tradesmen.

The same thing is happening online, national firms paying premium prices for misleading adverts that trick a customer into using their services.


As a customer you will rarely receive a satisfactory result, if you do it is going to cost 2-3 times more than your local tradesman.

Genuine local tradesmen struggle to make ends meet due to lack of work and go bump leaving the nationals a free for all and charge whatever they want.

My one piece of advice for any potential client that has bothered to read this far down into my rant is this:


Alarm bells should be ringing if the people you have called are unfamiliar with the area, have different accents or are pushing uncomfortably hard for the sale. Some won't even issue a quote unless they have your card details and postcode. Is this what you would expect of your local reputable tradesman?
Get online, Google the company but be wary of review platforms which are notoriously open to abuse and 'self reviewing'. Often after a poor review the offending company will bury it below a pile of self authored reviews.

I won't rant any further, I just hope I have reached just a few people and raised awareness of the appalling standards that have been adopted by the leading directories.

Please like and share folks, if it saves just one customer from being taken for a mug then it was worth writing.

Peace X

Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:59 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 September 2015 11:02 AM BST
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Tuesday, 1 September 2015
The £102 Call Out fee| Locksmith Blog
Mood:  irritated
Topic: General Chatter

You will always hear me ranting about why people should avoid national locksmith firms and how they trick customers out of hundreds of pounds.

Well in this case a customer was charged £102 for someone to 'take a look'.

An angry locksmith called the offending national firm to challenge them and recorded the poor excuses on his phone.

Please listen and share, it is disgusting and trading standards need to come down hard on these thieves.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:48 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 1 September 2015 8:51 AM BST
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Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Small Claims Court Part 2 | Locksmith Blog
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: General Chatter
Three months ago I wrote detailing my experience using the small claims process online to serve justice on a scammer that owed me money.

After issuing a warrant upon them through Croyden County Court things went quiet, but I allowed the 8 weeks to pass that was stated in the guidelines for the bailiffs to go and do their thing.

Still nothing, so I began to start pestering and calling every week for updates. Three or Four weeks passed with nobody really knowing what was going on, nobody calling me back as promised with updates, I began to feel a bit annoyed.

So last week, a good 12 weeks or so later I finally decided to complain officially to Croyden County Court, a woman called me back swiftly to tell me goods had been seized but the defendant had applied to get them back!?

Today, 3 days later I called again for another update to be told the business is no longer trading or at the property. (They are I called them to check). Croyden County court have now washed their hands of the matter and told me to speak to my legal advisor.

So my question is; What the hell has happened? Have they cocked up somewhere and failed, been given the run around by a smart defendant or been paid to turn a blind eye to the case. They did not wish to comment.

The whole thing has left me fuming as I have wasted my money chasing this debt which was a straightforward case completely in my favour.

Not sure what else to do about it. Justice did not prevail!

So my advice to anyone about to throw a load of money into chasing their debt via small claims is DON'T BOTHER, it's a farcical service designed to give false hope, a complete shambles where nobody truly knows what the hell is going on.

I'm pissed off! Next time I'll send the boys around instead.


Many moons later I got a letter from the courts explaining that another debtor had a winding up order against the firm who owed a tonne of money. Seems they knew it was coming a ran up a load of debts. Quick change of company name and they're out trading again. Scumbags that make a living from screwing other people. These types get their come-uppance. Dare I reveal who the scam letting agents are? Click the linky, remember the name 'Red Properties London' and avoid like the plague.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:33 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 12 April 2016 2:30 PM BST
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Monday, 29 June 2015
5 Years Old | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Tomorrow will be the fifth anniversary of my Locksmith Blog! I had planned on publishing a post tomorrow, however I am currently sat around the house with a face on me because the wife has taken all our car keys to work with her. Cry Seemed like a good opportunity to update websites and get on top of the paperwork.

I will be honest, I never expected the locksmith blog to get any followers! I have little to no experience writing anything and know I can waffle on sometimes. It turns out I was totally wrong and now have a worldwide audience in both locksmiths and hobby pickers looking forward to my next post of lock related jibberish. Google seem to like my content too, and it always surprises me when I get a call from some random person asking for advice that has stumbled across one of my articles.

The creation of this locksmith blog led to several other projects that I now oversee such as the Locksmith Directory and SEO for Locksmiths as well as aiding in the No to Nationals campaigns and educating potential clients of the importance of using local locksmith as opposed to call centers operating nationally.

I am not entirely sure how to celebrate this 5 year milestone so am going to list my five favourite posts since it all began.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you will find my ramblings of some use in the future.


Top Five Locksmith Posts

1/ Cyber Locks - I must admit this became a bit of an obsession for some time, firstly blagging some expensive samples from a local cyber lock dealer, learning how they work, learning to defeat them and eventually tackling some of the all singing and dancing designs out on the job. Locks of the future?


2/ Aubin Trophy Lock -  I was lucky enough to have an up close and personal look at the Aubin Trophy Lock in Wolverhampton. Arguably the ultimate lock, most certainly the most valuable.

trophy lock

3/ Lock Experiments - Just one of many experiments from back in the days when I had far too much time on my hands. Usually ended in failure but always enjoyable.

lock bumping

4/ Featured Locksmiths - A sub section I created to showcase local talent. I think it's important to help the small guy get noticed and a little feature atricle always helps.

featured locksmiths

5/ Dimple Lock Picking - My favourite locks to pick and always the first ones I grab when i get time for a bit of practice. My lock picking skills are nowhere near as refined as they used to be in my hobby picking days but it's always a confidence booster sitting down and defeating a few higher security cylinders.

avocet abs lock picking 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:05 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 29 June 2015 11:40 AM BST
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Monday, 9 March 2015
Why Avoid National Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As you well know I am always whinging about national locksmith firms, their ludicrous fees, shoddy work and undrhand sales tactics.

It is something every genuine locksmith will encounter, the disgruntled customer that has rang for a second opinion or for advice after a national firm has tried to rip them off.

I have decided to quote you a few experiences of rogue locksmiths that have been taken from various locksmith forums, myself and friends of mine and put them up here for people to read. All company names will be blanked for obvious reasons.



I had to follow Locksmith Company X the other week, Dropped snib, old style vertical letter box that flap opened sideways,cylinder incorperated in top part of letter plate nice easy opening one would think.
Not so it would seem, he drilled fixings and punched lock off back according to customer and all this took an hour and a half.
Then made off with old lock ( as it was a special and needed to be ordered ) and left door unsecured and never returned.


I am just back from a 'broken key' job...steel key snapped inside a euro cyclinder. As usual, I asked the customer where she got my number. After telling me, she also said she had phoned another lockie first (Company X) and was quoted £120 +VAT +Part


So, fitted some anti snap euro's for a customer today. He mentions that his dad (77 years young) called a locksmith out yesterday to sort his upvc door out (not locking).
He got the company from Thompson local book.
Son informs me how much they are charging for the job! He didn't know dad had called them until today.
Dads house was only round the corner so I said I'd have a gander, they have removed Mpl and fitted temp over nighter.
They have taken £130 deposit and wrote an invoice out fit £169.50 inc vat.
On this invoice it's wrote on that customer owes £39.50 on NEXT bill!
Dad has been informed verbally that the next bill owed when work complete will be £290 plus the £39.50! WTF Exclamation
It's the first time I've come across this sort of thing, it's cooking crazy! How do they get away with it?
I've told them to ring the company and get them to explain the costs.
I've measured up for type of Mpl and it's era 4x roller £25 ish plus vat to us!


I had a lady phone me up over Easter, - on the Sunday. She'd got a failed mech, and said she'd had some guy that was a 'Thug-type' (her words) with a skin-head and tats, who had come along, taken the mech out, said he didn't have one, so put it back in again (leaving her door unlockable) and asked if she wanted him to order her one. She said she wanted to think about it for five minutes. He THEN said 'If you go into the next hour, it'll be another £450+vat.' Unknown to the Customer, she'd signed a paper to agree to paying the first hour at £450+vat. At which point she phoned me in tears. I went round and sorted it there and then (Era Saracen IIRC Rolling Eyes ) for £190 all in.. (it was a Sunday remember). Anyway, she showed me the paperwork she'd been left by the other guy... It made astounding reading.
(can you guess who it was yet?)


Just been working for a customer who had been waiting 2 hours for Locksmith Company X to show up(told 30 mins).
He called me and cancelled them, they wanted to charge him cancellation fees etc etc and threatened court action if he didnt.


Just had a young woman call me in tears as some wannabe national going by Locksmith Company X was trying to shaft her.
Tried to leave with the mech claiming it was a custom made lock and needs to be rebuilt at his factory.
Wanted £300+ vat
She told him bollocks and he took 70 quid off her to put it back in the door.
My blood is boiling, i told her to take a picture of the cunt so i can share it around
[update] He fooked off and took the lock with him!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:02 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:21 AM BST
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