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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Friday, 16 September 2016
Best Lock For My uPVC Door? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews
best upvc door locks

There are an awful lot of locks available for uPVC doors, ranging from nasty aluminium cylinders that barely work from new, up to the all singing and dancing three star cylinders, which again come with such a range of additional gimmicky security features that it could easily confuse a total novice looking to get the best lock for their uPVC door.

I've posted a few times with comparisons on budget lock ranges and anti snap cylinders and as a locksmith i feel it's important to REALLY test the products I supply and recommend as the best locks for the job. When locks that locksmiths have supplied start failing it is an inconvenience to be called back to repair the problem but also damages a hard earned reputation.

I am asked on a daily basis "What is the best lock for my uPVC door?" ...Well firstly let me give you a run down on the obvious contenders.

Brisant Ultion

Brisant began marketing a few years back now as 'locks for locksmiths' with a range of good looking anti snap locks that I think are in fact rebranded Federal cylinders. Eventually their three star diamond standard lock was released; the Ultion, a formiddable looking lock cylinder withanti-snap features and a locking central cam. It soon became aparent however that these locks were suffering from quality issues and I hear complaints on a daily basis about lock cylinders jamming. If it were a five pound standrad lock it would be less of an issue but on an all singing and dancing lock you've convinced someone to upgrade to it's really not acceptable.

Best lock for your door rating: 3/5

Avocet ABS

Another three star lock cylinder, again a great looking lock with fancy keys, incorporating a magnetic element to make unauthorised copying less of a problem. These were pushed pretty hard a few years ago by the police and neighbourhood watch groups as the best lock for your door and for a short time they probably were. It seems however they're not holding up too well over time and I hear regular stories about these failing. The second problem is that these are now a relatively old design and dedicated tools are now available to open these in just a few seconds. The cylinders are also handed so as a locksmith more stock is required to vover all the offsets. Avocet now appear to be focussing more on their new lock the ATK, a more traditional looking pinned cylinder with all the heavyweight features of the ABS. The ABS is old hat now, if you really insist on Avocet then the new ATK is probably a safer bet.

Best Lock for your door rating: 3/5


BKS Three Star

I must admit I'm a fan of the BKS 3 star cylinder and is one I fit regularly as an anti-snap solution. It's not a lock that is marketed to the public and at present is only really available through trade suppliers. I got my first sample form a locksmith in Cannock. I have thoroughly tested the BKS lock myself when it was rebranded and released at a local hardware supplier and although it lacked all the fancy gimmicks of the previous two locks, this one did exactly what it promised without being over the top, a well designed snapsafe lock that would stump the majority of burglars. The downside, for locksmiths at least is that the cylinders are handed and more stock would need to be carried to cover the offset variations. Conclusion? This is a good lock for your door but there are better.

Best lock for your door rating: 4/5


Yale Three Star Platinum

The Yale brand is the benchmark by which all cylinders are compared and a name everyone knows. Regular readers of my blog will know that I've tested this cylinder thoroughly in all of its forms and am frankly astounded by the strength and reliability of this lock cylinder. The evolution of this cylinder started with the initial British Standard anti-snap lock, turned one star cylinder and now offered in the current three star platinum form. There are no gimmicky keys to cause problems and uses a traditional 'yale style' key. What impresses me most with this lock however is its reliabilty. I can't recall one story of a Yale anti-snap lock cylinder failing let alone encountered one myself. It's clearly a well manufactured product with high tolerances that will not let you down. If I had to be picky and name one issue with these locks it would be the micro allen bolt securing the thumbturn which can be a pain to remove when installing the locks. In my opinion the Yale three star cylinder is the best lock for your upvc door and ticks all of the boxes; security, longetivity and quality.

Best lock for your door rating 5/5



Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:58 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:00 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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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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Friday, 19 June 2015
Zoo Hardware Copies | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

zoo ERA lockZoo hardware are now stocking a range of reproduction lever locks from various manufacturers that have expired patents.

I have used a lot of the three lever mortice range from my local locks supplier without any issues for well over a year now but was only recently made aware of the newer BS rated locks.

The first I got my hands on was a free sample lock, a BS Era Fortress copy from my mate Steve at Hugo Locksmiths Barking. The lock looked and functioned as good as, if not smoother than the original Fortress design, I particularly preferred the new chunkier keys.

Upon internal inspection it seems the dimpled ERA levers have been replaced with flat spaced levers.

I was however concerened about the quality of the latch spring in the sashlock version which does not sit comfortably in place and will undoubtedly fall loose once the grease has thinned out some.
The genuine ERA version has a much beefier spring.

The price difference compared with the originals was peanuts so decided not to buy into any of these particular locks.

Last week a locksmith on the Island forum mentioned they were now reproducing the 3g114/3k74 Union (formerly Chubb) range of mortice locks, which as you know have always been pricier than your average lock.

I have always replaced these like for like where possible in the past due to the non standard dimensions so was interested to see what an alternative could offer.

I ordered a couple of Zoos BS deadlocks replicating the 3g114 and was thus time pleasantly surprised with the quality which was as good as the originals aside from the lesser grade brass in the bolt.

At nearly £10 cheaper than the genuine Union locks, these are worth investing in.

Zoo has an extensive and expanding range of products that are worth checking out via the website:

zoo deadlocksCHubb 3g114 copy lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:26 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:21 AM BST
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Friday, 31 October 2014
LTC Curtain Pick Review | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

Over the last few months I have been struggling with curtain picks that are well worn, completely broken or just not up to the job and was reluctant to throw money at more curtrain picks without doing some homework beforehand.

The binding edge of all my RPCP's tools finally bent beyond repair. To be honest I wasn't the biggest fan of the design as it did not allow much control upon releasing tension on the levers, so more often than not I would reset the entire pack rather than the last few binding levers. I also found the lollypop wire holders would unscrew themselves mid-picking if not bollocked up super tight.

island locks LTC picks LTC curtain wires

Last week I was lucky enough to be offered a set of LTC curtain picks by Jay at Island Locks who is now manufacturing the unique design born from the frustration of teaching with existing curtain picks that just weren't good enough to send his students away with.

The LTC curtain wheel picks feature three noteworthy improvements over existing lock picks that are currently on the market.

island locks pickset reading lock levers

The first being a lever height indicator that screws directly into the pick wire handles. Once aligned with the pick wire end it can be used to read the lever bellies of locks prior to picking locks such as the ERA viscount, invincible and vectis, allowing a rough decoding of the levers. Identifying high and low lift levers correctly is important with these particular locks and the indicator eliminates the need for guess work.

Secondly, the T bar end towards the tip has all been machined flat so you may twist and dig under levers without your wires being trapped in the central guide. I have found similar T shaped curtain picks to be a little restricting in the past and do not allow you to perform that spiraling manoeuvre that frees a stuck pickwire due to a tightly guided end section. There is plenty of room for all angles with the LTC picks!

view of a lock pick unique lock pick design

Thirdly, my personal favourite design feature; the removable pin piece.
The tip of the pick allows removal of the contact pin that catches the curtain. This allows for modifications and different end pieces to be used for different locks. If you are a bit clumsy like myself you might like to use a longer pin so you do not push all the way through the lock. although a notch will need to be machined from your pin so you can reach the back lever on a right mounted lock.
Note that the default pin is of minimal height to prevent excessive force stretching the hole it is pressed into. A longer pin will be more likely to widen the hole over time.

So after a few hours testing it seems an impressive kit with some nice features that are both aesthetically pleasing and work well.

The LTC curtain pick is available either directly via Jay or through
Duffells here: LTC Lock Picks

picking eclipse bs lock island locks picks

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:48 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:22 AM BST
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Monday, 2 June 2014
Brisant BS Locks | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

The British Standard Brisant Cylinder

To be honest, Brisant locks aren't exactly new news. They have been around long enough now for anyone in the locksmith trade to have heard about them. Rick at Cannock Door Repairs has been raving about them ever since the company popped up.

I have been sitting on the fence waiting to see what others opinion were on the Brisant locks before putting my hand in my pocket and purchasing any. They recently advertised an offer I could no longer refuse on their all new singing an dancing Brisant BS rangeso I just had to get a batch ordered.

I knew to expect something special after reading several months worth of positive feedback on the Brisant range and upon opening the first box was not disappointed.

It is immediately aparent that this lock is designed to withstand a prolonged attack from even the most experienced burglar.
Unlike the majority of antisnap locks on the market, the Brisant BS has anti-drill pins beyond the sacrificial section to ensure the cylinder resists attack long after the snapping has been tried.

The Brisant cylinder features all the other security features that you would expect of a quality anti-snap product such as anti-drill pins, strengthened spine as well as a couple of trap pins, making for a formidable opponent.

The lock has been designed with the locksmith in mind, which is why this is quickly becoming the most popular product amongst locksmiths around the UK. The antisnap sections are not handed as with the Yale BS cylinders and comes in a dual brass/satin finish similar to the MulTLock for a universal colour match. It seems we no longer need a van full of locks for every application!

brisant bs locks brisant upvc door lock

What I was most impressed with was Brisants reluctance to sell to the general public, a tactic which can damage the locksmiths ability to sell the product. ** The very reason a lot of professional locksmiths are unwilling to offer the Avocet ABS which is sold with very little discount to trade professionals. There is nothing worse than working for a customer that sits there quoting lock prices from Ebay whilst you work.

(** I have since learned that Brisant will actually deal with public orders and key cutting. There are also rebranded versions of the Brisant available on ebay)

The BS range carry a TS007 one star rating (unsure why they didn't meet the criteria for a three) but should be more than sufficient to satisfy any special insurance requirements for uPVC security.

Update Jan 2016

I feel I need to update this post to reflect a chnage in view on the Brisant range. I am hearing countless stories of locks failing due to an over fragile sacrifical section. I myself had a couple broken which I had put down to my own heavy handedness but it seems this is in fact a design flaw.

I am also concerned about the actually key control as it turns out anyone can ring up Brisant and order a key copy by supplying the code to them, no questions asked. This is not good enough for me personally to continue using them.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:56 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 January 2016 4:24 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Budget Snap Resistant Locks | locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

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

box of locks

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

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


NEO cylinder lock

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

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

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

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

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


schlosser cylinder lock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:26 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:11 PM GMT
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Thursday, 26 September 2013
Sendola Messaging Service | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

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

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

sendola logo for locksmiths

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

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

locksmiths contact details

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

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

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:36 PM BST
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Thursday, 24 January 2013
Sidewinder Thumbturn Opener | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

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

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

sidwwinder tool

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

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

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

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

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

So how does this locksmith tool actually work?

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

letterbox thumbturn tool

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

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

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

Click, door open!

unlocking door with sidewinder

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:42 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2013 8:52 AM GMT
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Thursday, 27 December 2012
Testing the Yale Anti-Snap | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

The latest Yale BS cylinder has been giving me grief for a while now.


Despite the unusually wide keyway of the new Yale BS, picking this lock cylinder is very tricky! As well as the usual spooled driver pins you will now find serrated key pins making it a formidable opponent. Long gone are the days a locksmith can quickly zap away with his EPG as this lock incorporates high tollerance security pins.

yales anti snap lock cylinders

The serrated key pins will bind when a pinstack is lifted past the sheer line and into the milled groove on the pin. Unlike a spooled driver pin these cannot be 'undone' without releasing tension and allowing the pinstack to respring.

Bad news for me as my cylinder picking skills have gone completely out of the window as of late.


Snapping a correctly fitted Yale cylinder outright is going to be no easy feat and well beyond the capabilities of the common burglar and his grips.

The joint inbetween the lock body and sacrificial section is a lot stronger than i expected, its not a case of using a flat blade screwdriver down the keyway, it is pretty resistant and still requires a good grip to remove this portion.

Removing the sacrificial section eliminates the first three pins of the lock cylinder and also the anti drill pin at the front of the cylinder, leaving you with three pinstacks.

snapped yale bs lock cylinder

The sheerline of the frontmost pinstack will be visible leaving you two to pick blind. You may find these surprisingly tricky since the plug now moves back and forth as well as rotating and may also contain a serrated key pin. You will also have the problem of getting tension on a lock set back behind the handle face and will probably need to make a custom tension wrench for this.

The remaining section of the lock incorporates the grip deflecting bumps that look like ball bearings. These work very well and make gripping anything other than the first few millimeters of the lock particulaly tricky, however several attempts sees them deform quickly, they are not the same strength as bearing steel.

The hardened spine of the lock is tough yet flexible and I failed to snap this section in a satisfactory way.


The new Yale BS cylinder is no more drill resistant than the last BS rated lock cylinder.

It contains an antidrill pin pressed into the front of the lock however i found this to jump out of the bottom of the lock on several occasions when drilled in the 'sweet spot'. The plug contains two antidrill pins side by side in the front of the plug face.

There are several pinstacks containing stainless pins which can take some drilling even with a carbide drill bit should you be aiming for the traditional sheer line area.


Shimming the lock by piercing the plug face is far trickier than if you remove the sacrifical section.

Snapping the front section of the lock gives you access to the sheer line of the lock and eliminates 3 pins from the equation. It will also save you wrecking a drill bit when you meet the two antidrill pins in the front of the plug.

shimming open a lock

The shim slides in nicely since you can see the first sheer line.

Remember my original lock shimming post? If you feel the shim slide in but jam the pinstack you are more than likely in a pin serration or catching a spool. Pulling the shim back a fraction so the pinstack resets will sort this but may have damaged the end of the shim.

shimming a yale lock open

So overall, what do i make of the new yale BS lock cylinder?

I think its a great lock for the money and the best from Yale so far, possibly the best anti-snap lock available on the UK market since it avoids the gimmicky keys like the ABS or Magnum that I find put off a lot of my customers off the idea.

These are readily available to the public at a reasonable price and a lock that I think may separate the handymen from the real locksmiths in the future.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 5:42 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2013 7:48 AM GMT
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Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Carbide tipped drill bits - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

With lock manufacturers being pressured into producing even more impenetrable locks our lives as locksmiths are getting trickier by the day.

Im not a big fan of pushing high security locks onto the domestic customers;

for one: It makes my life as a locksmith much more stressful in the event of a lockout.

two: Burglars rarely attmept to open a lock anyway.

So the last few months iv come across quite a few nasty locks that have felt the wrath of the rotary pick... and then laughed at me while they resisted to the last slither of metal holding them strong.

As most locksmiths will know; drilling a lock can go terribly wrong!
(Thats deffo not one of mine btw! HaHa)

Throw in torrential rain or a poorly lit alleyway and you are guarantee'd a headache.

So lets get to the point.

Good hardplate carbide tipped drills are relatively expensive!
Faced witha good BS rated cylinder and a spot of bad luck could see you using 3 bits when drilling at the traditional sheer line point.

Iv been testing a few different brands of carbide drill to see how they fare in the locksmiths world.

All drills have been tested on locks containing two or more hardened anti-drill pins plus one or more stainless key pins.

SKS budget drill:

These are priced in at £2-3 plus VAT for a useable size.

Poor penetration against hardened pins

Struggle against stainless key pins.

Budget Duffells drill:

Priced between £1.30 and £2.20 plus VAT for a useable size.

Reasonble penetration against hardened and stainless pins.

Cutting edge continues down the drill bit for widening holes


Souber Tungsten Carbide bits:

More expensive range at £3-4 plus vat for a useable size.

Reasonable penetration against hardened and stainless pins.

Last slightly longer that the other budget ranges.

Alpen Reds

Much stronger than other budget ranges with the same strength as the Souber bits.

Price is very reasonable and these are now stocked by all the major trade suppliers.


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Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:11 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:28 PM GMT
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Thursday, 15 July 2010
Ajam curtain picks - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

Iv always been a bit wary about buying expensive curtain picks. I just cannot justify shelling out hundreds of pounds for a few pieces of machined stainless.

Im sure im not the only one, therefore im happy to share another alternative:

A local locksmith that runs a training course nearby took the time to design some simple picks and have them machined at a local engineering firm.

These picks are cheap and simple, made from toughened steel they will never break or round off at the ends.

lock picks

I have used these picks since he started producing them i even have a couple of the early prototypes in my toolbag and use them frequently when opening lever locks.

The set i own has five, six and seven gauge tools complete with standard and low bellied picks for reaching under the low hanging levers. All comes in a leather pouch.

curtain pick lever locks

Heres a few old locks i picked with the set a while back whilst testing the tools:

era lock

legge locks

securefast lever lock

chubb 3k75 lock

The whole set comes in at just over one hundred pounds!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:19 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:46 PM GMT
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Thursday, 1 July 2010
Foil Impressioning Tool - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

A while ago i purchased one of those foil impressioning kits for dimple locks from UK bump keys.

I was really looking forward to having a play with this tool as a lot of videos had been circulating on the web.

My first problem was finding a lock that the tool actual fit into. It was no good for mul-t-lock and in the end i managed to find a knockoff made by Wan & Jia (that is also rekeyable with a special key) that i could try it out on.

The foil preparation is pretty fiddly but a few attempts and i managed to prepare the perfect piece.
A few seconds of wiggling and the lock opened... hurrah!



It also snapped the blade of the tool, with virtually no tension i might add.

broken tool

All in all not a bad design but not strong enough to be used on the job, plus you may never come across a lock that it will actually fit in unless you live in mainland China, so probably not worth the investment.

Bit dissappointed but i may be able to use the parts for something else.... like a mul-t-lock tool....

impression blade

This one was made from a mul-t-lock garrison blade and has yet to work for me. Its hardly precision engineering i just went at the key with a dremel for a while and im guessing i havent cut quite deep enough for the low sitting pins to rest.

Has anyone foil impressioned a garrison yet? Let me know!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:19 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:48 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Magnum Locks - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

I popped in my local lock supplier a few weeks back and was shown a new euro profile lock called the Magnum (*RIP see bottom of page) donning an additional millenco sticker.

magnum lock

Obviously a little money £££ exchanged hands and the lock was mine.

The cylinder itself, called the ''superior', consists of a 7 pin offset pinned plug with an additional 4 spring loaded wafer tumblers interacting with a sidebar.

The lock uses a machined steel spine to prevent snapping of the cylinder and is by far the best anti-snap design i have seen.

anti snap cylinder

Initially this lock was a struggle to pick! I sent it off to Femurat; a hobbiest in Italy, who gave me some good tips on picking the lock.

The lock suffers the same flaw as the pin in pin cylinders whereby  there is a small degree of plug rotation once one element of the lock has been picked, in this case the seven pins.

Once you have this initial rotation and the seven pins are set you need to set the sidebar. Picking the sidebar sliders individually is a nightmare and a little frustrating. However whilst experimenting i discovered a major flaw that renders the sidebar useless.

Using the handle of a tension wrench it is possible to overlift the sliders into place.

What was initially a ten to fifteen minute picking session suddenly became seconds (with the aid of the trusty klom gun) and another lock was conquered.

millenco lock

Although it seems the lock is easilly pickable it does however provide outstanding destructive resistance.

Setting up the lock in an in door scenario, i decide to have a go at snapping the cylinder off.

Initially i only used the end 5mm of lock cylinder which quickly rounded off and crushed the end of the plug.
Then using the entire depth of the snapper bar still failed to budge the lock.

lock snapping

A similar test on an Ingersoll London Line cylinder shows the difference in resistance.

london line lock

Magnum seem to make some interesting locks that i would love to get my hands on in particular the half moon cylinders.

It would be great if millenco started supplying these to all their new doors although i suspect obtaining new keys would be pretty pricey.

All in all not a bad lock to have in your door.

magnum lock range

*UPDATE Nov 2014

Since this post was made Magnum have vanished and the locks are now branded as Yale Superior instead of the Millenco Magnum.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:16 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:54 PM GMT
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