Wednesday, 30 November 2011

October / November 2011 @ Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks

Firstly sincere apologies for the lateness of this Diary entry. The reason being that after using 'Bravenet' for my Blogs, since late 2009 (and despite winning an award in 2010 for my Blog), 'Bravenet' have in their 'wisdom', suddenly deleted all my entries and my account, without any warning, and without any apparent reason. (Seems I'm not the only one either). Their 'Help' links just take me round in circles too. What a shambles! Fortunately I have all my entries backed-up, but it's taken a while to sort them all out, - time that could have been better spent. I firmly believe 'Bravenet' are simply too unreliable for any serious journal use, therefore I have reposted all entries on 'Blogger' which I will be using from now on.

With the nights drawing in now, it is always a good idea to think about Security, and to re-evaluate. Much of it is common sense, but things to remember if you are going out, is to make sure you leave a light on, or the TV to make some noise. Don't leave valuables in plain sight through windows. Net curtains are always good to help obscure vision. If you have locks on your side gates, then use them! Burglars really don't want to spend time (or make noise) forcing locked gates. Keep windows locked when you're out, and remove the keys. If you DO leave windows open while you're there, then use ones that are fitted with some sort of window restrictor, to limit opening.

This last month, here at Neighbourhood Locks, the Ipswich Locksmiths, we have been asked to fit more of the Higher Security Chubb 5-Lever British Standard Locks, as Insurers are becoming even stricter after break-ins, and usually not paying out unless a 5-Lever British Standard Lock is fitted. These are much heavier in duty than their earlier counterparts, with the latest ones having a 'Bolt' that 'throws' 20mm, whereas the earlier versions had only a 14mm one. They also have additional security features, including anti-drill plates, anti-pick notches, fully boxed-in 'keep', and many have anti-saw rollers in the bolt. All this makes them far superior from the early ones, though even these are better than the 2 lever Bathroom door locks we still see fitted to front doors! I still cannot believe that he general public place such little worth on their property. If you would like us to check your locks are up to Insurers requirements, then please feel free to give us a call for a free, no obligation inspection. As one of Ipswich's top Locksmiths, we are CRB Checked, and fully Public Liability Insured for your peace of mind too.

Photo below shows an earlier style Sash-lock, with the 14mm bolt (below the latch on the left of the lock). The lock below is the modern equivalent, with a 20mm bolt which goes deeper into the door frame, thus offering greater security.

In order to stay at the very top of the Locksmithing Profession, Neighbourhood Locks Ipswich Locksmiths, frequently attend meetings and training sessions around the UK, to keep up with new tools and techniques. I was lucky enough to meet legendary Locksmith Jeff Turner who is Vice Chairman of the Master Locksmiths Association, and who designed the Decoderfor some of the most popular Chubb locks. (Incidentally, they're not really called 'Chubb' now, because they are all part of the Union/Yale/Assa/Abloy Group, but most old-school Locksmiths still refer to them as Chubbs,  though it can cause some confusion as they are in a 'Union' box... but then so are the 'Unions'! ).

The session we had with Jeff was a great insight into the subtleties of the Chubb locks, and their opening techniques, with Jeff being on-hand to answer questions for the day. After a few hours practicing, most of the Locksmiths were opening Chubbs non-destructively, using Jeff's Decoder which is only available to Locksmiths, within a few minutes. In fact Jeff was timed opening an 'unknown' Chubb, in 38 seconds, which is a terrific achievement, considering these are amongst the most secure locks in the world!

In an earlier Blog entry, I mentioned that I have my own range of Locksmiths tools that are used nationally, which I have  designed directly from problems encountered 'on the door'. The number of my tools in use by Locksmiths around the Country, continues to grow as their reputation for making the job easier grows. I am very grateful to my Associates who have encouraged me, and given me valuable feedback regarding the tools I design.

If you require any advice regarding Security issues, please give me a call on 01473 622461.

Until next time.. Stay Safe!

Simon.. your local Ipswich Locksmith

August / September 2011 @ Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks

These last couple of months have been flat-out for Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks, with much of our work coming from recommendations.

We have carried out all manner of jobs, from gaining entry to vehicles, to identifying window locks, and supplying the correct keys from our collection of over one hundred different varieties, - and everything in between!

We are finding we are receiving more and more requests to fit Digital Access Control Locks to Domestic Offices and Studies, as the general public are becoming more aware of the need to protect expensive Computers and sensitive personal documents. These offer a cost-effective way of limiting access, with many have an 'easy-code change' feature, 'key override', and/or 'pass through' which allows the lock to be 'held back' which s convenient if you are passing through frequently, but still nearby.

We've also noticed two extremes with the budgets Customers are spending recently. As far as Cylinder locks go, a few are now asking us for 'cheap' locks, or even 'used-locks.' While we appreciate that it is good to save money, as far as locks go you really do get what you pay for! We've been first on-site after break-ins, and 'lockouts' where springs have literally been hanging out of the lock! It is quite shocking to see, but hardly surprising as some of these Chinese import locks have a trade price of just 17p. It is sad to think that some place such little value on their property, though many of course are likely to have been sold them by 'cowboys' who are just after a quick buck. It is always important to choose your Locksmith very carefully. Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks are CRB checked, and fully insured for Public Liability. There is very little virtue in trying to skimp on home security, at the expense of reliability, and/or the locks deterrent to the Burglar.

Conversely, with Mortice locks, we are getting more requests for Chubb locks, which are the 'Rolls-Royce' of locks, - evident by their ultra-smooth operation. While other brands are good in terms of reliability and security, nothing really comes close to the feel of a key in a Chubb lock. Strictly speaking, they are no longer called 'Chubbs' as the brand has been migrated into 'Union/Yale/Assa/Abloy' after 200 years, though old-school Locksmiths tend to still refer to them as Chubbs, even though they come in a Union box nowadays. These are exactly the same lock as the Chubb, but just re-branded. Rather confusingly, the 'Union' locks, also come in a Union box! The Chubbs feature all the deterrents you would expect from a British Standard Insurance Approved 5-Lever Mortice Lock, including a 20mm-throw Bolt, levers with anti-pick notches, anti-drill hardplates, anti-saw rollers and a fully enclosed 'keep' for the door frame. BS Locks have come a long way since their earlier counterparts.

If you have any concerns regarding Security, please feel free to give me a call on 01473 622461.

Until next time.. Stay Safe!

Simon, your local Locksmith.

June / July 2011 @ Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks

June/July at Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks, was filled with the usual variety of Call-outs, many to deal with jammed UPVc Doors and windows.

There was a higher than usual rate of 'Lock-ins' during this period too. While somewhat rarer than the more classic 'Lock-out', a 'Lock-in' can be just as frustrating and a cause for great anxiety, especially (as in one or two cases), where there is only one door to the property. It can be a very surreal experience for the Locksmith, as in some situations, the initial preamble is conducted not face-to-face, but through the letterbox, with neither the Customer nor the Locksmith having any idea what the other party looks like!

One lady called me, to inform me that she was locked in, as her UPVc door was jammed shut, and although she had phoned her Insurers as the door was covered by her policy, they had said that they would get someone to her within three weeks. That was the point at which she called me, and after my arrival, within around 10 minutes the lady was no longer imprisoned within her home. Not every failed mechanism on a UPVc door actually requires a replacement, though there are some out there that would be only too glad to sell them one. Once the door is open, and the mechanism removed, sometimes all that is required is a 'service', and readjustment. But by far the hardest part, is actually getting a door with one of these systems
open, - some of which have hooks that run down the side of the door and latch into the frame. These things are really NOT meant to be opened easily, in order to deter the burglar, so getting them open is a highly skilled job.

As always, the moral of the story is that if you feel the handle on your UPVc door becoming harder to operate, or if the handles go really loose, then give Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks a call before the door jams, locking you out (or in), which will ultimately cost more as we then have to deal with a 'Lock-out/in' in addition to a Mechanism Service/Adjustment, or replacement.

I was also called to visit a Customer a considerable distance away from me, and out of my 'Usual Service Area', as I had been recommended by someone that I had carried out work for previously. I was surprised to hear that the Customer had called a 'Locksmith' (and I use the term loosely), a few months previously (before they had been given my name), who charged them a phenomenal amount, told them they needed a new lock (which they hadn't got, so never supplied), and didn't actually manage to resolve the problem door, which actually turned out NOT to require a new lock, but only some minor adjustment to the door/frame. The result was another happy Customer.

It is worrying to think that there are so many out there trading, and calling themselves 'Locksmiths' when they are nothing more than 'Handymen' and 'Fitters' who are willing to 'have a go' at sorting the lock out. Many are kitchen fitters etc., that see locks as an easy source of income, particularly as people tend to feel vulnerable regarding locks. The sad truth, is that most things 'lock-related' are highly complex, and take 100% dedication to be at the top of the Industry, and just 'having a go' usually ends up causing more problems. Several times each month, I am called to tidy up the mess that a well-meaning neighbour, or handyman has created in an attempt to deal with a lock-out, or remove a lock. What appears to be the very straightforward task of removing a lock, and setting up and adjusting the replacement, is actually quite involved. One lady phoned me in tears because she was locked-out, and her brother had 'only fitted the lock the day before, so it must be a faulty lock!' When I examined the lock, and the way in which it had been fitted, I was amazed it had worked even once or twice without locking the Customer out. There was nothing wrong with the lock, only that it had been fitted incorrectly. In these times of economic recession, I can understand the urge to save money where possible, but in all honesty, in all my time as a Locksmith, I have never come across a situation where a 'well-meaning' person, replacing a lock, or attempting to 'gain entry' has EVER done anything other than cost their friend or relative more money!

Although one of our main Specialist areas here at Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks is dealing with UPVc Door and window problems, we have also had the usual Safe installations, and problem solving on Digital Door Locks, which are becoming more popular recently. Though these are chiefly used for Access Control on Commercial Buildings, and Offices, they have applications on Domestic Properties as well, with requests for them to be fitted to Home Offices and Studies becoming more frequent. The general public is slowly realising the need to reevaluate their security, with increasing numbers taking up my offer for a 'Free On-Site, no obligation Security inspection.' Some now see good security as an investment, not an expense, - one even going so far as to call their security a 'Status Symbol', as it was 'better than their next door neighbours.'

Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks, are also often asked to supply keys to open windows, where no keys exist. We are able to supply many different window keys, and once again, something as small as this will actually add value to your property if you can show a potential buyer that all windows can be locked and unlocked. Remember also, that it is an Insurance Requirement that all windows accessible from the ground, must be lockable. If you are still relying on non-locking windows, this is something that really needs to be upgraded as soon as possible, as many unauthorised entries are made through non-locked windows, and because of this, Insurers are unlikely to make a payment for a claim, in the result of a break-in.   

If you have any concerns regarding security issues, give Simon a call on 01473 622461, at the Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks.
Until next time...
Stay Safe!

April / May 2011 @ Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks

Although Neighbourhood Locks is best known for being one of Ipswichs 'Non-destructive Entry' Locksmiths, what is less well-known to the public, is that I also design and produce highly specialised tools for Professional Non-destructive Entry Locksmiths. These are gaining a reputation nationally, for the innovative ways in which they work and allow the Locksmith to carry out specific tasks more efficiently.

The latest Lock Tool (which is a Registered Design), approaches a specific situation in a very different way, and has been around 10 months in development, evolving directly from a difficult situation I encountered, which could have been made easier, if this tool had existed.
In May, I gave a  demonstration to a group of Locksmiths on its use, which went down very well. The tool is proving to be successful, with some excellent feedback from around the UK, from those who have used it. If I had been given a pound, for every time a fellow Locksmith had told me to go on 'Dragon's Den' with it, I would have been a very rich man, but as they realised, the very nature of the tool, meant that its details should be kept confidential.

It has been very busy here these last two months at Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks, with a higher than usual rate of call-outs to gain entry to Garages, either through failed locks, or lost or stolen keys.

One was particularly unusual, and probably ranks as one of the most unusual call-outs we have ever been asked to attend. The Customer called us to ask if Neighbourhood Locks could open a garage door non-destructively. I arrived on-site, with a selection of appropriate lock picks, and a quick inspection of the lock showed that it was unlocked, and in fact the only thing that prevented the door opening, was the considerable amount of ivy, shrubs and other foliage which surrounded, and was attached to the door and frame. As I had arrived equipt to pick a lock, and unfortunately didn't have a Strimmer, Hedge Trimmer or Weed Killer with me, suggested that this job was perhaps more suited to a Gardener, than a Locksmith.

With all the hot weather, Neighbourhood Locks have been inundated with calls to resolve a whole host of UPVc Door and Window-related problems, including failed mechanisms, which in some cases locked the Owners out, so there was not only a 'gain entry' situation to deal with, but additionally the replacement of the mechanism. If you find that you are having to exert more force on the door handle, or if the handle becomes loose, then this is the time to give us at Neighbourhood Locks a call. If this is dealt with swiftly, then it will cost less in the long run, as we wont be up against the 'Lockout situation'. We are able to open, replace and upgrade all UPVc Door Mechanisms, and in many cases they will simply need some adjustment, without the need for any parts. Along with the restoration of antique locks, and hand-making keys, we are Specialists in all UPVc Door and Window mechanisms, and are happy to advise you. It is also important to bear in mind that you can have all the hooks and bolts you like, running down the edge of your door, but this mechanism is only going to be as good as the actual lock fitted. Although to the untrained eye, most locks on UPVc doors appear to be the same, they do in fact, vary terrifically, in terms of quality, reliability and security. Many locks come with Anti-pick pins, Anti-lock Bumping features, hardened Anti-drill pins, and Anti-snap features, which all make it significantly harder for unauthorized entry. With Burglars using some methods to attack your lock, there are no signs of forced entry, so it is difficult to prove to your Insurers that a break-in actually occurred. 

Neighbourhood Locks are happy to advise about all aspects of security, both for your home or commercial premises, free of charge (subject to availability), and can upgrade the locks on your UPVc Doors, or fit additional Sash Jammers to windows. If your locks are over five years old, chances are they do not feature the latest in anti-break-in technology.

Neighbourhood Locks were asked to have a look at a 'problem' lock in a block of Flats. The lock turned out to be a 'Wellington Cylinder'. These are lovely little locks, and from the front vaguely resemble a standard Yale Cylinder, although the Keyway is somewhat different. The Wellingtons feature miniature levers, in much the same way that a Mortice Lock does, rather than the more conventional pins of the Yale type Locks. I stripped the lock down on-site, as well as the lockcase (which the cylinder fits into), and gave both a thorough Service, clean and lubrication, which resulted in the lock working as good as the day it was made, and a very happy Customer.

Along with our usual Insurance Work, we receive calls from the Letting Agents in Ipswich, to deal with 'gain entries', and then to replace the locks, where Tenants have left without leaving the keys. As we do not charge VAT, we find we are getting asked to offer these services more frequently.

Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks also fit a variety of Safes, to suit the situation and budget, including Fire Safes, Laptop Safes, Gun Safes etc. We are happy to advise on the most suitable types, including easy-to-use Digital Home Safes (with Key Overrides), Key-only Safes etc.

Until next time..

Stay Safe.. Simon, your local Ipswich Locksmith.

February / March 2011 @ Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks

February and March proved to be another 'mixed bag' for Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks, and kept us constantly busy with the usual lock changes after break-ins, and where Customers had moved home.

I recently read statistics that show that an alarmingly high percentage of those that move home, have not changed their locks, although the chances are that neighbours, friends, family members, gardeners, cleaners, tradesmen etc., have keys to the property from the previous occupier. With such a serious potential security risk, it is no wonder that both The Home Office and Neighbourhood Watch recommend that the locks are changed when moving home.

Neighbourhood Locks the local Ipswich Locksmiths have also seen a marked increase in the amount of Customers requesting us to fit Digital locks to doors. These are great for Home Offices, and Workshops etc. and allow access to be gained once a number code is punched in. It saves having to worry about using keys where the door is used frequently. The code can be easily changed on most, and some also have a 'pass through' feature, which allows the door to be left unlocked which is great if you are passing through the door of your Home Office regularly, but are still close by to it. Most also have a key override, for emergencies.

 I was also asked to have a look at a lock that didn't work properly. When I arrived onsite, I was amazed to find that it was a 'latch type lock' made by Chubb in 1896, bearing their crest from their days at Queen Victoria Street. I suggested that I restore it to it's former glory.
Once I'd stripped the lock down, it was apparent that the spindle had broken, which was understandable as it was quite a complex affair, varying in width several times along it's length. From the research I've done on this lock, it would appear that the lock was modified at some point in it's history, to operate in a similar way to a modern 'Thumbturn'. In order to get the lock to function again correctly, I fabricated a new spindle, and generally 'tidied' up the levers and mechanism. I must admit that I felt a sense of awe while working on the lock, realising that someone had put it together by hand over 100 years previously! The lock is now back in it's original location, and I hope that it will last a further 100 years.

Neighbourhood Locks visited the Locksmith's Exhibiton in Nottingham, where we met up with other Locksmith Colleagues, to see the latest developments in all things lock-related. It was good to meet Locksmith Legends such as Chris Belcher & Paul Souber who are always at the cutting edge of new developments too. The Stands of vintage locks was of particular interest to me though, with locks from Prisons two or three hundred years old on display. I spent much more time talking to the two gentlemen there, than I had realised, but Heritage Locks is an area that fascinates me a great deal. The amount of satisfaction I get from making something work again, is immense. I also had a quick chat with World Champion Key Impressioner Jos Weyers, who was over from Holland for the Exhibition. Jos had given me a valuable insight into the technique of Key Impressioning last year in Covent Garden. 'Key Impressioning' is the art of taking a blank key and hand filing it to make it work in a lock, only by looking at, and interpreting the marks left on the key by the lock. Sadly, it is a dying skill now. The World Championship contest lasts and hour and a half, giving a good length of time for the top Key Impressioners in the world to get their locks open. Jos holds a World Record for Key Impressioning at just 67 seconds! My best time is currently 81 seconds, so I really need to try harder!

Until next time... Stay Safe
~ Simon, your local Ipswich Locksmith

January 2011 @ Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks

In the run-up to Christmas, Neighbourhood Locks, the local Ipswich Locksmith, were asked to attend a considerable number of lockouts. During the Christmas period, we all have much on our minds, so it is understandable how easy it is to become locked out. In almost all of the cases, we managed to get the Customer back in to their properties swiftly, and more importantly, without the need to destroy their lock, as we specialise in 'Non-destructive Entry'. In the few cases where the lock failed to respond to NDE, and it was necessary to destroy the lock, we replaced it free of charge. This is our unique guarantee as Ipswich Locksmiths, that we will replace your lock free of charge, if we need to destroy it to gain entry, other than in the case of a faulty lock, or security-compromised one.

After the Christmas blues, the Vat increase hasn't been good, however here at Neighbourhood Locks, we are pleased to announce that we still charge NO VAT at all, so effectively you are receiving a 20% discount when you use our services.

We received one call during a heavy snowfall one evening at about 7pm, from a lady that said that she needed to open her shed door, but that the lock had failed. I must admit I wondered what the urgency was to open a shed door, but once she told me that the children's Christmas presents were inside, and that another locksmith she had phoned refused to come out as it was snowing, was hoping I would help. Even though the Client was located in a remote village some distance from us, I assured her that her shed door would be open within the hour, which it was, much to her delight! It is call-outs of this nature that make being a Locksmith such a rewarding Profession.

That reminds me of a call-out I received last Christmas, which involved me changing the lock on a back door, for a lady that had just moved in. When I arrived, there were Plasterers there, who warned me about a 'large dog' that had just bitten the Electrician. I laughed assuming they were joking, but he told me he meant it and that the Electrician had just gone up the hospital. Anyway, the lady of the house got the dog out of the way, while I went down the hall, into the kitchen, (which incidentally had a half glazed door between it, and the hall), which of course remained firmly closed to keep the dog from me. Anyway, there I am, working on the back door, when my mobile phone goes.

'Hello. It's me ****' (The Client). 'I just went out the front door to take the rubbish out, and the door has slammed behind me, and I'm locked out. Can you come and let me in?'.

'No' I replied.

'Why not?'

'Because your dog is the other side of the kitchen door, and wont let me out. Can I get round the side?'

'No. It's a long walk down a lot of streets and will take ages, but just tell the dog to 'SIT!' and push past it.'

'I can't. Listen.' (I hold the phone up to the kitchen door, so she can hear the dog growling and barking at me. It was also jumping up, and hammering on the door and baring its teeth, though naturally this aspect would have been missed on the phone).

'OK. Yes, you're right. DON'T open the door, or he WILL go for you!'

So I didn't. I got on with my work, and eventually her husband came home, with a key. It was so ironic that there was a Locksmith within 30 feet of a 'lockout', but couldn't do a thing.

Another call-out this Christmas, was from a lady who informed me that she needed a lock changing. I asked her the circumstances, as we always require as much information as possible in order to assess what's required, and she informed me that she was locked out. I told her that she would need me to gain entry first, and then I could change the lock, and she then told that her boyfriend could get them back in, and that wasn't a problem, but they would need a new lock. Curious as I was, I asked how he would gain entry, as it was a skilled job, and I was shocked to be told that he would 'kick the door' in, to 'save money'. I have no idea how much they thought a new door and frame would be, but I know that it would have been vastly more expensive than our fees for Non-destructive Entry! The last time I received a quote for a new door, it was around £600.

In every single case where a well-meaning neighbour, or the property owner themselves has attempted to gain entry, it has always ended up costing more, and usually turning what could be a 10 minute opening, in to a much longer job.

Neighbourhood Locks were called to attend what we assumed was a typical failed UPVc door mechanism, but which upon examination turned out to be a long-obsolete mechanism, which I wasn't at all confident about being able to source, and warned the Client of this, explaining that worst-case scenario, would be to replace it with something 'close', though that could need considerable work, however I promised to do my utmost to find the correct replacement. I managed to surprise myself, by locating one of the last three in the country, which made replacing the defective gearbox a straightforward job. Once again the Client was extremely happy, and said that he would be happy to recommend us.

Until next time.. Stay Safe

~ Simon, your local Locksmith, Ipswich.

December 2010 @ Ipswich Locksmiths Neighbourhood Locks

The last two months has provided the usual 'mixed bag' variety of call-outs for Neighbourhood Locks the Ipswich Locksmith, with everything from a request to open a 'Roof box' mounted on top of a 4x4, to a 'Safe', along with all the usual situations such as opening garages, dealing with failed UPVc Door Mechanisms, failed 'rack-bolts', and on-site key cutting.

With the cold weather upon us once again, these 'rack-bolts' (and indeed UPVc Door mechanisms), have a tendency to fail dramatically as doors contract with the cold. 'Rack-bolts' are small bolts that are operated from the inside of the door, with a key that looks somewhat similar to a Philips Screwdriver. Sometimes if they are not lined up correctly (because a door warps), when the bolt is wound along its mechanism, the teeth become stripped by the key, resulting in the bolt failing to lock, or, more awkwardly, unlock. These mechanisms are quite delicate in places, and consequently if you find that they become stiff to operate, never force them, but give us a call to resolve the problem before they break completely. It's a relatively quick 'fix', and will save inconvenience in the long run.

The same is also true of UPVc door mechanisms, which also suffer from going out of adjustment in the extreme temperatures. We were called to open a completely failed UPVc door mechanism recently, where the handle had apparently become progressively harder to operate, until ultimately it failed, making it impossible for the Customer to use the door. We opened the door for them, and replaced the mechanism, and also adjusted the door which had dropped slightly, and may have been contributory to the mechanism failing. We also cut extra keys for the new lock, which resulted in a happy Customer, as they didn't have to travel into town for extra keys, and face the possibility that they wouldn't work.

We were also asked by another Customer, if we could make their Yale lock work from the same key as the one they used to open their back UPVc door, their side door, and sliding patio doors, as they had a large bunch of keys, and were quite anxious to try and cut down on the number they needed to carry! Here at
Ipswich Locksmith Neighbourhood Locks, it is a straightforward task to make several cylinder locks work from just one key. It involves repinning each lock, to the original configuration of (in this particular case) the Yale lock, but it is a worthwhile service if you find you have to carry a considerable bunch of keys with you. 

In mid-November, I was invited to give a demonstration on 'Key Impressioning' to a group of fellow Locksmiths in Hampton. 'Key Impressioning' is something that I am passionate about, and involves hand-filing a key from a blank, to make it work in a lock, by just examining the marks left of the blank key. It has many uses, but is really a dying art in Locksmithing these days. It is particularly useful to use when a Customer is locked out, but they have a key, in their property, so it would be beneficial to open the lock non-destructively if at all possible. It can also be used for opening vintage 'warded' locks, such as those found on Antique caskets, writing desks, and other items of furniture which have locks. Neighbourhood Locks get requested frequently, to rebuild (and make-up keys for) antique furniture locks, and refurbish them to their former glory.

One of the most interesting call-outs durning these last two months, was to open what I thought would be a standard cupboard lock, where a piece of the key had broken off in the lock. After successfully gaining entry to the cupboard, and removing the lock, I was delighted to see it was a very nice brass, miniature 'four lever' lock, which Ipswich Locksmith Neighbourhood Locks stripped down, cleaned and serviced, bringing the lock back up to it's original standard. It is common for these locks to lose the 'pin' that the 'piped-key' slides onto when inserted, which means that there is nothing to 'index' the key to the levers, and so turning the unaligned key, forces the levers, and can break the key. In a situation such as this, the 'pin' needs to be replaced correctly, in order for the lock to function as intended.

With the first falls of snow, Neighbourhood Locks have seen a noticeable increase in 'Lockouts', in some cases due to lost keys in the snow. One recent lockout, saw me 'doing battle' with one of the most badly fitted/maintained Yale Locks I have ever seen. There was so much movement in the lock, that it proved unresponsive to usual non-destructive entry techniques. I am sure that if the lock had been tightened up correctly, and maintained it would have been more straighforward, but nevertheless, I managed to gain access to the property, much to the relief of the Customer.

Until the next installment,

Stay safe!

Simon ~ your Local Ipswich Locksmith