Wednesday, 30 November 2011

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

1 comment:

  1. Good educational article which is about the Locksmith Brisbane and I should bookmark it, continue posting fascinating articles.