Working as a self employed locksmith brings new challenges every day.
Seldom are two jobs the same and there are always head scratching moments when encountering a new lock problem.
Most of a locksmith's knowledge is gained through solving these problems and discovering new techniques to make life easier next time around.
Here are five random tips & tricks I have discovered over the years that may be of benefit to you and your locksmith business:
1/ Drilling into a lever pack
When drilling a lock case lever pack side, you can prevent the tip of the drill burring up the levers by using a flat tipped drill bit for the final penetration. Bending or damaging that front lever can cause a world of pain so a quick swap of the drill bits is well worth practicing!
2/ Planning ahead
Before setting out on your lockout job, quickly log into Google Maps and find the address then take a closer look at the door. This helps in recognising the property which may be harder to spot on a dark night but also lets you take a good guess at the types of lock to expect. Its surprising how many customers describe something completely different on the phone.
3/ Check all doors and windows
When attending a lock out you should weigh up all your options before commencing work, particularly destructive openings. Occasionally there are other doors and windows already unlocked that are overlooked by the panicking customer and the majority of the time the alternative doors have weaker security or keys still inside the lock. Why fight against the heavily secured main door?
4/ Mortice keys that just spin 360 degrees
A common problem with lever deadlocks is the curtain or bolt tail breaking off through excessive force and the main symptom would be a key spinning all the way without unlocking the door. Since you have the key to hand you can insert and turn to 180 degrees to align the levers with the bolt stump. Access the bolt with a tidy hole or through the door-frame gap to manually inch the bolt open.
5/ Millenco uPVC mechanisms (submitted by Locksmith Walsall)
When changing a cylinder on a Millenco mechanism in a upvc door, always remember to use the smaller retaining screw and never the new one supplied with the cylinder. A screw that is too long will enter too far into the lock case and prevent parts from moving, worst case scenario results in a bent mechanism! A costly mistake that you don't want to make.
Five completely random tips for locksmiths. I hope to share some more in the future.
Mike: Huddersfield Locksmiths