Mar26

Welcome to the first “Day in the life of a locksmith” post. This is a new section which will feature a post once a month about the general life of a locksmith from events that have happened to me personally whilst out on site.

It’s been a very varied month with a couple of quiet weeks at the beginning of the month and then a work explosion over the last couple of weeks. I think most self employed locksmiths will agree that you just cannot predict what is going to happen with work, one minute your scratching your head wondering why you have no work then the next minute your so busy you can’t handle all the work. It would be nice to have a steady stream of constant work but unfortunately the trade does not seem to work like that.The last couple of weeks have brought a nice mix of jobs, I much prefer a varied mixture of jobs as opposed to doing the same thing over and over although at the end of the day it’s all work I suppose.Rather than me waffle on about every job I have been to I thought I would just talk about a few that stick in my mind from the past month.

Job 1, Aluminium Door

The first job that springs to mind is a union oval sash case I did on a aluminium door. I went out to the customers house around 8pm after receiving a call to say they were concerned about the lock as they had just come home and spent 10 minutes trying to get in. When the customer described the problem on the phone I was convinced it would be just the cylinder. I arrived to find it was not the cylinder which was at fault it was actually the latch which was bent and looked like it was hanging on by a thread. I didn’t have the lock in question in stock so I locked it up and ordered one from Duffells the next day. I told the customer not to use it and to come in and out through the other door which they agreed was a good idea. As I couldn’t order the lock until the next day I had arranged to go back 2 days later when the lock arrived and fit it. The next day I got a call from the same customer to say they had opened the door to let the cat out! and now the latch had snapped off completely! I explained on the phone to just close the door without the latch and lock it and I would be back the next day to fit the new lock case. The customer said they could not lock the door without the latch because now the key wouldn’t turn. So back I went again for visit number 2, the customer was right the key would not turn it would go round to about 20 past and completely seize up. I removed the lock from the door to find it was a sealed unit so I couldn’t open it up to have a look, I shook the case and a small piece of metal fell into the hole where the oval cylinder should of been so I put the cylinder back in and it locked. I think the piece which fell out was from the back of the snapped latch and must of been restricting the bolt. So the lock finally arrived the day after and I flew straight back round for visit number 3 before the customer tried messing with it again! and renewed the lock case. As far as aluminium doors go this one was as easy as it gets, there were no awkward rods to connect up so It was just a case of undoing a couple of machine screws removing the cylinder and refitting everything.

Job 2, Upvc Door Problem

Got a job last Friday night just as the snow started getting really bad, I wasn’t going to go out as it was really coming down but as it was just 5 minutes from where I live I decided to take a look. It was a Upvc door lock which wasn’t working. Got the customer to describe the problem over the phone and I was pretty sure it was a faulty gearbox on a mila mechanism. I arrived to find the mech was completely seized but with the door in the open position and the door wouldn’t close. I removed the mech as the hooks were stuck in the locked position because the tenant had been playing with it before I got there but the door still wouldn’t close with no mech in it. Thinking the door had dropped causing it to catch I thought it would just need the hinges adjusting to get it to close. I went to the outside to see where it was catching and to my surprise it was overlapping the frame by about 10mm in the middle but was normal at the top and bottom. After a lot of head scratching and thinking how it could be catching just in the middle and why the hell was it as much as 10mm? I noticed the side rail which takes the lock was bowed right out in the middle, I looked at the seal on the back of the rail which touches the panel and noticed there was a dirty mark where the seal used to touch, but now the seal was about 10mm from the dirt mark of its original position meaning the middle of the rail had come forwards. It turns out the mech had been catching the keeps so much that they had used that much force to lock it the rail had bowed and popped out in the middle! I had never seen this before so I called a locksmith friend who suggested taking the side bead out to see if the rail would move back. Luckily once the bead was removed the rail easily pushed back into place so I re beaded it and it all held in place nicely. Fitted a new mech and adjusted door and keeps and it all worked good as new. This one was definitely a new one on me I’ve never seen a rail bulge out in the middle like that before. I guess you live and learn.

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