The last month has not been bad work wise and for some reason work seems to be picking up. In between my usual locksmith jobs I’ve also been busy working on a new Castleford Locksmiths website for my self. There are a couple of jobs this month that really stick in my mind but for completely different reasons, one was a Upvc nightmare and the other was a police break in.

The Police Break In

At the start of the month a guy rang me from a maintenance company that look after all the flats in two modern blocks near Leeds city centre. He explained there had been a police break in at one of the flats the night before and he had boarded up the door but the tenant was coming back that day and wanted me to see if I could make the door usable again. When he said the phrase “make it usable again” I knew the door would be in a bad state.

When I arrived I took the board off to find a wood door with a metal skin and wood frame. It looked like there had been an explosion, there were the remains of Era mechanism on the floor and bits of wood and plaster everywhere. The door was in a really bad way, the metal skin was riddled with enforcer marks from top to bottom on the locking side and the wood was split all the way down the length of the door. Oddly though there was hardly any damage to the frame. After looking at how bent the mechanism was and how bent the edge of the door was I think the hooks had twisted to such a funny angle that the door popped open meaning there was hardly any frame damage on the lock side. All the doors in this block of flats have to be ordered from a certain company so they all match and they couldn’t supply a new door for 7 days so even though anything I did to it would only be temporary I needed to make it as usable as possible. I decided to piece the door back together as much as I could and then fixed the metal skin back to the door where it had come away in places. The original handles were not that badly damaged so I decided to reuse them and fitted a new euro lock and overnight lock as there was not point trying to get a brand new Era mechanism in there because it would of ended up in the skip when the new door arrived so was not cost effective for the customer.

I was quite pleased with the end result as it didn’t look that bad (apart from all the enforcer marks!) and opened, closed and locked just fine. All the time I was working there the maintenance guy was chatting to me and told me that the police had broken into the wrong flat and were going to pay for the new door once it had been fitted. The next day I got another call from the maintenance guy, I was expecting him to say there was a problem with the lock or with the bill, but what he actual said was “can you come back and do another one?” The police had been back again and done exactly the same thing to another flat looking for the same guy, and guess what? It was the wrong flat again!

I’ve posted some pictures below of the two doors.

Door 1Door 2


Door 3

Door 4


Upvc Nightmare!

I had to go open and change a faulty Upvc door mechanism just a few days ago. The customer rang at the beginning of last week and said the door was getting really difficult to lock and wouldn’t even lock in the open position. He didn’t want it doing straight away as he had an inner door so I advised him it was probably a faulty mechanism and not to mess with it any more. I asked him to look on the strip for a name and he said it was an Excalibur which I had never heard of before. A couple of days later he rang back to say he had tried to lock it again and now it wouldn’t open because the handle was spinning 360 degrees, so now I was 99.9% sure it was a broken follower in the gearbox. I asked on the Island locks forum to see if anybody else had heard of Excalibur and got a reply from Simon who said I could get one from Greenfox. When I looked on the Greenfox website there were two different gear boxes, both were 35 mm but one had a single 92 mm follower and one had a dual follower. As I hadn’t seen the door yet I thought I would be clever and order the dual follower version so it wouldn’t matter if I needed a 92 mm or a 70 mm I would have it covered. It turns out that was not so clever! I arrived at the customer’s house to find the hooks were only just catching as the mechanism had broken just as the guy was starting to lift the handle, so I popped it open in seconds using the spreader. I took the mechanism out and saw it was the exactly same gearbox apart from the old one only had a single 92 mm follower. I swapped the gearbox over and started to refit the mechanism but one of the handle screws wouldn’t go through. I removed the mech again to see what was going on and realised that above the 70 mm follower there was no hole for the handle screw to go through the gearbox due to the extra workings needed for the 70 mm part. I looked at the original and it had a blanking disc over where the bottom follower should be with a half moon shape in it for the handle screw to pass through.

I decided to open the gearboxes up to see if I could take the blanking disc out of the old gearbox and swap it into the new one. I removed all the workings for the bottom follower and popped the blanking disc in from the old gear box, it swapped over fairly easy and looked like it was going to work. That was until it came time to replace the latch and the latch spring which had popped out when I opened the case. I have never seen one so difficult to put back in. The latch spring was under so much tension that as soon as I let go it flew out every time, and due to the design of the case the latch had to be pressed in when putting the case lid back on. So with only two hands I was trying to hold the spring in place, push the latch in and put the lid back on the case. It took me over an hour to put the case back together properly, I nearly ended up just binning it and buying the correct one but fortunately it did work once everything was refitted but I wouldn’t recommend ever trying it!



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