You may have noticed over the past month or so that I haven’t been posting as regularly as normal. The idea is to post a couple of items a month but with work being busy lately it’s sometimes hard to find the time to keep up with posting new content. So here’s another instalment of “A Day in the Life of a Locksmith”

Avocet ABS Opening

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a lady whose handbag had been stolen with the house keys in, so now she was locked out. She knew that the lock was an Avocet ABS and she admitted I was not the first locksmith she had rung. The lady had already had 3 different locksmiths tell her they would not attend the job because it was an ABS and they either didn’t want to get involved or couldn’t open it. Because of being a locksmith in West Yorkshire I have had to open quite a lot of ABS euros as well as just about every other brand of anti snap lock on the market so I had no problems in agreeing to tackle the job.

I arrived on site to find an ABS euro on a composite door with a Fullex Mechanism, I could tell it was a Fullex because it had the standard Fullex 68mm handles. I can usually get an ABS cylinder open in under 10 minutes from start to finish if I’m using destructive entry but I always tell the customer it could be about  45 minutes as these cylinders are difficult to open, just to give myself a little bit of breathing space in case there are any complications in opening the lock. I’m certainly glad I said 45 in this case as it turned out to be a complete head ache!

First thing I always do when using destructive entry on one of these locks is use a lock puller to try and break the cylinder at the second weak spot just before the cam which then seizes the cam solid. Once I can get to the seized cam I have a way of releasing the cam and opening the door. I’m certainly not going to say how I do it as pretty much every locksmith reading this post will know what to do next to get the cam moving using destructive entry and I don’t want to publish the information for the general public to read.

So I tried using the puller but just the first sacrificial part of the cylinder broke away, I thought this was strange as the puller always bypasses the sacrificial cut (maybe the screw wasn’t in far enough). Still I was thinking that this was not going to matter too much as I could just put another screw in and repeat the process to break the lock at the second weak spot. So I tried to pull the second part of the cylinder. The remaining part of the lock started to move and come forwards as if it was going to come out like normal but then all of sudden it stopped and the head snapped from the pull screw. When I took the puller off to have a look in the door and see what was going on I spotted it had anti snap brackets fitted to the door as well! This was not what I wanted to see, the lock had snapped at the second weak spot so the cam locking mechanism had activated but the second half of the cylinder had only come forwards a couple of millimetres before getting stuck in the anti snap brackets. So now I was left with a seized cam but with no way of getting to the cam to do anything with it because there was half a broken cylinder jammed right in front of it.

After 40 minutes of banging, pulling, drilling and a lot of cursing I finally got it open much to the customer’s relief. If the locksmiths who turned down the job were thinking this was just a normal ABS gain entry and they wouldn’t touch it god knows what they would have done with this one. I can easily say this is by far the hardest ABS I’ve ever done and hopefully it will be the hardest one I ever have to do.

I’m sure there are a few people reading this who are thinking why did I not try and pick it? The reason is that it was a lost key anyway with no spares inside, it was also a MK3 with trap pins and I didn’t know it had anti snap brackets on it until it was too late!

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