A Day in the life of a Locksmith

My day is filled with all sorts of locksmithing treasures both good and bad. So I thought I would share an average day with you all so you can see what the working life of a locksmith is all about.

Like most working people I get up early and have a nice cuppa in the morning with the family (if I haven’t had any midnight emergency callouts) and prepare for the day by loading all my gear into my van. If I haven’t got any prearranged appointments I will do some things in the workshop like key cutting or cleaning my locksmith tooling after seeing the little ones off to school. Today is mostly prearranged call outs so it’s easier to plan what I am going to do.

I am not due at the customer until 11:30 so I spend some time cleaning and maintaining my decoders and also decoding some locks to make keys. This lock decoder is a Fortress mounted in a Bernstien Swivel Vice and is a neat bit of kit.

A decoder basically allows a locksmith to determine the correct positioning of components in a lock by manipulation, measurement and looking at what the lock is doing while moving it around. It doesn’t always pick the lock as such but gives me the information I need to produce a key.

I also spend some time practicing lock “bumping” on a euro cylinder lock. Bumping is an old and traditional way of lock picking. Like all things, its best to practise as you keep your skills honed and it’s better on the job if you are fast and efficient. The last thing you want to be doing is spending ages opening an exterior lock when the customer and you are stood out in the pouring rain.

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Don’t let cowboys throw away your antique locks

I had an instance last week where I was called out to a restaurant in Hadleigh. The building that the restaurant was in was well over a century old and very nice, with loads of period features typical of a building built around the turn of the last century.

The locks securing the restaurant were some 120 years old and unusual to find these days, but a good quality set of brass Victorian locks mounted in a cast iron chassis, as most things made years ago were. Being collectable they are probably worth in the region of £200-350 if you were to buy another set.

The restaurant owner had previously called a locksmith out that morning to have one of the locks fixed as it was not working and had broken internally. The locksmith that arrived was highly unprofessional and before even looking at the lock had charged a £100 call out fee, something I do not and will not ever do.

Without liaising with the owner of the restaurant, who was extremely proud of his well kept building, they proceeded to remove the old locks from the antique doors and threw them away in the bin. Bear in mind that this was an irreplaceable set of locks and an antique door that had years of wear and patina on it and were highly collectable and valuable locks.

They fitted a new style Chubb lock to the restaurant door and then charged the owner £400 for the job as it was a “difficult” install due to the nature of the building and its age. As you can imagine the owner was livid and quite saddened that his antique building had been violated in such a manner. He argued the cost with the Locksmiths,

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