Maintaining your locks and what to do if your key is getting stuck

Maintaining your locks and what to do if your key is getting stuck

Often over time locks require maintenance to perform properly and being as they are mechanical devices, are just as prone to lack of maintenance as your car or any other precision piece of engineering. If your key is sticking in the lock here are a few pointers to look out for:

If your lock is working on the catch but not on the key, then examine your key to see if there is anything missing, check its straight and flat along its length, ensure there is nothing catching on it like an oversize keyring and also make sure its spotlessly clean and there is no debris caught in the flutes and the key edge. Also ensure the barrel is not loose in the body which can point to internal damage. In order to work properly a key and it s lock must be in good condition and nice and clean.

If your key is stuck in the lock try holding your finger on the cover plate on the barrel if on a high security front door lock and then try and remove the key, as sometimes the plate can catch the key preventing removal.

If they key is stuck try gently jiggling it left to right and back and forth while trying to either remove or turn it, if it then comes out or the lock opens, then your lock may be old and worn or the mechanism may need a clean. Do not force it, if it wont come out without a minimum of pressure then its best to call me as your lock may sustain damage if you are too heavy handed. To clean a lock you can use specialist sprays but be careful of using things like WD40 as this can cause dirt to stick to the inside and make the problem worse.

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Safe Opening and Post Boxes in Needham and Bures

This week I have had two unusual but very interesting locksmith callouts in the heart of Suffolk. It’s nice to have a bit of variety sometimes and these two jobs definitely qualified as varied. Not what you would call a typical Locksmith task.

The first job I did was out in Needham Market, where I went to visit a customer who runs an Equestrian and Country Clothing shop which has lots of nice things in it.

The task I had before me was to unlock a vintage post box. Quite rare and valuable it was and the owner wanted to restore it to its former glory and place it in the garden as an ornamental feature.

He was going to have it professionally sandblasted and repainted, but first he needed to get into it, which is where I came in. It took a bit of persistence as the lock was very old and stiff, but it paid off and I was able to get in.

This post box was a Royal Mail wall mounted postbox and is fitted with a Chubb Lock and was probably made by WT Allen & Co in London in the 60’s. It’s quite big at about 3 feet tall and 12” deep and is made of cast iron so as you can imagine is quite heavy.

Here are some pre-restoration images of the lovely old postbox:

chubb lock royal mail postbox Royal Mail Postbox Locksmith

royal mail postbox rear vintage postbox locksmith uk

The next job I had was at Bures Primary School and was another unusual request. I was to open an old Safeguard safe. This was quite a small safe but it wouldn’t open. The safe used a cruciform key as well as a combination so was quite a secure little thing.

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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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