Ipswich Locksmith Tips – When should I change a door lock?

Ipswich Locksmith Tips – When should I change a door lock?

A door that has the correct type of lock and is properly locked is a must in helping prevent burglars getting into your home or business. This is especially true in and around Ipswich where crime seems to be on the rise, it seems not a day goes by without a report of a burglary or break in on the Evening Star website. Replacing a door lock and being proactive about looking after the locks on your house or office entry points is a small price to pay to ensure they are working as they should be. Door locks that are up to date and work well without problems help prevent expensive call-outs from a locksmith and also add defence from intruders. Home or office security should be 100% reliable.

So I am going to run through when you should replace a lock and help you see what to look for.

Worn Locks

A work or corroded door lock is a weakness in how secure your home will be. Old, rusty or worn locks are easier to pick, especially on cars and they get harder to open with the correct key the worse the wear becomes. If you have a lock that has a loose key, jams when you try to unlock, appears corroded or you know it’s worn, it’s time to get it replaced. A worn or corroded lock is just waiting to go wrong and either leave you stuck outside or become an easy picking for a criminal.

Burglary

If you have suffered a burglary or a break in you should immediately see about getting your locks changed. This is a 100% must and I cannot impress on you hard enough how important this is. A break in compromises all of your security,

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Ipswich Locksmith News- April 2015

Customer Locks himself out of a VW Golf

Locksmith Ipswich - VW GolfOn Sunday I had a callout to a customer who had locked himself out of his car, a Volkswagen Golf. He had called his insurance company who sent out a mechanic to try and unlock it, but as the car was deadlocked it was impossible for it to be opened with the tools he had arrived with.

The mechanic had damaged the roof of the car by sticking Gaffer tape on it, just above the door, in an attempt to prevent tools from marking the car. The tape then baked in the sun and caused damage to the paint when it was removed.
Fortunately I was able to get into the car without any fuss or bother and most importantly without further damage to the car or the locks. Another satisfied customer.

Suffolk Car owner locked out of a Ford outside a key cutting shop

Ford Tibbe Locksmith IpswichAnother customer I visited this week had locked himself out of his Ford outside a key cutting shop of all places. The shop had kindly telephoned me on behalf of the customer. Using my specialist tooling from the well respected Locksmith tooling company Safe Ventures, I was able to unlock the car and get the customer on their way.

Older Fords use Tibbe Locks and Safe Ventures provide by far the best tools for these locks. They also do training which I have been on twice and will go again in the near future.

Key Alike Services in Ipswich

3G114E pt 1I provide key alike services which is when customers want the same key to unlock more than one lock. Below is an image of one I did recently for a customer.

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Ipswich Locksmith News – March 2015

Nottingham Locksmith Expo

Last weekend I went to the Annual Locksmith Expo in Nottingham and really enjoyed my time there. It was run over 2 days. It is the annual exhibition for UK Locksmiths and is a trade expo and conference.

There are also demonstrations of locksmith tools and training taking place on the first day. Many large lock and safe companies have exhibits and so it’s a useful event to attend to network and learn about the new advances in lock technology.

I didn’t take any photos as I didn’t want to appear like a tourist but I demoed some of the tools that Outside In Tools supply. A thoroughly enjoyable two days and it was great to put some names to the faces I deal with in my trade. Here is the expo site if you are interested: http://lockexpo.co.uk/

3 Lever Deadlock

Locksmith Ipswich 24 Hour CalloutThis week I had a call-out to visit a customer who had lost the keys to his bedroom. The bunch also had the keys for his front and back door, the keys for four sheds and their padlocks. He was desperate for access to the sheds.
So we agreed for a quick fix to saw the padlocks off as they were the small and cheap varieties you find on eBay or in local pound shops. I also non-destructively unlocked the 3 Lever Deadlock on his bedroom door. He was happy so I was happy. Here is an image of the locksmith work in progress:

Stowmarket Charity Shop Lock Repair

Chubb Locksmith IpswichOn Monday I visited a Charity Shop in Stowmarket. The customer had told me the key was very loose in the lock. I stripped the lock and replaced the curtain and it was working as a brand new lock again.

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Vehicle Locksmith in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk

Over the last week I have had two call outs to attend to owners who have locked themselves out of their vehicles. It is easily done and happens a lot this time of year when people want to keep the warmth inside their cars and keys get misplaced or lost while being dropped with thick gloves on.

The first call out was to visit an owner of a Fiat Ducato Camper Van in Sutton Heath, which is near Woodbridge in Suffolk.They had locked the van keys inside and were just about to head off for a long weekend and came to the realisation it was not going to happen. They phoned me in a bit of a panic and I got to them within 15 minutes as I was in the area. 30 seconds later and they were off on their weekend break to Devon. Happy and smiling which I like to see.

fiat ducato locksmith

The second callout was early on Wednesday morning. A man was late for work as he had locked himself of the car with the keys inside the boot. Unusual as most people lock them in the car itself. The car was a 2005 Mercedes E Class, nice car and not one you want to be locked out of when you are tight for time to get to work. After about 2 minutes of professional locksmithing I was in and the owner set off for work.

2005 Mercedes Locksmith

Using the correct tools and experience allows me to unlock these cars and many other types without damage to the car or lock so if you are worried you may lock yourself out of your vehicle one day its probably a good idea to put my mobile number into your phone: 07873 610131

So what should you do if you lock yourself out of your car or lose your car keys?

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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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A Locksmith Travels Round Suffolk

Being a 24 Hour Locksmith based in Suffolk, I get to travel a lot around our beautiful county and see all the lovely little picture postcard villages, hamlets and rural areas. Over 40% of my work takes me either to the outskirts of Ipswich or into the more rural regions of Suffolk to carry out my locksmith services for various customers.

Some of the roads in Suffolk can be quite tricky and hard to get around especially at this time of year now the light is fading early and winter is starting to set in, luckily I have my trusty van with its torquey diesel engine which allows me to reach even the most inaccessible of areas out in the far corners of East Anglia. It’s a good solid van and is fully fitted out with all the latest locksmith tools, locksmith accessories, lock spares and key cutting equipment.

During the last 2 weeks I have been doing a lot of Locksmith callouts out in rural Suffolk and have been to such places as Long Melford which is in the Stour Valley. The area is famous for some of the paintings that Constable did and it’s very beautiful. It also has a huge village green with a nice church and a street that goes on forever with trees either side of it.

Another place I have been too is Shotley which is a lovely place if you like the coast or estuaries. You can see both Felixstowe Docks and the Harwich Ferry Terminals from the river side. They are both amongst the busiest ports in the world and the Shotley area is a lovely place to go and spend some time in. Unfortunately I do not have time today as duty calls on providing locksmith services for my customers.

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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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Clearing up the mess of National Locksmiths

I have often warned customers via my Social Media pages that its not always a very good idea to use National Locksmith companies. They often employ under-qualified, so called locksmiths with only a few weeks experience, days of experience in some cases.

National Locksmith companies also do not always care about a friendly, professional and local service, going instead for a hit and run approach, all in the pursuit of vast profits for a company that can be based hundreds of miles from Ipswich.

Typically they have head offices in large cities and their services are run like franchises. They often have very unprofessional people who really don’t care about charging you in excess of £150.00 to have your front door taken off its hinges, you are in your now right? So its all good, even if the wind and rain is whistling through the broken window or the door frame is damaged beyond repair.

They then leave with the cash and you are in a bad security predicament that was ten times worse than before and you can’t always claim this sort of damage off your home insurance and even if you can it will take weeks to resolve- that is even if you can find the Locksmith that did the damage in the first place.

It may seem exaggerated, but there are hundreds of unprofessional people masquerading as professional Locksmiths in the UK, they have had a few hours training off the job and don’t really have much experience into how to repair a damaged lock without resorting to a hammer or a drill. These people cause untold damage and monetary pain to vulnerable people and exploit them for money, often many hundreds of pounds and in the end the poor individual has to call in a good local locksmith to repair the damage which causes them to be more out of pocket.

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What actually is a Locksmith?

What actually is a Locksmith?

I am often asked what a Locksmith actually is and what we actually do. There is some confusion around as to what a Locksmith work actually involves.
If you want to comment on what a Locksmith is please feel free to come and join me on Facebook, Google + or Twitter.

According to Wikipedia, the art of the locksmith began as the science of defeating a lock and it goes on to say that a lock is a mechanical device that provides security for buildings, rooms or storage and that a key is often used to open a lock.

Defeating a lock means just that and based on my experience I can open a very high percentage of them without damage. There are a few high security locks that can be hard to get into but on the whole no lock that has been manufactured up until now is capable of resisting being defeated. All it takes is time, experience and the correct specialist tools.

Another part of the locksmiths work is assembling locks, providing keys and designing suitable security systems for a specific premises or object. For instance a bank is going to need far higher security than a shed.

So the work of a Locksmith appears quite simple on the outside but like with a lot of things in life it’s all about how you do it. For example if you call a locksmith and they show up with a large drill and not much else it’s probably time to get out the yellow pages again.

I can open a lock without smashing it to smithereens which it turn saves you money as you don’t have to pay out for a new lock.

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Summer is when most burglaries happen

Now that summer is finally here I am sure most of you are happy and excited. Thieves are happy and excited too as summer makes it easy for them to apply their unwanted skills to our homes and businesses.

As is normal in summer it is very warm and as most of us live in homes that do not have aircon, we like to keep our windows and doors wide open to let in the fresh breezy air coming in from the coast at Felixstowe and up the River Orwell.

Mr Burglar takes this as an open invitation to go and treat your house as a car boot sale. Not because they will just walk in, but more due to the fact that when we go out to the shops or go into the garden we forget to close the windows or lock the back door. All they need is one point of entry and 20 seconds later your games console or expensive hi-fi or entertainment centre has gone along with all of nans’ precious gold.

If you have a home security or alarm in place that warns you if you leave windows or doors open then you are lucky but what do you do if you do not have such a system?

Paul has compiled a handy checklist for you to look through to keep you safer through the summer:

  1. When you go out check all the doors and windows are closed and latched correctly. If you have door bolts, then use them, along with any security chains.
  2. Check that any dark areas are well lit if its in the evening. Light areas deter burglars.
  3. Set the house alarm if you have one.
  4. Buy a small safe and put your spare keys,

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