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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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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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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