Snapped key in truck ignition

This remnant of a snapped key is about to be finally removed from the ignition barrel. Whenever the broken key extractor kit needs to be used, it is almost always dark and raining.

Removing key snapped in igntion
Pulling snapped key from ignition barrel using a broken key extractor tool

Fitting a cat flap to UPVC door

Not posted anything for a while. Let’s see how long winded fitting a cat flap can be. Customer’s cats wanted a flap fitting but the design of the door prevented a simple installation. The door needed adaptation from a 3 panel/2 bar lower section to a single section panel.

cat flap fitting
Door in original state. 3 panel/2 bar lower section. Panels too narrow to accept a flap.
cat flap fitting
Glass removed to access lower bar securing screws. Lower panels removed. The grey stuff on the frame is the old glazing tape which had to be cut in order to remove the panels. On externally beaded doors and windows either glazing tape or security clips should be fitted to prevent the glass being removed from outside.
locksmith cat flap fitting
Mitre jointing the old beading to fit the size of the new panel. This ensures a neat 45 degree join at the corners.
Locksmith cat flap fitting
New panel fitted (flap already installed). Glass refitted. Door checked for alignment. Cat shown how to use the flap and allowed to read the instructions.

Replacement VW van key.

This job was to replace lost keys for an old imported Brazilian VW. Despite being long discontinued in Europe, this model continued to be made in South America. The first stage (before EEPROM programming a new transponder into the immobiliser) is to make the metal key blade.

We couldn’t manage to decode the locks on the vehicle using a special tool or by impressioning. The importers were unable to provide key information so the only option was to remove the steering wheel,  remove the steering lock then strip the entire ignition lock.

Measuring for the correct point before drilling through the case.

Drilling through the lock case to expose the release button.








Lock is then picked to accessory position exposing the retaining pin on the tail piece, which is then hammered out to free the barrel

Individual wafers removed to be identified (coil springs still in the barrel).








New key cut to the correct code.










Importance of the backup key in a VW Passat dash remote.

VW passat keyA customer was suddenly unable to open his VW Passat using the remote.  The remote battery had gone flat, and by the time the battery had been replaced it had lost synchronisation with the car.  (To start this car the whole remote slots into the dashboard. There is no ignition barrel).

Ordinarily that’s not a problem because the emergency backup key could be used to open the door. Not in this case,  the backup key had been lost. 

Fortunately we were able to open the car for the customer, synchronise the remote again, and cut a replacement backup key for the customer.

If you’ve lost your backup key,  think about what you’d do if the remote is flat, or goes through the washing machine.

Ford Fiesta key

Typically an old, worn Tibbe key will have a similarly worn lock too. This is a Fiesta lock being stripped down. Normally the dustcover has badly worn and will grab a newly cut key and make it difficult, or impossible to remove from the lock.

You can gently file the key faces worn so that that the key can pull out, or just remove the dust cover and keep the key sharp. 

Replacement car keys.

Here are a few keys and remotes that  we’ve programmed recently

Vauxhall Zafira remote


Pink remote chosen for a Ford Fiesta

Old and new Range Rover Vogue remote