Garador lock (pre 1984) replacement

Keys were lost to this old (pre 1984) style garage door lock in the Forest of Dean. A key could be obtained to the code on the lock but that leaves the missing key unaccounted for. Simplest and most secure was to pick the lock on the back of the handle to enable it to be replaced for a brand new lock.

Pre-1984 Garador handle
Pre 1984 style Garador lock.
Pre 1984 Garador lock
Pre-1984 Garador up and over door lock.

Although the lock above is Union branded they are commonly seen with the L&F variant.

Importance of UPVC door alignment

If your UPVC door is difficult to lock, or hitting the frame – get it adjusted. Leaving it will end up breaking the mechanism and being unable to open your door, or unable to lock it.

Wo0rn UPVC roller

Take a look at the part above and how extremely worn it is. It is part of the mechanism of a UPVC front door that eventually jammed shut. This door must have been wearing against the frame for several years. We were called to open the door and carry out repairs. Repeated strain and force required to lift the handle eventually broke the gearbox. A simple adjustment would have stopped this from happening.

Some unusual multipoint mechanisms can cost over £200 just for the part.

UPVC door repair

We were called to repair a set of UPVC French doors. The door could not be locked because the multipoint mechanism had broken. This was caused by the door swinging open with such force against the wall that it was ripping the door off its hinges. This in turn caused the door to drop out of alignment.

UPVC door hinge repair
Middle hinge screws as found. Some bent, some snapped, some stripped out of the plastic.
UPVC hinge screws
Top hinge screws as found.

Because of the failed gearbox the customer had temporarily secured the doors by tying the handles together with a shoelace.

UPVC door gearbox
Broken multipoint gearbox and ‘security’ shoelace.

If you are experiencing any difficulty locking a UPVC door, 90% of the time it is due to mis-alignment. Unless you get the door correctly adjusted the gearbox will fail. This will result in a door jammed shut, or cannot be locked.

Replacement Ford car keys.

Not much going on here at the moment. Most people are already locked down at home, they’re not losing car keys or locking themselves out.

Here are some pictures of the replacement of keys for a ’93 Ford barn find. It is possible to make a key without having to strip the lock but I wanted to clean inside the lock as the grease was like treacle.

Ford Tibbe stripped
Lock picked and removed from the steering column. Tibbe lock now stripped for cleaning.
Cutting Ford Tibbe key
Ford Tibbe key being cut. 6 cuts per face, 4 different depths. 24 separate cuts. (A Jaguar Tibbe would have 8 cuts with 3 depths).
Ford Tibbe ignition barrel
New key cut, ready for re-installation into the steering column.

COVID-19. We are open.

Locked in? Locked out? Unable to secure your property? If you need an emergency locksmith we will still aim to help you whilst maintaining social distancing and taking necessary precautions.

If your routine maintenance can wait until the risk is lower then please wait!

During this special period our locksmith services cover Mitcheldean, Cinderford, Coleford, Ross on Wye and the Forest of Dean in general.

Look after the vulnerable. Help where possible. Stay safe.

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

We use dedicated broken key extraction tools to remove snapped parts of key. Sometimes it may need 2 or 3 tools in the lock to get the part out. On occasion it will be necessary to remove the lock and strip it down to remove the broken part.

To replace the key it may be possible just to clamp the broken parts together in a trace-cutter. Or failing that the key can be read by eye or software or cut from code. In many cases it is possible to decode the lock itself. In most cases it is possible to cut a new key even if parts or all of the original key are missing.

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.

Non destructive entry of British Standard mortice

British standard lock picked open

We picked this British Standard 5 lever lock to open a commercial premises for the client. The main key had been lost and the spare key was several hours away.

BS locks are designed to be difficult to open without the key. They have to have a certain number of possible keys, a minimum specific time for a cutting attack on the bolt, and various other limits. They certainly aren’t easy to pick unless you know what you’re doing. This lock is a Union Strongbolt and is one of the more common locks.

Replacement VW van key.

This job was to replace lost keys for an imported Brazilian VW Transporter. Despite being long discontinued in Europe, this particular 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.

The vehicle had sat for several years without moving.  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.