Late night locksmith call out due to a £1 spring

Shortly before midnight we were called to secure a UPVC house door. Their only key had snapped in the lock and the door could not be secured.

This was all caused just because of the broken springs in the handles. The weight of the handle was causing them to droop rather than them returning to centre. As a result the mechanism hadn’t set correctly and it took excessive force to turn the key.

UPVC handle spring cassettes

Because the customer had been ignoring the droopy handle it ended being a lot more costly than it would just to change the springs. A droopy or floppy handle might just look unsightly, but it could potentially cause your entire door to be jammed shut, or unlockable. Luckily in this case the key broke before the multipoint mechanism did.

A repair or adjustment to a UPVC door or window is almost always more economical than a complete replacement.

UPVC door mechanism repair – again

We are very busy for door repairs this week. Normally they peak early spring/late autumn. Shown below are parts of a very clearly broken top case. This particular part is long since discontinued but somebody makes a repair part for the case. This make/model full length mechanism is also unobtainable, although the gearboxes can be found.

Because the gearbox (not shown) has an odd PZ (handle-spindle distance) a complete replacement with modern mechanism would have been more expensive than a repair, and also required new handles to fit the modern handle-spindle distance.

UPVC repair top case

Double glazing & UPVC repairs are normally far, far cheaper than replacing the entire window or door. Recently we repaired a door during the afternoon for over £1000 less than the price the customer was quoted for a replacement door earlier that morning.

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
Hinges damaged due to door swinging open
UPVC door repair

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

VW ignition lock
Stripped VW ignition lock

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 snapped car key
Pulling snapped key from ignition barrel

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.
locksmith cat flap fitting
Mitre jointing the old beading to fit the new panel
Locksmith cat flap fitting
Cat flap fitting

Non destructive entry of British Standard mortice

Mortice lock opening - non destructive

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.