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Friday, 5 October 2018

Keys ... or how to waste a lot of time and money!

Just over a week ago Sue and I managed to get ourselves locked out of our house. Not realising that I had left my keys in the front door lock on the inside, she shut the door ... and could not lock the door or open the door again from the outside.


Nearly two hours later (and after spending £360.00!) the old lock had been drilled out and replaced. The new lock came with three keys, and I had four copies cut as we like to have spares available to give to people should the need arise.

The new lock lasted a week before it stopped working properly. (It kept jamming, and even using the original keys it proved difficult to lock and unlock.) We called the locksmith who had installed the new lock, and a replacement lock was provided. It also came with three keys ... and then the saga of getting additional keys cut began.

To date we have had five attempts to get new keys cut that will work in the new door locks. To the naked eye they look the same as the original keys ... but they are just sufficiently different not to work. They go in and out of the lock without a problem, but will not engage the lock tumblers exactly, thus making it impossible to lock or unlock the door.

So far I seem to have spent hours driving to and from various key cutters to acquire a set of additional keys that will work. My patience is getting rather thin, especially as I have several other things that I want to be doing (e.g. revising the words of the Masonic ritual I will use this afternoon to Install a new Worshipful Master into the Chair of a Lodge and writing and revising my PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME book).

I finally found someone who could cut keys that worked in our new door lock.

It only took six attempts!

16 comments:

  1. Funny you should mention this. I had a similar experience on a Friday morning two weeks ago after getting my son off to school. The door closed behind me as I took glass out to the recycling bin in the garage, and I was stuck. Locked out. As luck would have it, my wife was hours away at a day-long retreat, so calling her from a neighbor's house was out of the question. After waiting two hours for a locksmith to return my calls, a neighbor lent me his extension ladder, and I climbed through an upper floor window that happened to be unlocked. It was quite the unwanted and time-consuming adventure.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    Replies
    1. Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke (Stokes),

      It is incredibly inconvenient when things like this happen. At least you were able to get in without the need to replace the lock.

      Unfortunately all our windows were locked, and we were left with the choice of getting a locksmith to drill out and replace the security lock or to break a double glazed window unit. The difference in cost was minimal, but at least replacing the lock was quicker and easier than replacing the window.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. I feel your pain!
    Heading for the drinks cabinet as I remember my drilled lock experience
    I think it cost me £140 but that was back in 1994!

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    Replies
    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      The call-out charge for the locksmith was £120.00 (nice money if you can get it!) and the replacement lock was £240.00. Having seen the locksmith at work, I now know that I could replace the lock myself in future. (God forbid that I have to!)

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Bob,
    360pd seems an awful lot for the job...though I guess it is on par with most of the Trades these days...we had a Cistern leaking washer - to 'fix' the problem the Plumber charged us $350 which was unreal....later we had a 'blocked' sewer pipe...ten minutes on the High Pressure Hose and the Plumber charged us $250...I do not know- I guess spending most of your life doing work for $10 and hour makes you think that the Tradies are ripping us off. Anyway- I found that a newly cut key can work a little more freely if it is sprayed with WD40 and worked in-and-out of the Lock and turned to provide smooth operation...this is what I did when building Security Tripple-Way Lock Doors some 20 Years ago ( I use to build 30 Doors a week plus other things like Security Grills and Side Lights)...I guess you'd have some form of 'Magic Lubricant' equivalent to WD40 and available there in England. Best Wishes. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      We actually have insurance that covers us for electrical, gas supply, water supply, drainage, and sewerage emergencies ... but not for windows or keys! We took the insurance out specifically so that we would not have to payout the huge call-out charges these trades can demand ... and when you are locked out, you will pretty well pay whatever it costs to get back in!

      I have used WD40 on the new keys and lock, but it hasn't done anything other than make it easier to slide the additional keys in and out. I have now discovered that the key blank cannot be a generic one, but has to be one supplied by the lock company. Apparently it looks like a generic blank but the size is minutely different.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Sorry to hear of your problems with the lock and even more so of the frustrations involved in getting working extra keys. As Kev says it does seem an awful lot of money but so much these days depends on the kind of door and locks that you are dealing with. We still have our original (nearly 80 years old) wooden door with the mortice and rim locks I fitted years ago. The former seems extremely reliable, the latter less so but if it fails again I can drill it out and get a new cylinder for about a tenner. Sometimes old tech can be easier on the pocket!

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    Replies
    1. Mike Hall,

      Living in London, unless I want to pay huge insurance premiums for our house contents insurance, our doors and locks have to conform to the highest standards laid down by the insurance industry. The insurers would not countenance a wooden door with mortice and rim locks and cover us ... which is rather stupid in our case as we live in one of the least crime-affected wards in the whole of London. The insurers just see a London postal address ... and as a result we have to pay a higher than necessary insurance premium.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I do live in London – if only just, I’m sitting at my PC desk looking out over open downland and the two streets that separate me from the countryside are hidden down in the valley – but it’s still a London post code, so your reply sent me scurrying to check my home insurance policy. No mention at all of doors, locks or security, just an anodyne reference to taking “all reasonable care to prevent loss”. This surprised me enough that I phoned the company and they confirmed that there were no special security requirements, I don’t even need window locks (though I do of course have them and the door locks do meet the appropriate British/European standards).

      It looks like there are major differences between companies or that some are more refined when it comes to the rules they apply to individual post codes. Mind you, my cover is not particularly cheap, though I put this down to being a stereotypical loyal customer who accepts automatic renewals (being too lazy to go through all the hassle of checking whether each cheap quote really cover the contents of my garden buildings and the like).

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    3. Mike Hall,

      I live in South East London, which many insurance companies regard as a high crime area. The statistics for our ward are amongst the lowest in London, but we have to abide by the same conditions as everyone else in SE18 and have lockable windows (which must be closed and locked whenever the house is unoccupied) and six-point locking doors (which must also be double locked when the house is empty).

      A real example of 'the computer says ... '!

      We had all sorts of problems getting compulsory flooding insurance removed from our buildings insurance. Apparently SE18 has a risk of flooding ... but we live near the top if Shooters Hill, which is over 300' high. If our house has a chance of flooding, then insurance will be the last of our worries!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Good grief. One of the things we take for granted but stops everything when it doesn't work.

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    1. David Cooke,

      The panic that one can feel when one cannot get into ones home is quite intense ... and one is willing to pay loads of money to solve the problem.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. A few years ago I trimmed the top of the front door as it kept sticking. So next time I went outside, it swung to behind me didn't it? I still haven't repaired the glass panel I broke getting back in. The tile patch I put over the panel works quite satisfactorily at keeping out breezes, cats and sundry unwanted visitors...

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    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      Life can be like that; you cure one problem and it leads to another!

      I doubt that a tile patch would keep out unwanted visitors in London, even where I live, which is a very low-crime area. It must be great to live somewhere where checking that your home is 100% secure before you go out isn't so ingrained that you don't even think about having to do it anymore.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. YIKES!!! I'm rather fond of locks that can't be locked without turning the key in them.

    But this makes me glad I live in the country and have nothing worth stealing. (not to mention hounds ready to sound an alarm that would discourage all but the bravest) No need to go into details of our house security, lets just say I don't worry about losing my keys.

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    1. Ross Mac,

      One of the 'joys' of living in a city is the need to be aware that our society contains those whose concepts of personal property etc., are not the same as ones own.

      It is one of those wonderful myths that it was not always like that, but as one of my relatives once said (in agreement with yourself), 'we never locked our doors because we never had anything worth stealing!'

      All the best,

      Bob

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