Mortise Lock - lost keys

Discussion in 'Windows and Doors' started by b0ne5ish, 19 Feb 2007.

  1. b0ne5ish

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    Hello,

    The keys to my back door have been lost, 0 chance of finding them. Is there a way to change the mortise lock myself without calling a locksmith. Door is a hardwood door which is expensive and isn't painted so not keen on damaging it if possible. I am reasonably competent at DIY.

    Thanks,
    Stevo
     
  2. HandyHands

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    If the door is locked, then I'd say you have zero chance of opening it without doing some damage to the door. Call a locksmith, who should be able to open it without any damage, and then you can change the lock yourself to save some money.

    £40-£60 should see the door open - get the locksmith to quote you a fixed opening price before they attend, and ask them if they have curtain picks or decoders to open the lock non-destructively.

    Don't use one of the nationals (big adverts in YP), as you'll likely get a 2-day course wonder armed with a cordless drill. Use a local lockie if possible, and ask around for recommendations.

    Out of interest - do you know what make of lock it is ?
     
  3. Eric Sullivan

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    A locksmith should also be able to cut a key to the lock, once it is out or change the wards to suit a new key. Saying that, if it is a cheapo lock, don't bother, take the opportunity to upgrade to an insurance approved lock. Consider attacking it with a disc cutter through the gap between the door and the frame if it is wide enough. It takes seconds and if you are careful you shouldn't need to damage the door.
     
  4. HandyHands

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    Even with steady hands, you will scuff or gouge the woodwork with the disc. The only way to minimise the damage would be to insert something alongside the disc to act as a buffer - assumes you have the space, and not too bothered about losing a finger or 2.

    Weigh up the time/cost to source a grinder with a 1mm cutting disc.
    Add to this your time in faffing around trying to cut the bolt.
    (Add a bit extra for a visit to A&E if you're not careful).
    Add more time and cost to fill in the gouge/scratch marks and paint/stain over.
    Add even more time to buy and fit a replacement lock.

    Don't be tight - get a pro to do it.
     
  5. ModernMaterials

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    I had exactly the same problem some years ago and decided to cut the deadlock out with a hacksawblade screwed into a wooden handle (a padsaw i believe this is called) first few seconds was great as it ripped throught he brass in no time. Then i hit the first of 3 hardened steel pins (you might have more in your one)

    Anyhoo, 3 days (off and on working) and about 5 hacksaw blades later, i cut the thing out and was able to open the door. There was certainly some scuffing on the door edge as i recall but front and rear faces were not damaged.

    I would not bother doing this again though, i would pay a locksmith to pick the lock or get the locksmith to make a key for it, if that is possible.
     
  6. salem2000

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    If the door is locked. As long as hinge bolts are not fitted, you should be able to remove the pins in the hinges and remove the door from the frame. the lock can then be replaced by matching it with one at your local store/locksmiths. If this method is used, you will need to replace the hinges as well.

    It is often cheeper to replace the lock, than have an old lock keyed, and as this is takes time to do you can't lock the door.
     
  7. b0ne5ish

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    Update.

    Thanks, for the tips. I managed to borrow a grinder from the other halfs dad. I hammered some wooden wedges in between the frame and the door to open the gap a little (tip from a local lock firm) and let rip with the grinder.....

    Well I got through the lock pretty quick, took a small chunk out of the door, but not too bad you can't really notice. The grinder went bang just after cutting through the bolt and loads of smoke came out of it. The switch on the fuse board clicked down and the room filled with an acrid smell.

    So £60 for a new grinder and £20 for a new lock. Would have been really cheap compared to calling a locksmith had the grinder not blown up, just my luck it was on it's last legs as I got hold of it...

    On a slightly different note, when I went to the local lock shop the tradesmen there were saying it would have cost me a £65 call out fee + 1 hours labour (another £65) + cost of a new lock.

    How difficult is this locksmith lark? I work in IT but am reasonable at DIY and found changing that lock and 2 euro locks on my patio doors pretty simple. With the threat of redundancy always present in IT and the thought of being able to work for myself very appealing, it's something I would not mind investigating. Has anyone been on one of the 5 day courses I see advertised on the net (Master Locksmiths Association) for example? Is there a lot to it?

    Cheers.
     
  8. HandyHands

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  9. Softus

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    Just noticed this part of this post Eric - it makes my blood boil that you're suggesting something so dangerous, without a trace of a hint of a suggestion of a warning. :evil:
     
  10. salem2000

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    Some people will do anything to save a little time & effort.. :rolleyes:

    Most BS approved locks have hardened steel rollers within the lock bolt, these can snag and shatter a grinding disk in seconds, not to mention it gatting jammed between the door and frame and kicking back, that is one reason locksmiths don't do it.
     

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