All in a Day’s Work for a locksmith

The variety we get here at Linacre Locksmiths is enormous. Many people think all locksmiths do is open locks, and maybe replace broken ones. While that is certainly part of our day to day job, there is plenty of other things we do.  Here are a couple of recent examples of the variety we get asked to deal with.

This still makes me laugh even after 14 years – the Fountains of Doom. Gearbox had failed due to stress caused by misalignment of this upvc door – it had dropped due to the weight of water within and was half an inch out at top.  This meant the rollers didn’t engage correctly with the keeps on the frame so more and more force was being applied to the lifting the handles up and so eventually the internals of the mechanism gave way, causing the lock to jam and not be able to be opened.  After opening the door i started to remove the screws on the strip, ultimately reaching the last two, and lo and behold, jets of water came streaming out. Took a good 10 minutes to drain although was still still dripping slightly when I left half an hour later.

Customer was going to speak to a upvc repair company to get the seals replaced and drain holes cleared.

Another of this week’s jobs saw a customer try his hand at doing it himself. He knew his upvc door gearbox had broken in his front door and had attempted a DIY removal and replacement. He had removed the entire mechanism from the door, and opened up the lockcase and diagnosed which small part had broken. Put it all back together, measured to order a replacement gearbox, refitted the mechanism back in the door, shut door then couldn’t re-open. He tried all sorts of drill bits to figure out why it wouldn’t open. Drilling into the latchbolt assembly didn’t help him of course. He had to call a locksmith in the end (me) to open door and then fit his eBay ordered lock.

Seeing this sort of variety certainly keeps me entertained and makes an occasional change from the humdrum. And it is what makes this job so enjoyable.  I wouldn’t want to do anything else!


The importance of good security for your upvc doors

The advantages and security of upvc doors are obvious and are installed on millions of properties throughout the country. The sense of security we get when we lift the handle up to lock and all those multiple locking points come into play. We feel secure. But just how secure are they really?

Every locksmith will tell you that the weakest point of every upvc door is the cylinder. The locking mechanism can throw out a hundred locking points such as hooks and deadbolts, but if the cylinder gets compromised then the handle goes down and the door opens. These upvc doors have been around for a few decades now and many still have the same original euro cylinders fitted. Many home owners pay little attention to security especially if they have never been broken into before. Criminals however are always looking for ways to defeat locks and break into properties quickly. And so lock snapping is on the rise as a preferred method of entry. The most basic of tools are required and is a fairly quiet method of gaining entry. Here is a picture of a burglary we saw yesterday where such a method was used…

As you can see the burglar destroyed the handle and cylinder in order to remove it and access the internals of the locking mechanism to unlock the door. The burglar then moved through the conservatory and onto the upvc sliding door.  If you think they are more secure think again…

Full entry gained to house in probably less than 5 minutes.

So what can the home owner do to prevent this? Well the answer is simple. There are higher standards these days for cylinders which mean they can be tested against many forms of attack, such as drilling, snapping, plug pulling and simple lock picking. Most euro cylinders on most homes are standard 5 or 6 pin cylinders not meeting any specific testing criteria (mainly because these tests came out many years after their original installation). More recent cylinders have appeared which carry the British Standard BS kitemark logo. And now they also carry a ‘star’ rating.

In general terms there are three ‘classes’ of euro cylinders. The countless thousands fitted to thousands of doors, some 10 or 20+ years old which carry no specific standard, or a basic level one. Then there are the more recent, more tested, more secure ones. Ones which carry the BS kitemark logo and also show a single star, or the higher class of 3 stars. Guess which is the best, most secure version!

When choosing a cylinder why compromise just to save a few quid? Think how much more you could lose to a burglar. When choosing to replace your cylinders there are two main criteria to look for:-

The SS312 rated locks are the highest possible standard you can currently get and these locks have been tested using all known burglar techniques, also employing the very tools the burglars use.

The TS007:2012 3 star cylinder is also a very high rating one and has passed anti snapping tests.

Be aware that there are kitemark TS007 cylinders with only 1 star on them. This doesn’t mean they are poor locks, but just that they have not necessarily been tested for their anti-snap capability. So what brands carry the top SS312 rating?  Here are a few to look for…

  • ABS Mk3
  • ERA Fortress
  • UAP Kinetica 3 Star
  • Avocet ATK
  • Ultion (Brisant)

Many brands offer the TS007 3 star and are also very good…

  • Yale
  • Asec Kite
  • GeGe
  • BKS
  • Iseo

and many others.

In truth there is no real point in fitting a 1 star euro cylinder when for a few pounds extra you can get a 3 star one and have that important peace of mind. Cost wise each 3 star cylinder is around £45 but surely that is worth spending when it comes to protecting your home, valuables and family. Increase your security and reduce risk.

Ask Linacre Locksmiths for advice and recommendations, and we can order and fit them for you.

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A rather amusing upvc door issue us locksmiths occasionally encounter

Not for the first time have I seen this, though it is rare.  Linacre Locksmiths were called out to replace a full length multipoint locking strip today by a customer who had complained that her door had ‘dropped’ and was difficult to lock for a while.  Over time this had meant the mechanism was getting forced harder and harder to operate. The lock eventually failed. I undid screws from top downwards and when I was within 2 feet from the bottom, on removing the screw a jet of water shot out.


This jet continued for about 5 mins, then as I work down to remove the lower screws more water came out. Must have been a gallon in the door. No wonder it had dropped with all that extra weight.

This can happen with outward opening doors, especially old ones, as rain water can seep into the old shrunken rubber seals and enter door cavity. Normally there are drain holes at the bottom of the doors to allow this water to escape but over time they get clogged with dirt, moss etc and bung the holes up.

So if your door feels ‘heavy’, or if it seems to have dropped excessively then maybe yours too has water trapped.  Check any visible drainage holes and clear out any debris. That includes drainage holes in the threshold (sill) too. Of course, other causes can result in doors misaligning and locking points not engaging with their keeps on the frame correctly, leading to stress damage.

Just give us a call to resolve and lock issues you have, and hopefully prevent an expensive replacement of parts.