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Locksmithing 101 Techniques to Avoid A Brain Teaser on Residential Locks

If you do residential lock work, you will run into a wide variety of import style, kind of no-name brand locks, okay, now they will vary in quality, some are good, and some are not so good. However, you'll find a similarity between them that most of them come apart from the same way; they all kind of use the same design. Now, the thing with this design on knobs, especially like this, if you don't have proper technique, this cylinder will fall into this hollow knob housing here. It's going to turn into one of those brain teaser puzzles that you buy at a souvenir shop, and you're going to be sitting there playing with it, which ain't might be your thing, might be fun, but it's not fun when you're in the middle of a rekey trying to get the job done. So let me show you a couple of techniques you'll always want to use when you're taking these residential knobs apart. 


When you have the locked off the door, it will look like this here, to some degree, as far as the knob design goes. The back of it, what you want to do is you want to get it opened up here, have it open so that you can turn it and for that detent is here, you can poke down and pull the whole knob off.


I'm talking about this because when you pull the knob off, make sure you have your key, and I typically have it in like halfway like this. It can even be a blank key or any just random key, but you want to have something if that cylinder automatically falls.


Keep your key halfway. Turn the knob, push down here on the detent, like that. And then, as you can see, it started already to pop it off.


And so I'll continue to pull it. Now, when I'm doing this, the little cover behind here. That will be prying off here in a moment. I want to keep it intact because that's what holds the cylinder in, and that's why I'm keeping the key. I'm going to go in and pull it off all the way.



Look at how loose the cylinder is. It's already dropping in there. That's why you want that key on there because you don't want to turn it into one of those mind teasers that quickly.

Now we're going to pry the cover off. Sometimes it can be a little difficult; however, we tend to want to take the key out and set it down to pry. I'm not into that because I've done that, and then the cylinder gets trapped; you don't want to do that. So keep the key in half and gently start prying it until we have that off.

Once you take it off, you can see the cylinder. I mean, it wants to fall right in there, it can quickly drop, it can go around, and that's not fun. Okay, so once you get it in there, what I want you to do is put your finger on it, your index finger here, and push in.

So now, it's solid. Even if I move the key and try to push it in, it's solid. At this point, we're going to take the key out with your finger pushing pressure down on the back.

And we're going to make sure it's aligned. And then slowly, have a finger on both ends. Always keep both fingers on there, and then start pushing the cylinder out. Use your pinky or whatever you must; if it's smaller, make sure you have pushed the cylinder out. Okay, so that's what we must do.


Let me put it back in. I'll show it to you again, and you're going to put the key. So let's say you rekey it right now, we take this apart, we rekey it, no big deal. Now, we want to put it back together, so you want to do the same thing. So I already have my right-hand finger in here because I want to catch the cylinder's face and start applying pressure. Find that with your finger to make it stable. From then, push slowly and let it move your right finger out.

While your left hand is still applying pressure to the cylinder, get the key back in using your right hand. Now, it's not going to go anywhere because you have the key in there just like that. That's a significant thing to do.


Put the cover piece back on.


Once again, you want to feel like you want to take the key out, set it there and put it all back together; you do not want to do that. You want to keep that key and hold it up like this; there's going to push this back on. Soon as we got it there, we'll go ahead and put it back together.


So get that, put in here, push this back on. There we go. And we're good to go here.


So that's how you're going to want to do it; you always want to make sure you're keeping the key in. When the cylinder is in the lock, you want to keep the key in, and when you take that cylinder out, you're going to want to replace the key with your finger on both ends and gently bring it out. That's how you're going to want to do it.


 It's so important when you encounter these imported style locks in the field. They use the proper techniques to get them apart. But I'd love to know, have you ever found yourself in a situation with that knob with that cylinder dropped inside that knob? It's quite the little brain teaser. If you haven't and you like that kind of thing, drop one in there and see how long it takes you to get out when you're not on the job. I'd love to know what you think in the comments below. Thanks, and we'll see you next time! 

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