Ever wrestled with a lock so stiff you felt like you were breaking into your own home? Fear not, fellow locksmiths, for I bring tidings of smooth turns and easy entries. Let's dive into the art of un-stiffening those stubborn locks, ensuring your toolkit is as sharp as your wit. Whether it's a customer's front door that's acting more like a vault door or your own lock that's seen better days, these tips will have you turning keys smoother than a jazz ensemble.
1. Lubricate That Lock
Choose Your Lubricant Wisely: Not all heroes wear capes, and not all lubricants are created equal. For locks, Houdini is the escape artist you need. Why? Because it works wonders under extreme conditions without attracting dust or gumming up.
Application Technique: A couple of sprays inside the lock, followed by a key dance – insert and remove the key a few times to spread the love (or lubricant, in this case) around the pin tumblers or wafers. This method alone solves about 80% of stiff lock complaints.
2. The Worn Key Saga
Identifying a Worn Key: Sometimes, the key looks fine, but closer inspection (or a key gauge/micrometer) reveals it's not up to its factory specs. Especially tricky if the key's been recently duplicated but still fails to perform.
Back to Basics: If the key is the culprit, restoring it to its original glory (specs, really) is your next move. This might just be the key (pun intended) to a smooth operation.
3. Worn Wafers or Pin Tumblers
Visual Inspection: A side-by-side comparison of new vs. worn wafers/pin tumblers can be quite enlightening. Honda locks, for example, are notorious for this issue.
The Fix: Sometimes, a new key might offer a temporary fix, but worn hardware often requires more drastic measures. Whether it's a full lock replacement or a detailed rebuild, this step ensures the lock returns to its former, less stiff self.
Locksmithing is as much about finesse as it is about force. From the gentle art of lubrication to the precise science of key and lock maintenance, these tips should arm you with the knowledge to tackle any stiff lock that comes your way. And remember, every lock is a puzzle waiting to be solved – with the right touch, even the stiffest of them can turn as smoothly as butter.
Article by PJ Slauson
In 2004, PJ Slauson (then only 19 years old) was working as a locksmith for his dad’s locksmith company and going to college. His dad had a little DBA side business selling locksmith supplies to locals. He had a few shelves in the back of his key shop with some keychains and padlocks which PJ started selling online to make a little extra money.He quickly sold out, eventually PJ decided to setup his own website, and clksupplies.com took off immediately.