Back Page, February 2021

Feb. 2, 2021

 10 Years Ago

According to an article titled “Changeable Function Mortise Locks,” convertible mortise locks can simplify a locksmith’s job. Another article, complete with charts, delved into cylindrical and mortise lock functions. Tim O’Leary gave tips for troubleshooting electronic locks. A physical inspection of the door and components makes an excellent starting point. Loose door hardware, defective door closers or worn hinges all can cause malfunctions. Steve Young wrote part 2 of his series on servicing the Ford Fiesta. This new-for-2011 model used the Ford’s high-security side-milled lock system. Top of the line models also had push-button starting rather than an ignition key. CCL Security introduced its replacement mailbox locks. Medeco introduced its Medeco Logic and M3 Logic line. Steve Kaufman interviewed locksmith Jeff Styer, DMD Locksmithing in southern New Jersey, for our 30 Under 30 Series of interviews with younger locksmiths.

20 Years Ago

John Grist wrote an article about the Lori (Now Kaba) L10 lock system. Gale Johnson explained the MX key system, which features key control instead of high security. Wade Landrum studied two new cam locks from Pagota and Abaco. Jerry Levine outlined the steps necessary to rekey a Mul-T-Lock padlock. Locksmith Ledger featured a van contest in 2000. Ideas from the contest still can be put to good use. Awards were given for best pickup, van and walk-in van. Tiny serviced a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am with an in-dash ignition system. Installation of a Sargent 10-line keypad lock was discussed. Jerry Levine introduced the Omnilock OM2000 by OSI. Jerry Levine also described how variations in the plug location in a mortise cylinder affect the functioning of the bolt unit. High Tech issued a concern about wedging door frames and using long-reach car opening tools. A new software product called Lock Butler was discussed. Locksmith Ledger also discussed ADA laws and how they affect the locksmith. Milt Wolferseder showed the workings of a Sentry insulated safe cabinet.

Improving Home Security

Reprinted from the February 2011 issue of Locksmith Ledger. Read full article at

Take the average three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, having a front and rear door and access into and out of a garage. Security for the exterior doors should include a keyed lock or handle set on the front door and keyed cylindrical locks on the remaining swinging doors. A deadbolt is recommended for all exterior doors for two purposes — the visual value and the value of an auxiliary lock mechanism securing the door. The visual value according to government and private research is if there are two homes, one that has a deadbolt lock on the front door and one that doesn’t, there is a greater likelihood that the home that doesn’t have the deadbolt lock will be burglarized before the home that has the deadbolt lock.

The more locks on a door or window, the harder it is for the burglar to gain access.

Deadbolt Locks:  A front or rear door adjacent to a window has little security using a single-sided deadbolt lock as the inside mechanism. It can be accessed easily if the window is broken or opened. A double-sided deadbolt can help to prevent unauthorized access. Note: Before installing a double-sided deadbolt, contact the local authority having jurisdiction to determine whether a doubled sided deadbolt can be installed. 

Auxiliary Door Locks: Most sliding glass aluminum doors aren’t very secure. Bolt-style sliding door locks can be installed onto the lower or upper portion of the door. A hole slightly larger in diameter than the bolt itself is drilled along the track, permitting the bolt to enter and secure the door. Some of these locks are available with a keyed lock mechanism. This type of lock allows the door to be either shut or open and locked.

Strike Plates & Door Viewers: An inexpensive way to improve the level of security is to install the larger strike plates using longer screws. Normally a 3-inch screw is long enough to enter into the door stud framing, providing a solid attachment. These oversized strike plates can be used to repair or strengthen the jamb. Another excellent security upgrade is a door viewer. This way the homeowner can look out through the safety of the door and determine whether they want to provide access to the caller.

Window Locks: Aluminum sliding window locks have a thumbscrew. I normally drill and tap into the side of the window lock that contacts the moving window. I install a screw that’s about 2 inches long. I remove the head from the screw and drill a hole into the window frame, nowhere near the glass. The lock slides against the window, preventing it from being lifted out of the channel. Vinyl tilt windows can have retractable latch lock mechanisms. Double hung windows can use sash crescent locks at the top of the lower window and the bottom of the upper window or window bolts that are a shortened version of the barrel bolt.