Repairs in the Field — Adventures of a Locksmith

by Jon on October 18, 2010

Some doors require more than just changing the lock:  they must be repaired or the door jamb needs to be rebuilt,

Damaged Door Jam

Damaged Door Jamb

or the hinges need to be tightened up so that the door hangs properly.  Otherwise, the door simply will not close or the latch doesn’t line up properly.  Cases like this are almost always unique and require some on-the-spot ingenuity.  Often special tools or hardware are required to solve the problem.  Over time, as I have gained experience with these sorts of problems, I have come to expect the unexpected.  I try to anticipate as much as I can and to prepare for whatever I might encounter.  For example, it’s handy to have a good supply of a variety of screws, door hardware, tie-wraps, tape, nails, glue, hasps, padlocks, etc.
Also there is the issue of power and light.  Very often there is no power; so I have to rely on battery powered tools and lights.  That also implies that I have to carry spare batteries and/or chargers.  I once found myself isolated out in the desert in Lucerne Valley about 120 miles from home

Middle of Nowhere

Lucerne Valley -- Middle of Nowhere

at a little shack where I was to change the locks.  So I changed the locks and then tried to shut the door.  I had been distracted earlier and had not noticed that the door jamb had been kicked in.  It was all splintered and laying in small pieces in the yard!  There was no way the door would lock without replacing the door jamb.

Starting to get Dark and Cold

Starting to get Dark and Cold

To make matters worse, the sun was just going down and it was getting cold and dark.  I had to rebuild the door jamb from scratch in order to successfully complete the job and lock the door.  Fortunately, I had a battery powered saw, drill, wood chisels, nails, etc. and was able to find a suitable piece of wood to cut and shape to replace the missing jamb.

As you can see, being a locksmith can be adventurous.

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