Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption

       Downsizer Forum Index -> Make Your Own/DIY

DIY key cutting

I've picked up a few second hand cabinets etc that have little simple one or two lever locks. Many of them are keyless and I'd like to get the locks working again.

It's not worth getting a professional in as the cabinets only cost a few pounds so I'd like to know if there's anything that I can do myself? Is it possible to work out a key shape from a lock? Anyone done it and have any tips?

What sort of cabinets ?

If it's furniture then usually the locks are very simple & mostly of the type which case any key from a certain style of furniture should fit said lock

try a selection of keys .get extras of the ones that work.

as above most are very similar on basic stuff of a similar period

They are mostly simple brass locks, yes, and look similar to ones if you google "Spegelstein". I have a few with keys and a few other spare keys but none work in the locks with missing keys.

There are what are known as "robe locks" which are surface mounted; & those known as "cut cupboard locks" which set in, & flush with the surface...this is the only difference I can think of that MAY make a difference, but it doesn't normally.

Speiglestein are locks generally made for "repro" furniture, so any good ironmongers should be able to point you in the right direction

Unfortunately, I no longer have my contacts in the trade but have boxes of keys that may fit...I will try to upload a photo of the keys I have for you to compare
Ty Gwyn

They are mostly simple brass locks, yes, and look similar to ones if you google "Spegelstein". I have a few with keys and a few other spare keys but none work in the locks with missing keys.

I know your dilemma,

I have a wardrobe,nothing fancy,pre mid 50`s,the key got misplaced when moving furniture around in the house when we had a grant here,2 others of the same type of period`s key`s don`t fit,

I have a walnut sideboard with locking cupboards below and an oak wardrobe with locking doors either side pre 1916,neither key fits the other side door.

I have had some success buying lots (ha ha) of old keys on ebay, keeping the ones I need and selling the others. Still need a few keys though, some are rare...

Yes, the items aren't anything fancy either, some items probably around the 40's or 50's. Having said that one desk does have a double sided key and luckily that works.

All the locks do seem different though, all plain looking brass jobs but one the key is very long (that lock seems to half work, the key turning half way but not fully) and the keys I do have all look different.

Funnily enough I was looking at another desk today and that had a key but it didn't work, it looked too worn. I also wonder if the locks themselves have worn out.

I am keeping my eye out for some cheap bunches of keys, although they seem collectable in their own right, or sold with other 50's stuff as a single lot.

I don't know if it would help, but the rnli in Ilfracombe have a game, with a lock and keys. The box of keys is huge. They may have something that would fit your needs.

it might be easier to replace the locks Wink but a decent locksmith could take the existing ones and make keys to fit ,i have had that done for antique stuff but it aint cheap compared to a replacement lock with key

if you fancy a challenge taking a impression (wax on a suitable key blank) and using needle files until you get it to pass the gate ,repeat the wax thing and some more work to get it to swing the levers and move the bolt can be done(mi9,cat a escapes ,etc etc ). this is easier if you can dismantle the lock to see as well as feel .

If I needed to get a lock working I could replace but it's not essential and as the items only cost a few pounds it's not worth spending much on the locks or a lock smith.

I'll keep a look out for spare bunches of keys but liking a challenge just wondered if I could do what the pros do with a simple lock.

i recon you could but it is fiddly and can take a while even with past practice
Dee J

If you've got the locks dismantled then it shouldn't be too difficult to modify keys to fit locks or vica-versa. Even making keys from scratch is quite do-able. a bit of careful file-work and some soldering will soon get you there. As a business proposition it's only worth it for more valuable pieces (20 to 50) but as a diy craft project it can be very satisfying.
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Make Your Own/DIY
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home