The Broken Key in the Lock My Life 09 APR 2012

I haven’t had to do any DIY for quite some time now, meaning that my tools have been quietly lying packed away, alone in a dark and dingy toolbox that they call home.

Well, that is until the other day, when I got a SMS from Chantelle informing me that I would have to enter the house via the sliding door after work, thus setting off the alarm in the process. The reason? Her front door key had broken off in the lock as she headed out to work earlier in the day.

Fun stuff.

Anyway, I did get home, gain access to the house via the sliding door, somehow avoid setting off the alarm, and after the whole Jessica bedtime routine was done and dusted, grabbed my toolbox and got to work on what proved quite an elusive, and stubborn key fragment!

By this stage it was already dark outside, and I can just imagine what the neighbours must have been thinking, what with this shadowy figure outside, bent over the front door and fiddling with the lock with all manner of tools and picks.

Eventually Chantelle arrived home from her late shift and jumped in to help, and after much jiggling, prodding and cursing, it was the eventual application of good old Q20 lubricant that saved the day, making things slippery enough that we could eventually work the broken part out of the lock mechanism and successfully eject it out of the door.

After removing the lock mechanism and giving it a good look over, I decided that it needed replacement due to the stiffness of the turning action, and so headed out the next morning to purchase a new lock for just under R100. However, on installing it, I noticed that the new lock didn’t quite fit properly thanks to an improperly bevelled lock slit in the frame, meaning that the following day I had to head back to hardware store to purchase a chisel for R50.

Anyway, with the lock slit properly chiselled out, the new lock slid in and out like a charm, marking the end of yet another successful DIY excursion.

Of course, this sweetness wasn’t long lasting, as on the disposal of the old replaced lock, I noticed that the day or two of soaking in Q20 had made the locking action as smooth as a baby’s bum, meaning that pretty much all the money I had just spent, could have been saved if only I had been a little more patient.


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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.