The Tools and Skills of Emergency Locksmiths
Sooner or later, everyone needs the help of an emergency locksmith. Locking yourself out of the house or your car due to forgetfulness, carelessness or through no fault of your own is embarrassing.
Emergency locksmiths specialize in opening a lock of a house, building, car or even a safe without damaging the lock or lock frame. They are equipped with the latest lock devices to open most any style of lock. Some tools of the trade will work around the lock itself as in the case of opening a car door lock.
Locksmiths Generally use a device called a “slim Jim” that slides down the glass of the car door and releases the locking mechanism with a hook-like shape at the end of the “slim Jim”. This device is called a “slim Jim” because it is slim enough to slide down the window past the weather stripping of the car’s window.
A lock consists of a square or circular metal case that houses “tumblers”. These tumblers form a particular pattern of openings. For a key to open any lock its “cutout” pattern must match the opening patterns of the tumblers exactly. When the key is turned in the lock, the cutouts strike the metal tumblers, thereby opening the lock. If all of the metal tumblers are not struck, then the lock will not open.
Sometimes an emergency locksmith will “pick” a lock. This means that in place of the key, they use a device with long hooks that looks like long, narrow knitting needle. These “hooks” are narrow and long enough to fit into a lock’s keyhole. After inserting the hook into the lock, the locksmith “catches” the tumblers with the hook and pulls the tumbler into the unlocking position. A locksmith must repeat this action for every tumbler. This can be time-consuming and requires some patience.
Combination locks use a different type of tumblers whereby the tumblers each move into the “unlock” position as the number in the combination is reached. When a number is reached and the lock knob is turned the opposite way, a small steel ball drops into place. When all of the balls reach their proper destinations, the lock opens.
Emergency locksmiths can also be called to open safes. This requires a listening device used on the lock to hear when the tumblers move into an unlocking position. As each number in the combination is reached, the locksmith can hear the ball drop into place. In this way, the locksmith does not have to know the combination in order to open the safe.
Emergency Locksmiths are skilled technicians with specialized tools and knowledge. They must carry insurance to protect them in the event of damage to property. They also must pass a security check and be bonded. Experienced and bonded emergency locksmiths can be found in the yellow pages or online.