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old furniture

European hardware -lever locks, profile cylinders specific for European locks. European lock picks and European locks.

old furniture

Postby oldfurn » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:34 am

I have an old piece of furniture, a "secretaire" (maybe from the 50's?) but don't have any of the keys. There is a lock on the hutch, the secretaire part and three drawers.

All locks were open, but instead of leaving well enough alone, I locked the top hutch with a key (picture attached). Now the key won't open it. The key does not lock any of the other four locks.

Any simple suggestions for opening this?

I would be forever grateful...

I haven't figured out how to post images but I'm working on it.
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here are the pictures

Postby oldfurn » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:41 am

Thanks for the suggestion. Here are the pictures of the lock and the key I used to lock it.


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Postby Archive555 » Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:03 pm

Looks to me like a standard warded lock, but it looks really shallow for a warded lock. I don't have much experience with them, so I can't really help with your problem, but I'm sure someone here can.

Hope you get it working.
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Postby Jaakko » Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:16 pm

I have that sort of locks in the drawers at my parents and they are really old. The problem is that the locks have worn quit much and some of them won't keep locked and some don't work at all because the internals have worn down too much.
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Postby maintenanceguy » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:49 am

These locks are simple.

The blade of the key just slides the latch back and forth

The blade has a notch in it because there is a little block of metal in the lock to prevent an uncut key from turning. This notch clears the block (called a ward)

Anything that will fit in there and not get stopped by that little block of metal will lock or unlock the drawer if the lock's not broken.

I'd just bend the end of a stiff paperclip into an "L". I'd try to make the bent tip roughly the same length as the little blade on the key and try to unlock the drawer with that.

It shouldn't be that hard. Try it on one of the unlocked drawers with the draw open (so you don't lock it too by mistake) and you'll see the latch move when you're hitting it with the tip of your bent paperclip. That will let you see what you need to do to unlock the closed drawer.

Good luck.
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Postby NKT » Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:21 am

I'd suggest using a "giant size" paperclip or some garden wire or, if you can find some, 1.5mm piano wire. A regular paperclip simply isn't strong enough to do much with.

I used an Allen key that I cut down the first time I needed in to my liquor cabinet without the key. Same lock. ;-)
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Re: old furniture

Postby sipple » Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:21 am

i have a whole box of these kind of keys laying around, usually if i come across one of these locks on old furniture i just try them one at a time and eventually one will work
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Re: old furniture

Postby Raymond » Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:33 pm

Quite a few of this type of furniture locks actually have one lever and no wards. The key you are using may have too short of a blade and is not lifting the lever high enough. I keep a ring of "tryout" keys which is simply an accumulation of similar keys I have come across, to try on furniture locks as I am called to one. You can purchase a blank and file it down until it just fits into the keyhole. Then file off the end until it just turns. Ink or smoke the blank and try to turn it. Watch for indications of a ward and if found, file out the ward slot. You will probably open your lock without any ward slots.

The older European locks like this usually have several levers and are more difficult to pick and key.
Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool. Wisdom is not just in determining how to do something, but also includes determining whether it should be done at all.
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