I will be the first to admit it ~ well, actually I don’t admit it to very many people. I am no good with locks. I had admitted in a previous post that the very first lock I drilled (to force it open) I made such a mess of it we had to kick the door in to get it open. It would be wonderful to say that things have improved since then, but a couple of recent events have convinced me that is not the case.
Recently, there was a problem with someone who was doing certain maintenance who had a habit of walking off with the keys to various storage rooms at the various properties. Normally, this would not be a problem as they usually are quite quickly returned ~ especially after an irate phone call from a manager to the maintenance person. Unfortunately, in this case, the maintenance person appeared to be walking off with more than just the keys. Now, I’m faced with a padlock that can’t be cut off with bolt cutters and a boiler in the storage room that needs some attention. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t and never have enjoyed cold showers. I’ve discovered that my tenants don’t care to take them either.
That shouldn’t be a problem. I have a drill, the necessary drill bits and my wonderful expertise in drilling a lock. What I was never told ~ padlocks drill differently than ordinary locks. VERY differently. In an ordinary door lock/dead bolt there is a “sweet spot” on the lock that can be drilled and the lock will magically open…for everyone except myself. If someone has a diagram of that spot, I would appreciate a copy of it. I’m convinced that each lock has it’s own spot and only maintenance people know where that spot is.
The spot on a padlock is different ~ dead center evidently. I started up the drill ~ thought better of it, and called our handy maintenance man who was working at a different property. I’ve got drill in hand, lock in sight and cell phone to the ear. “Be careful,” I hear him say, “not to drill too far in or you’ll never get it open.” I found that very hard to believe. I got ready to drill. The involved putting down the phone as I had to hold the padlock in my hand while drilling. The mental image forming is probably very accurate.
I start in and have this sudden vision of having to be taken to the hospital with a drill bit through my hand, arm or other appendage. Maintenance had told me not to drill too far ~ I was really convinced that I really didn’t want to drill at all. I will admit it, having to hold the padlock while I drilled made me feel similar to a magician’s assistant on a board while he hurled knives at me .
Bracing myself ~ for what I wasn’t sure ~ I again took the lock in one hand, and drill in the other. At the moment I started to drill, the phone rang. Using any excuse to put down the lock and drill, I answered it. The maintenance man was about five minutes away and wanted to know how I was doing. I tried to be quite nonchalant about it all ~ but he knows me. “Would you like me to come and drill it for you”, was a statement I was not about to turn down. He arrived and actually talked me through the process. Yes, I held the lock and I drilled the lock and the lock did open. OK, I have to admit something: I found out (about half way through the lock) that there is a way to not have to hold the lock while drilling.
The boiler problem was quickly solved ~ and hot water was forthcoming. Maintenance went on his way (minus the key) and a new shiny lock laughed at me from the storeroom door.
—more lock tales to follow