Dealing With A Jammed Lock

If a lock jams with the bolt out so that you can’t open the door, it’s unlikely in many cases that you will be able to avoid doing at least some damage to the door or frame if you attempt to free it. So knowing how to deal with a jammed lock is a useful skill.

This is one case where it is probably worth calling in a lock smith, who will be experienced in dealing with this type of job.

But in an emergency, or if the lock is not a particularly secure one — on an internal door, for example — there are several things you might try. Bear in mind, too, that emergency calls to a locksmith are likely to prove very expensive.

Dealing With A Jammed LockThe most obvious solution is to try and cut through the bolt, between the door and the frame. Whether this is likely to be successful or not depends on the quality of the lock and the clearance available in the crack. Security locks are designed to foil attempts to cut through the bolt — which is reinforced with hardened steel rollers or plates.

Although you may be successful in cutting through one of this type, it will be a long, hard job. But cheaper locks generally have bolts made entirely from brass which is a relatively easy material to cut through.

You need enough clearance for a hacksaw blade to do the cutting.

If the crack is sufficiently wide, you can reduce the effort involved by drilling a series of closely spaced holes through the bolt.

1. Use a pad-saw handle fitted with a hacksaw blade so that it cuts on the forward (push) stroke. Lubricate the blade with a little light oil.

If you don’t have a proper padsaw, make do with a piece of hacksaw blade and wrap it with cloth tape to form a makeshift handle.

If you can’t cut through the exposed bolt, you will have to attack the door or frame themselves. Professionals can sometimes drill relatively small holes through the door and into the lock to disable it — but it’s extremely unlikely that you will

succeed in doing this without causing a great deal of damage to the lock and the door.

As a result, it’s generally better to tackle the frame, which will be much easier to repair.

2.You need to cut out a block the size of the striking plate in the frame and to the depth of the fixing screws. Start by drilling the frame to establish the extent of the striking plate and to remove the bulk of the wood.

3.Then chop out the rest with a chisel, taking care to avoid the metal fittings, which would damage the cutting edge.

Once the door is free, you will have the problem of mending the frame securely. The best way of doing this is to insert a dovetail patch. Take a block of wood which is slightly thicker than the door and saw the ends at a 45° angle to make the joint secure. Cut a matching hole in the door frame. Then glue and screw the dovetail into place. Once the glue has dried, plane down the insert flush with the rest of the frame. You can then fit a new lock or repair the existing one.

Leave a Comment