A facility in South Euclid had an issue with an aluminum glass storefront door. These types of doors are called narrow stile because the border around the glass is smaller. This allows for a larger glass surface on the door which customers like. In order to accommodate this set-up, special locks must but used. These locks were introduced by a company called Adams Rite. These locks are now referred to as “Adams Rite style” locks.

There’s nothing terribly complicated about these locks. In order to properly service them you need to have an assortment of different locks, styles, paddles, and indicators. Knowing exactly how to approach these locks is requires some more skill, experience, and tools. The first thing to know when working with metal doors, but especially aluminum is that once you cut it, it’s cut. Measure twice, cut once. The main reason why people install these doors is for the look. So maintaining a clean appearance is necessary, there’s no room for mistakes.

The reason why they called us to the South Euclid location was the lock was stuck and the door wouldn’t open. They were due for a fire inspection and wanted to make sure all of their doors were fire code compliant. Even if a door isn’t used frequently, the fire marshal will still want to make sure that it’s available for safe, easy, egress.

After removing the push paddle to open the door, I was able to use a hook tool to flip over the latch manually. The door was open! The door strike was cut opened up a lot. After examining the lock and how it was functioning, I determined that the lock itself was malfunctioning. The latch sometimes would stay locked in place.

Of course we had a 1 1/8 latch lock in stock and started working on installing it. The bottom screw that holds this lock in place wasn’t threading. The threading on the inside of the door was stripped. This caused the old lock to move back and forth inside the door. I’m almost positive that when the lock moved in the wrong angle it would bind, not letting you open the door.Luckily, we carry these support tabs that you can insert in the channel of the door to hold the lock in place. After a lot of time and effort the replacement lock was installed! Now it was time to swap the paddle. The old paddle seemed to have some wear on it. I decided it was worth replacing given it’s age and use. The holes that the original installer put in the door were off by maybe 1mm. But with these locks those small tolerances really matter. Replacing the paddle was actually the easiest part of the job!

Lock issues and door issues often overlap. This door was not plumb. Meaning the door was actually leaning away from the exterior. This caused the latch to bind occasionally. I adjusted the hinges to provide a little more space between the door and the door jamb. This extra space allowed for the latch on the lock to clear the strike plate on the door jamb.

The door still needed a little more help. The force of the door closing was still not enough for the door to actually latch. I adjusted the door closer to give it a little more “oomf.” Now the door closes and latches!

The entire job took longer than I would have liked but at the end of the day – it works and we saved the company a lot of money by not needing to replace the door.

If you have a commercial or residential locksmith need in South Euclid or the surrounding areas – call or text 215-505-1389. Our office tries their best to answer all calls but if we do miss your call – we will call you back!

Restricted keys are keys that can only be duplicated by someone authorized to duplicate them. The increase in key duplication machines and apps that cut keys based on pictures has increased the demand for restricted keys. Keys stamped “Do Not Duplicate” is a more of a suggestion to the person holding the key. Few stores will check the bow of a key and a key duplication kiosk certainly won’t. There are several different levels of restricted systems; They can be restricted by only being sold to a locksmith or security company. They can be restricted by a locksmith in a geographic region, or they can be restricted to only one locksmith company. The first question we ask anyone inquiring about restricted or high keys is what is their end-goal and purpose. A small store might want to make sure employees can’t easily copy keys while a bank might be interested in making sure the keys are very restricted and have special drill protection. After discussing the needs of the client we can generally narrow down to one or two systems that we would recommend.

We currently stock several different restricted and high security key systems. The most basic option is choosing a key that’s less common like Yale or Corbin Russwin. Hardware stores and key machines typically don’t have these types of blanks in stock and this makes it harder for a person to make an unauthorized copy. However, this method really just slows someone down who’s interested in duplicating a key.

If someone is using SFIC cores there are several great options. Firstly, SFIC keys should be punched not manually duplicated. Getting working keys by duplicating them is often challenging. Additionally, places like Home Depot or Lowe’s don’t stock these blanks. Hardware stores are also unlikely to carry them, especially if you use an unusual keyway. We carry an inexpensive keyway that’s restricted to locksmiths only. If someone went into a locksmith shop asking to have one of these keys duplicated they should probably have a good story prepared because they’re going to be asked some questions. However, this method only prevents the keys form duplicated by honest locksmiths.

Next we have MX alpha which is a national keyway and MX which are regionally restricted by different numbered keyways. Every locksmith that wants to carry these keys must buy a large amount of inventory in order to be able to carry the product. This creates a disincentive for anyone to make an unauthorized key because if they get caught they’ll lose their ability to buy more of the product. The odds of someone getting an unauthorized copy are low but it’s still a possibility.

We can also install other systems like Schlage Primus, Medeco and Mul-t-lock. We currently do not stock this keys but can easily order them for special projects. We are just at the mercy of shipping and the supply chain. While these are good systems I do take some issue with both of them. Schlage Primus,  Medeco and Mul-t-lock are expensive. Buying one or two can easily be justified but if a project calls for 10-20 locks the price can easily get very high. Medeco keys are also prone to breaking. The deep angled cuts can create weak points where keys can bend and break. Calling a lockmith to pull an expensive key out of a lock is not something most customers are fond of doing. Mul-t-lock keys are nice because no matter which way you insert the key, the lock will work because they are cut on both sides. They are also a quality product. However, Mul-t-lock is often times more expensive than Schlage Primus or Medeco.

Considering all the options we have chosen ASSA Max+ for our go-to high security restricted key system. This system strikes a good balance between price and performance. ASSA Max+ is a system appropriate for highly sensitive areas like utilities, financial institutions, banks, and companies with large amounts of sensitive data or valuable inventory. In fact, we recently installed them at a bank in Shaker Heights. Max+ is patented until 2019. Meaning, taking brass and milling the metal to make a key that will fit would actually be patent infringement. Unauthorized key duplication probably won’t get you in legal trouble but milling a Max+ key with a CNC machine definitely will. They are going to enforce the patent because that’s the point of the patent.

We’ve carried their products for a while but we now have our own sidebar. The sidebar acts as an additional security measure effectively making one key like two. There are standard key cuts then key cuts on the side of the key that match a coded sidebar. They also make cylinders that have UL rated drill protection. One of our favorite parts of this system are the incredibly robust keys. They are incredibly thick which dramatically reduces the chances of them breaking. I’ve done several experiments trying to bend different types of keys. ASSA Max+ puts up a killer fight.

Another reason why we chose this system is that ASSA is going to be around for a long time. ASSA Abloy has 20% of the global market share for lock and door products.

When an ASSA Max+ system is sold it must be registered. There are key cards that a person can present as part of the process to get authorization to make a key. In addition, we have our own internal key tracking system.




Recently we had a very interesting project that took some creative solutions. We do a lot of work with vintage hardware and antique mortise locks. We got a call from a new customer in Shaker Heights who was looking for some help. It was a beautiful classic Shaker Heights house built during the great depression. The interior knob would occasionally slip off. This is a common occurrence with these types of locks. Typically, the set screw holding the knob on backs out over time causing the knob to gradually loosen over time until one day it slips off. The set screw was not in the best condition. However, we do stock a lot of set screws and other replacement parts for these types of locks. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a set screw to match this particular knob.

The plot thickened when I examined the threading inside the knob. It was worn out which caused the knob the slip. It wasn’t just the set-screw, the knob itself needed replaced. The mortise lock used a split spindle that was a little bit larger than the split spindle on a typical lock. We spent a lot of time looking to match the current spindle with a new knob. We eventually found one that matched the split spindle threading and looked almost identical.

During this process we also removed the cover from the lock and cleaned the internal parts with a lubricant. It probably has not been serviced since it was installed in the 30’s. The locking mechanism handles and outside thumb depress worked significantly better after being properly cleaned.

The mortise lock installed in the lock was an older style Yale lock. It was a Y2 key blank to be specific. This lock also required some lubrication and now works well.

One thing that we commonly find in this locks is that someone applied graphite as a lock lubricant. Graphite powder was commonly used to lubricate locks. A very small application of graphite can be beneficial. However, we typically see locks that are absolutely loaded with graphite. The problem with graphite is that it can gum up. When the lock gets moisture in in the graphite tends to lump together. Combined with years of dust, pollen, spider webs, car exhaust and other debris in the air it forms a sticky mess that really impacts the way a lock functions. What we typically do is completely flush out the lock with an appropriate lubricant. This washes away the graphite and other materials that have collected inside the lock.

People often as what lubricant we recommend. Not WD-40! Wd-40 is a water dispersant, it is not a lubricant. Something like PB blaster is actually a lubricant. Home Depot actually sells a small bottle of lock lubricant. We typically use a special lock lubricant called Houdini.

One interesting thing about these graphite clumps is where they form and how they impact the lock. Gravity pulls everything down. This is also true with graphite clumps. Additionally, without removing the lock from the door and opening it up., there are only so many places for the graphite powder to enter the lock. We typically see a lot of graphite sticking to the bottom of the lock where the toggle buttons are. These buttons change the lock from always locking when the door is closed (storeroom function) to not locking (passage function). Some customers completely ignore these buttons but some customers do like to use them. They’ll typically find that these buttons are very difficult to press and switch back and forth. Flushing the lock with lubricant and using a rag typically solves this issue completely.

At the end of the day the project was a success and the customer was very happy with the results. We truly enjoy servicing this vintage locks. It’s a fun challenge and people appreciate someone restoring a part of the home’s original aesthetic and charm. We look foreword to every call we get about vintage locks in Shaker Heights. If you have a mortise lock in the surrounding area feel free to reach out to use about how we can repair, restore, or even replace a lock if necessary.

2021 has had it’s challenges but it’s also provided some incredible opportunities. This year we’ve seen an explosion in our commercial locksmithing division.

Changing Hands

A lot of real estate has changed hands and/or a new management company has been brought on. We’ve been brought on to assist with lock and technology transfers between outgoing companies. Technology like security camera systems and access control systems were often neglected or issues were overlooked. Then when a new company comes in they become aware of these issues and reach out to us to address them.


We are securing a number of quality contracts with businesses and other service providers. Focusing on building a quality relationship has been instrumental in closing contracts. We are highly interested in building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. One contract of note, was for providing on-going lock and door security to 5 local hotels. We aren’t the fastest company but we showed up when we said we would, completed the work above and beyond what was expected, kept the pricing reasonable, and maybe above all we communicated. Emails, texts, calls, WhatsApp – you name it we’ve been in communication with stakeholders.


We have been providing integrated security solutions for several years now. Recently, we have begun to discuss more of offerings and abilities with clients and they’re interested. We have been brought on to fix or upgrade a lot of older access control systems and telephone tenant entry systems. Many businesses also like having all of their lock and security needs under one company. This limits the finger pointing and delays in communication that often happen when you have several companies working together on overlapping projects.


Multi Family housing has shown very strong growth for us. There are many older apartment buildings and complexes that have older locks and older security systems. They need a company that’s interested and able to take on the challenges that these buildings provide.