How to Open an Antique Lock Without a Working Key

If you've bought or inherited an antique that has a lock on it, like a cabinet or chest, then opening the lock isn't always simple. If the piece didn't come with a key or if the key doesn't work because the lock is damaged, then you can't find out if there is anything inside. You also can't use the locked space in the future.

You don't want to damage the lock by trying to force it open and you know that antique keys are hard to replace. However, a locksmith may be able to help. How?

Make a Replacement Key

If you can find a locksmith who can make you a replacement key, then this is the easiest solution. Locksmiths with experience of working with old locks often keep a store of blank antique-style keys; general locksmiths may be able to source specialist blanks for you.

Once a locksmith has a suitable key blank, they can cut the key to fit the lock. While antique locks are a little different to work on than modern ones, the principles are similar. So, your locksmith should be able to both open the lock and give you a working key for the future.

Repair the Lock

Old locks are susceptible to damage. They've probably been used for years and they may not have been cared for that well. Their mechanism, springs and other parts may be stiff, stuck or missing. Even if you have a key, it won't work if the lock itself is faulty or broken.

A locksmith may be able to fix any damage to the lock so that it works again. Sometimes, it simply needs a deep clean and lubrication. Some locks may need more complex repairs. Some experienced locksmiths can also remove the lock and remake it in the right style to give you a new lock on the piece that looks the same as the old one.

Open the Lock

In some cases, even a locksmith may not be able to source a suitable antique key. The lock itself may be beyond repair or you may not care that much about getting a working key or lock. You may just want the piece opened; you won't use the lock again.

In this case, a locksmith should be able to pick open the lock. They'll try to do this without causing any damage. So, you can call local locksmiths and ask if they have experience of working with antique keys or lock repair. If they do, they should be able to help you out.

For more information on lock repair and other locksmith services, contact a company in your area like Nash Locksmiths.