A good lock, a key that fits...
and all things sharp
along the line, as history went careening into civilization, humans
proved themselves to be exactly what they are.
learned to trust one another. Then, they learned to trust one another
so long as only one of them had the key.
It’s hard to
overlook the evidence, which is fairly old, that leaving something
valuable out in the open wasn’t always a plan rewarded. It goes back
to the pyramids themselves – the locks keeping the tops of
sarcophagi closed weren’t put their with Geraldo Rivera in mind
Hardware Guys at Frentz and Sons do so much lock, keying, and key
copying work that they consider the business of helping protect your
belongings one of their premiere service areas.
"We have an
extensive key inventory," Mike said, which he later checked and
said counted out, this week, to 12,802 key blanks. That inventory is
updated at least monthly.
Who comes in for
all that work? We all do:
- A lot of real
estate agents and Realtors need keys to keep in the lock boxes on
doors of homes they show.
- Many people
go to drug stores or other places that don’t cut keys as a
specialty, so they end up handing the customer a key that
doesn’t work. That’s how they end up at Frentz, "often
saying they’ve been to three or four places and can’t seem to
get a key that will fit. We can almost always do it," Mike
said. Most people look at the top (bow) of the key for a match –
wrong end. Look at the tip. Mike lined up half a dozen keys on the
counter and asked me if they were all the same. I knew it was a
trick question but I still answered incorrectly. All the keys had
different bows, but all the tips were the same.
Which brings us
us have two locks on our doors – a regular one and a deadbolt.
Frentz offers the service of adjusting the locks so one key will fit
both, thus saving a lot of time fiddling for keys at the front door.
best protection Frentz has to offer comes from a brand called Titan.
"They have thicker metal parts and different key designs,"
Mike said, which makes them more difficult to pick. Plus, most locks
have 5 pins. Titans have 6. "If someone wants to pick a lock,
they want to do it a quickly as they can. This is going to take them a
lot longer," he said.
How long is
long? That fastest Mike has ever seen anyone pick a lock was 1 minute,
by an experienced locksmith. When it’s necessary Mike will pick a
lock someone has brought in for service, but his fastest time is about
Most of us seem
reluctant to do a little of our own handy work and install a lock in
our own front or back door. If you’re going to install something
like a deadbolt it might involve drilling about a 2-inch hole in the
door, and Mike figures most people are afraid they’ll blow it and
end up having to get a new door.
show them how to do it, step by step, Mike said. "It’s pretty
easy, really." One way to do it involves using the template
included with the lock. Taping it onto the door, in the proper place,
shows you exactly where to drill and how the lock will fit on the
If there isn’t
a template, or even if there is and it just seems difficult to
understand, Mike or one of his brothers will draw out the instructions
for you. Often, they stay available by phone when a customer is doing
something like the first time.
And that stuff
you see on TV – people kicking in a door with one shot – can
happen, but it’s usually just stuff you see on TV.
the bolt (the piece of metal that goes from the lock into the
doorway) is only half an inch into the door. That, you probably could
kick in after a while. But if you follow our instructions, that bolt will be sunk at least an inch into the door. That’ll hold."
Frentz also can
do a lot of other things with locks – for example, one service is
keying a group of padlocks to open with one key.
always necessary to buy a whole new setup – bring your lock in and
have them check it out first.
Many hardware stores have given up on offering sharpening services –
not enough business, not enough time, not enough money in it for them.
Not true of
will sharpen almost anything except lawn mower blades, which sometimes
get so worn down over the years that it’s like trying to put an edge
on a steel beam, and the customer would be better off, regarding
quality and economy, just buying a new one. The list of things they do
sharpen, though, is extensive:
- Saw blades:
HSS only, no firetooth; and carbide tipped saws.
- Dado Sets.
- Chain saw
blades, either on or off a machine.
- Hand saws,
including regular, back and miter; pruning saws (but not bow
- Grass Shears,
hand or electric.
- Spade bits,
all sizes including paddle bits and Irwin Speedbore.
- Wood boring
bits, including spur bits, Selfeed, and Milwaukee.
- Hole Saws:
HSS and Bi-metal, DeWalt-M.K., Morse, Real McCoy, Lenox-Vermont
- Twist Drills,
high speed steel.
Wood Auger Bits: Ships Augers, all sizes.
- Paper cutter
hedge trimmers, by hand or machine.
- Plane Spiral
Cutters for Power Planer.
Knives, 15-inch maximum length.
- Router Bits,
both HSS and carbide.
including household, pinking, upholstery, barber and pruning.
miscellaneous objects, from pocket and hunting knives to tin snips and