Hello everyone. I hope you've all been well.
So we are now into 2018. It's mid February already! So what have I been up to?
Those of you that contact me often, or know me well, know that I've been working very hard with my Locksmithing work over the past year or so. I've been offering locksmithing services for many years along side my construction work, but around 18 months ago I decided to start to move away from the large construction projects and give my long term passion more attention.
In the U.K anyone can start (worryingly) up a Locksmith business. No qualifications, no experience, no background checks.
You might be able to do this, but the likelihood you'll succeed is extremely slim (thank god)
I know this of course, I have built up a nice little customer base through the construction contacts. I also knew that if I wanted to take this seriously I needed to be associated with a good association. For me there's only ONE. The Master Locksmith Association (MLA). I've known about the MLA for years, but was just totally imtimidated (wrongly) by them. Because I knew they where the prestige of locksmiths I didnt have the confidence in myself in what I knew about locks to try and join them.
After tossing it over so many times, I thought thats enough. I'm calling up to find out what I need to do to join. So I did.
After making the first steps to join (form filling, background checks, ect) I thought I'd attend one of the regional meets that are held every month in London. Best move I've ever made in all the years I've been working! As soon as I walked though the door I felt what the hell am I doing here, I'm out of my depth!
The very first person I spoke to (without knowing) was one of the most experienced and well known (Not to me!!) Locksmiths in the country! Jeff Turner.
Within Half an hour, I had calmed down, started chatting, started to relax, whats more started to enjoy the evening. You see the MLA are scary to the people that they need to be scary to. To the ones that don't know what there doing, that don't care they don't know. Even worse to the ones that are taking advantage of people that are vulnerable in times of distress. If you are a genuine Locksmith, they welcome you in. As they did me. They offer training, help and support. They also have a large community that are fantastic and very supportive.
After this first meeting I decided, I'm going to more. So I did, including the Southen regional meets. Again I was really welcomed in.
I also took some training at their headquaters in Daventry.
Over the last year I have worked really hard with the MLA, meeting and networking some truly gifted and good people. I've become good friends with a few Locksmiths and attened various meetings/Expo's/training.
In December 2017 I plucked up the courage to take the MLA exam. I'm pleased to say I passed! So I'm now a fully qualified master locksmith.
When I did my exam the two invigilators dealing with us where, Jeff Turner & Simon Griffiths. These two men are extremely good locksmiths and tutors, a little intimidating, but you just had to get on with it!
There are 4 sections you need to pass to complete the exam.
This finally brings me onto PUZZLES!
One of the sections you need to pass is fitting a mortice lock by hand. Now out of all the sections I needed to pass, this was the one I DIDN'T practice! With all my carpentry background I didn't think I needed to bother (mistake!) in exam conditions I was under so much pressure. I fitted the lock ok. When eveything was together it was fine. Then those blasted invigilators come along and take EVERYTHING apart and score you on the things you can't even see! I knew it wasn't good enough for a Master Carpenter. I made my excuses, but knew. It was good enough for a pass, but I should have done better. I didn't get away with it either as Jeff pointed it out to me a few times!
So when I got back to my workshop, I decided that I'd redo one, turn it into a puzzle and present to Jeff to prove I can do a better job!
It should fit in very well with Jeff's collection, he has a beautiful collection of locks, including a Dan Lock!!
So was born :
Call the Locksmith.
You are locked IN the house. From outside the lock works fine. From inside you have a problem, the locks not working correctly. what do you need to do? You can't get out!!
Call the Locksmith.
This is a fun little puzzle.
On a serious note ANYONE in the U.K that does need a locksmith you should only ever use a qualified master locksmith. Look someone local up now. Save it to your contacts, in a emergency (when you are likely to need one most) you'll be pleased that you did. Many regret not doing so, trust me.
Find one HERE
If anyone needs any help or advise with any locksmithing, you can also visit my website or contact me for help.
All the best,