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Your house, carlocks and gun safes- take a look

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by U201492, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. U201492

    U201492 Well-Known Member

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    Can I see a show of hands- who knows the difference between a fairy tale and the truth? Well one starts off with "Once Upon a time,,,," and the other is "No 5**7 I was there!"

    Well, this is the latter- before I medically retired back in 2008 I was one of the top locksmiths in the United States- and since I am over 50, the Associated Locksmiths of America ("ALOA") has decided to reinstate my rating since I paid them off!! (My ALOA number is #49952- I can be found anywhere in the world- my rating was 2558 or above out of some 100,000 locksmiths.

    Locks cannot keep a determined person out. However, they can provide time for you to lock and load, call 911, and buy time until you can access the situation.

    ANYHOW- I just wanted to talk a bit on your home locks, your car locks, and keys in general just so you have a head's up to save some money in repairs and slow down break ins.

    1)No mater how many locks you have on your front door, if someone has a battery powered "Sawzall" they can cut the door around the lock to open it.

    2)Those cheap locks at Walmart- the china crap- the metal is tempered so hard that if the door's kicked they'll shatter like glass.

    3)If you are worried about the Police forcing their way in, then reverse the door so they have to pull OUT- have the door frame take the brunt of the blow from a battering ram. (Ever noticed how house doors swing IN, but commercial doors swing OUT? Its fire codes- you would think they'd make all doors swing out with house fires)

    4)Check the lag bolts on the door's strike- most people are lazy and won't put in those 2" (Kwikset) or 3" (Schlage) lag bolts with the 3/16" strike plate. Consider this: if the locks not installed right, why should the insurance company pay out due to negligence? Its worth a cup of coffee to do it right isn't it?

    5)Don't use graphite in locks- hands on experience has shown that WD40 is ideal for house locks and vehicle locks- and don't forget the trunk.

    6)Only have locksmiths open your house door (If you've forgotten where you've hidden the spare key) and certainly ONLY have a locksmith open your car door. The reason why is tow truck drivers who have NOT been trained on how to open cars will start sticking tools down into the door and because they don't know what they're doing, start disconnecting things like rods that control the locks- so then they're paid, you drive away your windows and locks don't work. So now you're out the cost of the tow truck, AND the cost of an auto body shop to disassemble the door, reconnect all the rods, and the price can be a bit expensive.

    Cheaper to do it right the first time isn't it?

    7)Concerning hiding keys; if you can think of a place to hide it, so can other people. Be creative, make the bad guys work to find it.

    8)Lets face it- if the bad guys wanted to work they'd have a job. Get some signs from ADT or other alarm companies and make sure it says silent alarm. Most bad guys will move to easier houses to hit.

    9)Look at your keys and its fob and ask yourself the following question: "Is my car's ignition lock designed for that much weight?" Be honest- do you really need that many keys? Can you afford the $150 to $350 dollars to replace the ignition (sometimes more) just because you've got too much weight on the ignition key?

    10)Replace the keyless entry battery- they usually last around 4 years before the remote needs to be replaced. One of the way's you can tell the battery is dying is first the remote works at 50 or 60 feet, then 30 to 40 feet, then 10 to 20 feet, then 2 to 8 feet, and then you see people holding the remote next to the key lock grunting "C'mon- OPEN!"

    11)I don't know of any locksmith who enjoys doing lockouts- especially when you're drunk at 2:45 am on Sunday morning. To prevent lockouts, have a door key made, then drill a hole in the bow (the handle on the key is called the "Bow") then replace one of the screw/bolts that holds your license plate on with a replacement that has a flat slot in it- just the right size for a dime, or a scrap piece of steel. So you make a sandwich- frame of the car, key, then license place to cover it.

    12)Since most of us have gun safes, bolt it to the CONCRETE floor using lag bolts and bolt the back of the safe to the CONCRETE wall- trust me, if done right it's almost impossible to remove. This is for your "main safe".

    I suggest you get one of them inexpensive gun lockers and throw some rebar to simulate the length and weight of 8 to 10 guns. Let THEM steal it. Let THEM get pissed when they find out they've been duped.

    13)If you have a worn key, have it decoded by a locksmith and have a new one issued. (This is really important for car keys because they get twice the wear and tear of a house key)

    A copy of a worn key = another worn key.

    14)For your gun safe, I strongly encourage you to have it looked at for maintaince at least every 3 years or so. If you think a service call to clean the lock assembly is expensive, its a minimum of $300 to open a safe that has problems. There's one gentleman named Larry Boustead who was probably the greatest safe opening guy in Western Washington. Just to talk with him on the phone started out at $1,000 and he got it- he was that good.

    So, for what its worth
     
  2. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks for the ideas!
     
  3. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    lol - had a buddy that decided to hide his spare key for the truck in the air cleaner - which I suppose would be good hiding place if the door wasn't locked - he forgot that you need to pull the hood release inside the cab to open the hood and access where he hid the key. as for hiding a key for the house, often its best to not have the hiding spot near the door. Most people will look under the door mat, flower pots, etc. in the area within 10-15 feet of the door. Yes it might be more inconvenient to hide the key on the side of the house or in the shed with the combo lock on it but how often are you going to use it? Better to have to take 5 min to retrieve the spare key than to have the local junkie find it and clean out the house of quick sell items and take the key with him so you have to replace the locks on the house on top of loosing your stuff.
     
  4. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I carry spare keys for my car in my wallet.

    I sometimes forget/lose my keys, I sometimes forget/lose my wallet, but I rarely forget or lose both. The spare for my car is the valet key - no way can I fit the real key in my wallet, it is twice as thick as my wallet - many car keys are now and cost hundreds of dollars to replace or get a spare (but many have a valet key that lets you unlock the car and drive it a short distance).

    I used to own a Ducati. Always get the red key if you buy a modern Ducati and put it in a safe place. The black key is what you use day to day, and the red key is what is used to make a copy. The keys a matched to the computers in the dash (instrument panel) and the ECU/EFI. If someone steals a modern Ducati with this system and no keys, it will cost them about $2K to get the bike running as they will have to get the dash, the ECU/EFI and a new set of keys. No neither the dealer nor the factory can make a copy from the black key and they won't even try. So if you lose all your black keys and don't have the red one, then you are screwed.

    Some cars are getting like this but especially motorcycles because bikes are stolen a lot more. Ducatis still get stolen, but only for parts, not for joy rides.

    As for swing out doors - think about the safety issues. If someone wants to block the door from the outside, then they can if it is swing out. Ditto with snow. The best practice for an entry door, if your house design allows it, is to have a two door entryway - sometimes called an "air lock" where the outer door is some feet away from the inner door. The space in between often serves as a "mud room" or a place to put coats and boots and such. The outer door swings in, the inner door swings out.

    The really good ones extend into the house and have secure glass (strong glass) on the inside walls so you can see who is in the "air lock" before you let them in all the way. Many banks and other institutions have entry ways designed like this.

    A metal security door with a good core and a solid metal frame well installed and good locks is better than a swing out door IMO. If you can't afford that, installing a security bar on the door is something that will slow most people down who are trying to kick in the door.

    The thing is, if you make the door difficult to enter, then they will go for the next entryway - your windows, which are even more vulnerable for most people and usually right next to the door.
     
  5. simon99

    simon99 Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Those are great points Trailtrader...thank you.
     
  6. U201492

    U201492 Well-Known Member

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    Ah, the age old debate: spare key in the wallet or not? I've argued that over many a meal and over many a coffee both pro and con. If you lose the wallet and bad DNA finds it, you're screwed- s/he now doesn't have to break in, but simply use the key and they have your address besides identity theft.

    Ducati- let me rephrase this- motorcycle keys are a whole different breed of cat. The manufacturers don't even know what locks were put on most bikes most years. What they'd do is make a run of bikes and then just switch over the locks to another year if they were halfway through it so the bikes years and key blanks don't always mate.

    As far as duplicating the Ducati key? Its not economical to program a duplicator like this one- they run about $3000 to start and the price top's out around $12,000 for a duplicator.

    Now, thanks to Youtube and other a@ @ holes putting out this information for the past 5 years, I can tell you this FORMERLY top secret bit of information. In general the CIA/NSA/FBI all have developed ways to use a normal large paper clip to bypass all the electronic features to prevent theft so when their agents needed to steal a car? They're gone,,,,,

    And this is all Ronald Regans fault! **Laughs** And I can prove it! Remember this? "MR. GORBACHEV, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!!"

    The wall came down, the Russian Mafya stole just about every vehicle that was in the former West Germany, retitled them, and made a financial killing reselling them.

    The European Auto Insurance companies had to pay out hundreds of millions of "Euro's" (Before the "Euro" was really adopted) and they got really pis sed off. The European Auto Insurance Companies leaned on the automotive manufacturers to "get serious" on security or they wouldn't insure certain vehicles...

    The fallout from this fight was every company came up with their own security version. GM looked at their keys, put in a small resistor pellet, called it the VAT's with a total of 15 resistors. If the wrong one was used it'd lock out the car for up to 45 minutes. (For some strange reason, VAT #1 was never issued- it's been speculated it was for police work but nobody knows but GM)

    Ford,,,,*big sigh*,,,,Ford became the problem child in the locksmithing world, having come up with 8 different encryption systems over the past 26 years or so and they do not cross reference, they do not talk to each other and they make programming a headache. Wholesale the key blanks run between 9 to 15 dollars but the TIME it takes to program the darn things,,,,,!

    Mike asked me once "LARRY- HOW MUCH DO WE CHARGE FOR 2 NEW KEYS?" I think "$150 for the first key, and $45 for the second key" The customer freaks out- "Why so much?" "The first thing we do is make a mechanical key that works the ignition, then the doors- or a seperate door key depending on the model of vehicle. Next, we use our computer system to access the vehicles computer system- and that's time consuming, it can take an hour or so. Then we decode the mechanical key for the key code, cut the electronic key to match the onboard computer's system- once we have key #1, key #2 to key #8 usually goes pretty fast" AAAahhhhhh- the first key takes 1 hour, 15 minutes, the second key is about 15 minutes, total"

    Never, ever buy a car at auction unless it has at least 2 keys. Even if the car is free it can be a nightmare to get keys made.

    Example: 2003 Lexus, no keys at all. Used 4 tracks, only used for one year and model- price of the key when made from scratch? 900 dollars to be resold by a dealership for $1300 and rolled into the price of the vehicle. (Used to be Bay Ford in Port Orchard if you're curious) The locksmith's who's name I won't mention who loved doing automotive, was almost stiffed on payment for 90 days because the former Bay Ford owners didn't want to pay.

    By the way? I HATE doing automotive. I had to learn it as an apprentice but that doesn't mean I like it.
     
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  7. U201492

    U201492 Well-Known Member

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    **Laughs** Mud rooms- New Englands contribution to modern society indeed! :) I can't remember what WAG told me when I lived in Somersworth, NH they had 4 seasons- Hot and Dry, Mud, Ice, and more Mud!! After living there for 3 years I wondered why they think "mud sharks" are located at Fort Lewis rather than New England,,,,ANYWAY...

    In western Washington, I wouldn't worry about being blocked from the outside with snow. If someone blocked it from the outside there's always windows- hell, take a sawzall and cut through the wall!!

    The point I was trying to make is police doing an emergency entrance to serve a warrant for gun confiscation are used to pushing the door inward and in the dark and confusion- especially on "no knocks"- it'll take 10 to 20 minutes for them to realize the door goes out.

    I do not advocate going against Law Enforcement Officials, but since the point has been brought up...

    What you do at that time on illegal gun confiscation is up to you. I would like to think I'd be brave enough to shoot back knowing that I am a law abiding citizen protecting my rights. On the other hand, if captured alive and as stupid as most institutionalized LEO org's are I would probably die in custody between NOT taking my diabetes, liver, kidney, etc. med's.
     
  8. U201492

    U201492 Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome- OH AND I ALMOST FORGOT! Put newspaper under the ignition lock of your vehicle to absorb the icky gunk that will come out of the lock when you use the WD40. I had a customer wear a white dress once, she did that, and she darn near kicked my butt for ruining her dress. Her locks worked great- but the mess,,,,,well, she wasn't very happy and it was my fault. That was an expensive dress I had to pay for out of my pocket because I felt so bad.
     
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  9. simon99

    simon99 Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    As a side note,

    I have ASSA locks on my house....so you might get an idea of where I come from.

    You're advice is spot on.
     
  10. U201492

    U201492 Well-Known Member

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    *Laughs* It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing,,,,! What I mean is, if you unravel which company own's which company and trace the money? Ilco/Assa/Schlage/ are all front companies for Schlage. Kwikset has Can-Royal and a few other subsidaries.

    But if you trace the money, it's all Schlage, Kwikset, Medico (sucks) and Mul-T-loc (Awesome). There's a few other companies out there but in general a company is purchased by a competitor then the name is kept, the tooling is kept, the people are laid off- very similar to GM in competition with Chev, or Lexus in competition with Toyota, or Hyuandi in competition with Kia.

    I have a serious, intense, personal dislike of Medico- about 20 years ago, they went into each locksmith's company, repurchased all the hardware they had sold wholesale and decided they would sell directly to customers. Well obviously that was a disaster- people hire locksmith's for access to knowledge, hardware and installation. Medico managed in one fell swoop to pis s off every locksmith company. The ONLY reason why police departments "endorse Medico" is Medico has been literally given to just about every LEO org in the United States- so the Police somewhat "endorse" them as a freebee.

    Now lets compare Medico to Mul-T-Loc. Mul-T-Loc was originally designed by the Israeli government to store their nuclear weapons in a sandy dusty environment. The locks you buy here stateside are the civilian version of the "nuke" locks. The locks are literally bullet proof, they require little if any lubrication. They have a unique key blade that not only has pins on the top and sides, but floating pins located in the key blade itself. (This is why each key can cost $50) Each key is an original; it cannot be duplicated- period. (Due to the floating pins) The lock itself cannot be drilled as it uses the same technology that is used in safes to prevent drilling.

    The key machine used to make each key costs $18,000 and is accurate to .0001". The lowest security level is issued to a locksmith in a geographical region of 100 miles across. The next highest is a regional security keyway- such as Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Then above that I didn't have clearance to know but I do know it exists.

    Mul-t-loc's have only been picked ONCE and that was by the female engineer who designed it and it took her two weeks to do it in her laboratory.

    By the time you get done screwing around with a Mul-T-Loc, bypassing the lock entirely by removing the door, cutting the door, or finding an alternate way in looks really good.

    I just took my shower and while showering I was asking myself "How could I FORCE my way through it?" Thermite would destroy the lock in the locked position. C4 would work- it'd destroy the lock but it'd still be in the locked position afterwards. Plasma cutter? Oxyacetylene? See "Thermite".
     
  11. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    Your a damn king of locksmith.
     
  12. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If I want to open a locked residential door without breaking it, I just use a little bottle jack and a length of 4x4 wood post.
    Just position the bottle jack horizontally right below the door knob and fit the 4x4 across the door to the hinge side and start pumping the jack.
    There is always enough gap in the door frame to allow the door to easily swing open with no noise, effort or major damage.
     
  13. ocarolan

    ocarolan Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Great tips. One more idea: install double-cylinder deadbolts on all exterior doors. Lock them when you're away from home for extended periods.

    Why? Well, eventually any burglar can enter an unoccupied home, say via a broken window. But the locked doors will prevent him from carrying out the goods easily. In particular, this will impede the recent "moving company" burglars, who target vacationers and clean out their houses with moving vans.

    Also, some burglars could panic when they realize they're locked in, and simply escape without taking much.

    Just be sure to unlock the doors when you're inside, for fire safety. Key-captive locks are also an option if you want accessibility but don't like the aesthetics of a key sticking out of the lock.

    Here is Medeco's although I think Mul-T-Loc also make this.

    [video=youtube;1IToLd_vGKc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IToLd_vGKc&noredirect=1[/video]
     
  14. U201492

    U201492 Well-Known Member

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    This also has an element of both truth and lawsuit in it. If the key is removed from the inside and a fire happens and a locksmith installed it, the legal liability of negligence is freaking HUGE. HOWEVER, having said that we would install them on Dutch doors.

    There was an Apartment building manager who should have gotten out of prison like,,,next year for being stupid. This guy had Schlage locks throughout the apartment- which is a good choice as they're rated light industrial ("Grade 2") for long life.

    Where the guy went mentally to hell was instead of actually keying each lock to its own key, he simply stuffed each cylinder with a spring, and a stack of .010" pins- which is roughly 1/3rd the thickness of a sheet of printer paper. Which means ANY Schlage key could fit ANY lock.

    Imagine the civil lawsuit for millions of dollars, and the criminal negligence that happened when a guy came back and murdered his old girlfriend. Imagine the pee puddles of every tenant as they realized they had NO protection until someone started doing their job right.

    Around,,,1995 or so (! Can't remember exactly !) a locksmith had installed a keyed double deadbolt (In Boston, I think- in New England anyway) and a Mom and her 3 kids burned to death. I forgot what the criminal charges were, but the civil charges was about 3.5 million and that'd be what? $20ish million in todays dollars give or take a bit?

    IF YOU HAVE THIS KIND OF LOCK- THAT IS, A DEADBOLT INSIDE THE FRONT DOOR? MAKE SURE THERE'S NO WINDOWS WITHIN 30"!! It's fairly easy to knock out the glass and Bad DNA can reach inside and flip the knob. Seems a lot of 1970's houses had stained windows along the side of the door (the Brady Bunch's house had that if I remember right- so much for Mr. Brady being a good house architect eh?)

    Enclosed- current picture of the "Brady Bunch" house- see that window to the right of the door? That has "Break Me- insert arm, turn door knob" written all over it". You normally didn't see it because as the door opened from the inside it was covered.

    Brady Bunch House.jpg

    Brady Bunch House.jpg

    Brady Bunch House.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  15. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Much ado about nothing. Get a house alarm system if your that worried about your door locks.
     
  16. U201492

    U201492 Well-Known Member

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    Well Mr. Hunter, as JRR Tolken said, "The tale grew in the telling". But this is my faith walk as it were.

    *Blushes* Oregon you're embarrassing me. But I've always wanted to be a locksmith- even when I was doing other work as an electrician, or selling cars, or drilling wells- I'd always be doing it in the background. I went to Foley-Belsaw back in 1981 and took the course before I got out of the Army just for giggles and grins so I could get a job.

    Anyone who's been in the Army knows that in the "Old Hollywood" barracks there's a group of mail boxes, one for each soldier that was built with the building and never used. To tease my First Sargeant, I picked the locks on all 220 of them for practice and to jerk his chain. The result was,,,rather spectacular. I don't think I've ever heard a Top Kick roar with as much anger as he did. Nor did he buy my weak protests of innocence either. Had'em all locked up in about 10 minutes. Great Top Kick- hell of a great man.

    Got out of the Army and my Dad crushed my spirit of my wanting to be a locksmith. "NOBODY NEEDS A F&^%$!! LOCKSMITH!!" and it did, it really did crush my spirit.

    Fast forward from 1986 to 1996 and I'm working in New England fixing copying machines during the day for Sharp, and Minolta's and I'd study locksmithing at night. Took the PCDI (Professional Career Development Center's) home study course. Well, before taking the course I went to a book store and ordered all the locksmith instruction books available- both of them. Literally memorized them with notes in the margins- then when I started the class they used abridged versions of the very books I had already owned. So I'd get my test and practical coursework in the mail on a Thursday, do it that night, and had it in the mail Friday morning- since I had the cash, I paid off the 1 year course in advance and completed it in roughly 6 weeks. Actual time was probably less than 12 hours.

    Fast forward again- I'm working at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, once again I'm doing locksmithing on all the vending machines down in CIA (Controlled Industrial Area= "nukes") as a Supervisor with a crew of 5 under me. I increase sales by some $65,000 in 6 months, do an internal audit, find the Boss had been pocketing $2.65 million in cash and she had stolen enough raw material to expand her house by 3 rooms in Silverdale. Well the Navy fired me for (I kid you not!) "Not being a team player" and the Army investigated. Lt. Colonel from JAG said I had grounds to sue the Navy, gave me written permission and I said "Forget it"- the job only paid minimum wage anyway, and was technically part time. I needed a career.

    So I went home and cried. I was pis sed, hurt, and angry- at God. I mean I had unbridled fury at God can't say I'm too proud of that- I threw a hard bound Thompson Chain Reference bible across the room into a door and cracked the door and shattered the books spine.

    ****CAUTION: what follows is my faith walk in Christ. Please stop here if this could, or would offend you. This is the only time that I will mention this, nor will I continue this discussion.****

    *************

    So I'm furious at God. In a small teeny tiny voice "Larry, pick up the phone and call the first lock smith company thats listed NO! I'M STILL FURIOUS AT YOU! EVERYONE ELSE HAS A LIFE EXCEPT ME! WHEN IS MY LIFE GOING TO START? Larry, for once just shut up and do as I say

    "Fine God, I'll do as you say" I muttered. This is one of maybe 3 or 4 times in my whole life this has happened. That is I heard who I believe to be the voice of the Holy Spirit and I acted on it.

    Now personally, to call a company about a job in my book is the height of laziness. I don't consider it professional. I don't consider it to be a worthwhile endeavor. In this case however I was 100% flat out wrong.

    For 3 days I did "ride alongs"- that is, I rode with other locksmiths as an extended interview. I REALLY wanted this job- and I'm tearing down locks, rebuilding them, doing installations, etc. and I get the job.

    Every October at the Holiday Inn in Portland Oregon they have a locksmiths convention, and then another one in the spring time in Seattle. Back to school I go for a $450 dollar "refresher" course. With a maximum of 20 students allowed there was 26 in the class. I graduated #1- only to discover the instructor had been a drill instructor with the 104th Training Regiment 4th Battalion down in Vancouver years ago before they reorganized! I mean what are the odds-?

    There's 3 different level's of locksmithing, where you can show a mastery of 36 different disciplines. The bottom level is 'CRL' which is Certified Registered Locksmith. This consists of 10 core, and 2 of your choice tests. Normally taking 4 to 5 years I passed the test the first time in 6 months, 2 weeks. I had managed to work my way from apprentice to shop manager in 2 years, 2 months.

    Next is Certified Professional Locksmith. Total of 10 more core, and 2 more of your choice- you have now proved in writing your mastery of 24 of 36 lock disciplines. The CML, Certified Master Locksmith is where you have shown mastery of 36 out of 36 lock disciplines.

    Out of 100,000ish locksmiths, at the time there was 2558 CRL's, 950 CPL's, and 750 CML's. Out of the 750 CML's, only 490 were alive at the time.

    I was lucky enough to be trained by a CML.

    I never went after my CPL or CML. There's some locks you'll never see in your lifetime- like jail locks. I've worked on exactly ONE jail lock at that was at the old Bremerton jail because they lost the key and they wanted to use it for storage. Boat locks- once again, a rather oddball discipline with little demand. For some strange reason most hatch locks on boats are made in Norway or Sweden and use bit keys (think "skeleton" key- that term isn't right, there's no such thing but the public,,,,*big sigh*)

    Do they still have "Yahoo Groups?" I used to teach advance locksmithing techniques on a closed Yahoo Group- the first thing I did was run a background check on everyone in the 289 person group. 200ish of them failed and the class was reduced to about 90.

    One of that 90, guy named Mark, is one who has persistently requested the wife and I move to Arkansas for the past 10 years.

    The bottom line is, A)Parents, don't crush your children's spirit B)If you really do have a dream don't let someone tell you "No"
    C)This is my faith story in Christ
     
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  17. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I was wondering when the religious soapbox would show up.