Once I had the replacement lock I cut into the stiff polycarbonate packaging designed to scrape cuticles from fingers and started to look at assembling the lock to the door.
Which was when I remembered the game we had fitting the lock some 17 years or so ago. That was when my father in law was alive and he did virtually all the DIY around; because he was good at it and because I made a good plumber's/carpenter's mate. Hmmm.
The new lock wrapped around the door edge and would need rebating into the door. This didn't daunt me so much, even though I knew it would be a pain as the door was extremely hard wood and I should really take the door off its hinges to do it, but that would require someone else to manage the door with me and that I didn't have.
What was the problem was that when I removed the existing lock, which just attached to the face of the door with the face plate and I came to drill the holes for the two pegs attached to the new lock escutcheon I found that all that happened when I started the drill was that a plug popped out of the back of the door. A perfectly formed crescent shaped plug. My father in law had cleverly plugged the original hole because no lock we could find would fit that original distance from the edge of the door.
So I stood and pondered for a while and decided to go to B&Q and think some more.
A number of alternatives came to mind.
- Buy a new lock of exactly the same kind, if I could.
- . Make a combination of old barrel and new box (which would mean one key for outside and one for inside).
- . Depending upon one leg and the barrel connection only. Somewhat dodgy.
- . Giving up on the door and buying a new front door. Rich man's alternative.
- Banging my head against the door until unconsciousness resulted and I was found by wife whereon a professional locksmith/carpenter could be prevailed upon to make all the madness go away.
For quite a few minutes option 5 seemed the most fruitful. Then I steeled myself and found the exact replica of the lock that had been on there and suffered the payment of another Â£41 for the fix. I couldn't go through the ordeal of swapping yet another lock, besides which the polycarbonate packaging was now well and truly cut to extremely sharp ribbons.
It was with considerable optimism that I carried on with the new lock, all I had to do was screw the new plate to the door and assemble the lock. Which was when I discovered that the geometry of the plate had altered very very slightly but sufficiently for one of the mounting screws to hit the edge of the existing hole and do nothing at all.
Oh well I thought, one mounting screw will be enough until I get the lock mounted. And I work on using the existing hole. The head of the screw snaps off as I screw it in with the power screwdriver leaving about half of it embedded solidly in the very solid hardwood.
So I then twist and manoever the plate so I can get some purchase for another hole which I augur with my hand augur and start with a drill hole about half the width of the screw. I apply the power screwdriver and then stop and start finishing with a hand screwdriver. The top of the screw twists off in exactly the same way and leaves the rest of the thread embedded just as solidly in the same very solid hardwood.
I do not kick the door, I don't weep in frustration but I do say 'Fuck' under my breath a few times.
I'm left with a single solution, which is to get the lock mounted using the bolts running from the face plate through the hole for the lock without being able to see where the bolt met the lock inside the door. I banished all thought of the possible hours I could take to get the one bolt connected and forgot about the ache in my fingers holding both lock and faceplate in the right orientation with the tab of the lock meeting the slot in the face plate since connecting it without that being right was pointless.
It took less than three minutes, and I managed the second bolt at the second try. It was a little complicated getting the lock even on the door and its a little stiff to turn. But it works.
I was quite pleased with myself, even if it did cost Â£50 more than it should have. The other lock can go in the box of other stuff useful on some other day.
The original posting in the new journal is here