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Can a locksmith restore an antique lock?

Can a locksmith restore an antique lock?

Can a locksmith restore an antique lock?

Lock and key technology has advanced hugely in recent years with the advent of things like digital locks and keyless entries, but there are still a huge number of antique locks out there still in use and they need specialist attention to ensure they keep working.

The good thing about locks is they have been fundamentally the same in terms of how they work – a key enters a barrel and a turning mechanism unlocks or locks the door – for more than 100 years so a trained locksmith can in most cases fix or repair locks of any age, although some antique locks will take some specialist knowledge to fix, and it isn’t something all locksmiths can do.

There are a range of common problems that affect antique locks, from breaks to rusting. Of course, it should be remembered that older locks may have been made before there were industry standards so it might not be like others of a similar age and this can cause problems if a part needs to be fixed.

Here are some of the more common problems that locksmiths encounter with antique locks, as well answers to some of the common questions that people ask:

Lock breaks

Old locks can get worn and weathered and are therefore more susceptible to cracks and breaks, likewise years of use can weaken it, and things like rust can also play a part in a lock failure. In this case, if the lock does have a break or a crack in it, it is likely that some sort of fabrication will be needed to repair it, which a professional locksmith will need to undertake.

Internal lock issues

Internal issues are relatively rare in antique locks, which is usually down to the relative lack of moving parts in them. This means that when there is a problem, it is more often than not a foreign body blocking it, and if this is the case, this can be quite an easy fix.

However, if it is a more high-security lock, then an internal issue will take more time to fix due to the added complexity of the inner workings of it and again it is something that a professional locksmith should do.


A common problem in antique locks, especially those that have been outside for many years or exposed to moisture is rust. An accumulation of rust can clog up the internal workings of a lock or make it difficult to insert a key. 

But rust isn’t usually terminal for a lock. The lock can be taken apart and all the pieces cleaned to remove the rust and then polished and/or treated so it doesn’t come back before the lock is reassembled. This is something that you can attempt yourself, if you are confident that you can put the lock back together again correctly afterwards. If not, a locksmith will happily do this for you.

Cutting new keys

Of course, old keys can break too – again, years of wear and tear can take their toll and make them vulnerable to breaking. A locksmith can extract a key if it snaps off in a lock.

Locksmiths can also cut new keys for antique locks if the old key has broken or been lost. Sometimes they will do this by hand as cutting it from a blank might not work and a skilled locksmith can create new keys just from looking at a picture, although this does take time so customers need to be prepared for that. 

What if the lock is beyond repair?

Sometimes, old locks get into a condition where it is impossible to repair when it breaks. Finding a replacement, or replacement parts can be difficult too, given age and, as mentioned previously, not all locks were made to common standards in the past.

Sometimes, the best option is finding a lock that fits the dimensions of the door because that means it is still secure, which is the top priority. A locksmith from Inta-lock Locksmiths in Peterborough will be able to advise on what locks will be most appropriate for your situation and will also be able to fit in, and make it fit in as closely as possible with the look of the door.

How long does it take to repair an antique lock?

This is a difficult question to answer. With modern locks, which are built to common standards, it is relatively easy to estimate how long a job will take. But with antique locks, it is a different matter; for instance, replacement parts may not be easily accessible and as a result they could have to be made bespoke to the lock, which can take some time to do.

In these cases, it is best to speak to a locksmith first who can give you advice on what might be needed and how long it could take to do. Inta-lock Locksmiths in Peterborough have a skilled team that can repair antique locks and will give you a full quote before undertaking any work.

How much does it cost to repair an antique lock?

Much like the time it can take, this question is difficult to answer with any certainty. How much it will cost to repair an antique lock will depend on how long it will take to do and what is involved in the repair, such as whether something bespoke has to be made for the lock, or a specific part has to be sourced for it.

Again, it is worth talking to a locksmith first and getting a quote before any work is commissioned. If you live in Peterborough or the surrounding area and have an antique lock that needs to be repaired, then give Inta-lock Locksmiths a call. Our skilled team of lock technicians are well used to repairing antique locks, for a price that is competitive with any other locksmith in the area. For more information and to book an appointment, call or email.


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