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My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Sunday, 7 October 2018

No luck with a lock

The new shed needed a lock on the door.

I bought a clone Yale item (Securit Standard Nightlatch - S1740.)

It came in the usual tight plastic wrapping on a card. There were no instructions. I did look at a video on You Tube that gave me some idea. I fitted the main body to the door, then the keeper on the other side, but then I realised that the bolt part is curved on one side and straight on the other - mine was the wrong way round. I then lost the plot and tried to modify and ended up with a dreadful mess of split wood and shavings from the door jamb and it was getting late and cold. I became totally frustrated and depressed and decided to leave it all for a clearer head next day.

I came in and ate my meal, but couldn't help puzzling about this problem and I knew I was overlooking something obvious. "Are these items left or right handed,." I was trying to imagine the lock fitting on a door that opened from the other side, but my brain is not very good at such spatial awareness imaginations, a sad failing for an aspirant DIYer. There was no indication on the packaging. At about 8:00 pm I suddenly thought "is that bolt reversible?"

Off I went to the shed in the dark armed with my torch. I unscrewed the main body of the lock from the door, turned it over and saw a tiny screw securing a backplate. I unscrewed and lifted the plate. A small spring jumped out like one of those miniature frogs I have seen so often on the Scottish hills. The spring landed on the decking and it took overt five minutes to find it in the dark. I brought everything back into the house, and after turning the bolt I tried to refit the spring but there was no way I could see how it went. I searched the manufacturer's website to no avail. They had no phone number, just the option to send an email. I typed my SOS to them and now await their reply.

Long live DIY.

I am too ashamed to show a photo of the mess on the door jamb.

The vital point it seems, which I found out later, is whether the door opens inwards or outwards , but the retailer, the manufacturer and You Tube had failed to point that out, or that the bolt is reversible


  1. Just as I post a thrilling episode of walking on the Cornish Path you come up with some DIY tips.
    What is needed from you soon is one of those 'how to do it' YouTube videos to demonstrate the fitting of a right hand lock to a left hand door. That would probably go viral.
    I expect by now, lunchtime Sunday, you will have solved the problem or are you back at B&Q?
    When is the grand opening? A champagne bottle hurtling through that already splintered door will be spectacular. Wouldn't want to miss that.

  2. to the best of my knowledge, and with respect, yale type 'nightlatches' can never be fitted to outward opening doors - for that you must use a mortise lock

  3. You have my sympathy having just spent several hours trying to set up a new Wi-Fi printer to a new iMac. Success eventually but what a struggle. Luckily the iPhone connected almost instantly. Our old printer then laptop packed in days after our return forcing the purchases.

    I look forward to the next instalment when you can report success fitting -I think gimmer is correct- a mortise lock.

  4. Of course my view might have more credibility if I’d spelled ‘mortice’correctly, although gimmer might disagree.

  5. I fear I've been ignoring you recently, seduced by the 100-comment trail. There are parts of this post that ring familiar bells. Notably the overpowering need - in the middle of the night - to resolve some problem or other even if it means doing it by torchlight. An urge that is almost always doomed to failure.

    Trying to envisage your situation I wondered - horrifically - if it might be resolved by fitting the lock on the door jamb and the keeper on the door itself. Although I too lack a well-developed sense of spatial awareness it didn't take long for me to imagine the carpentry brutalities that this would demand. But then how about fitting the lock on the other (hinge) side of the door? You're right, I'm not being serious.

    Dim memories dating back decades started to form. Wasn't there an impossibly simple way - perhaps based on nothing more than the lock casing - of reversing the action? So simple that the manufacturers didn't need to explain this, or to state that it was left/right reversible since all locks incorporated this feature? It was at this point I realised I was merely word-spinning and could offer no useful help other than profound sympathy.

    But still the thing wouldn't go away. I realised that virtually all external house doors open inwards if only to enhance draught exclusion. On the other hand, all shed doors open outwards because such doors are simpler to create and install. This is why most shed doors have external sliding bolts secured by padlocks (which are, ironically, more secure; shed doors don't usually fit precisely and minimising the gap between jamb and door is an important aspect of ensuring a Yale lock works properly). However given the proposed use of your new shed, the external bolt would not be lockable from the inside. The solution would then be to fit an internal sliding bolt which wouldn't need a padlock.

    I can however pronounce on the spelling of mortice - this is the correct way.

  6. BC - I am still awaiting a reply from Securit rather than trying to bend the spring all over and possibly breaking it. I finished the main hardcore DIY on the shed yesterday, save for the lock and it now remains to do the painting - surely I can't mess that up, but as you well know I can turn many benign activities into an epic - remember our little geocaching trip near the foot of Windermere (Simpson Ground) and Williamson's monument, and my dramatic stile battle on our recent outing? I enjoyed the DIY, not having done much in that line for a long time, but by Saturday I became disenchanted and fed up with it. I have cabin fever for a decent walk, and have a short four miler in mind with a reputedly good café halfway round.


    gimmer - I don't know about Yale but with this Securit clone the bolt is certainly reversible, but it remains to be seen if re-inserting the spring afterwards is beyond my dexterity.


    Afoot - Wi-Fi seems to be different from normal computer operation - it has its own incomprehensible language and most things are achieved by trial and error and a dose of luck. And printers are also in a league of their own for eccentric behaviour. Many people enthuse about Mac and whilst I do like my iMac I am by no means starry eyed about it - there are pros and cons for both Mac and PC.

  7. RR - the reason for fitting a lock is just to satisfy oneself that some attempt at security has been made. I was recently informed that a cordless drill inserted where they key goes in a Yale type lock will open it within seconds. I have one on my garage door and recently found that I could open easily by inserting a credit card (more silent than a drill) so I fitted a metal baffle to prevent that possibility. Whatever precautions one takes a determined criminal will get in at best by expertise and at worst with a sledge hammer. If they can rip an ATM out of a building wall my hut will present no problem. At present the shiny, circular, brass Yale type lock looks handsome from the outside - the rest of the carnage is inside, but it will be sorted.

  8. I blame auto-correct americanism for the s - as in practise, etc. when we all know that it is practice that makes - lock fitting, perhaps - perfect : I wonder how Patton spelt it.
    I used to deal with reciprocal space on a daily basis but I cannot see how it is possible for a slam shut night-latch to work on an outward opening door unless you make a mortice in the outer lace of the jamb to shroud/bury the keep inside and, unless the door fits to a fraction of mm into the jamb, leaving a significant section of the latch itself still visible from the outside - i will have to visit to examine this miracle and pray at that shrine of ingenuity (having just come back from the land of innumerable shrines and miracles, i feel sure there must be one to locksmiths somewhere on the road to - say, Padua . . .)

  9. gimmer - now the thing is tidied up as best I can you are welcome to come and inspect.

  10. I remember the first time I ever opened a night latch door lock with a piece of plastic. I was in my mid-teens and didn't have a credit card, but faced with a locked door and no keys (for the sake of clarity: at my home - I wasn't breaking in to anywhere I shouldn't have been) I scouted around the garden and was shocked at how easily I got in with a bit of broken plant pot. I duly warned my parents over and over that a better lock was needed. They eventually fitted one after a break-in. How did the thieves get in? They kicked in the panel at the bottom of the door. Perhaps they also had no credit cards and couldn't find a handy bit of plant pot that day?

  11. Gayle - That made m grin. I can't imagine you as a naughty teenager coming home in the early hours. Your story supports my observation that if they want to get in they will - kicking in the door panel is probably an apprentice test on the way to full qualification for ripping ATMs out of walls.

  12. I was the biggest goody-goody of teenagers, which isn't to say that I never came home in the early hours. So goody-goody and trustworthy was I that my parents were remarkably lenient with my curfew. As it happens, the makeshift plant pot door key incident happened in daytime.