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How do would you open this lock?
December 5, 2010 1:53 PM   Subscribe

How do would you open this lever lock?

I have a friend in student accommodation who needs to access a cupboard which in locked by this square hole lever lock. How can he open it without a screwdriver?
posted by nam3d to Education (21 answers total)
 
Large Alan key?
posted by devnull at 1:54 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if a properly sized piece of metal bar stock (or maybe something like a metal ruler) would fit in there and turn it.
posted by DMan at 1:55 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unscrew the metal part, pull the lock assembly out, and open.
posted by dfriedman at 1:57 PM on December 5, 2010


Sorry, I didn't catch the "without a screwdriver" part. But sometimes a coin can be used as a screwdriver if not too much torque is required.
posted by dfriedman at 1:58 PM on December 5, 2010


Actually a large screwdriver is exactly what would work.
posted by JohnE at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2010


In the absence of proper tools I'd probably look for some object made of wood or solid plastic that is nearly the right size (pencil? chopstick?) and then whittle the end to the right shape using a kitchen knife or even a vegetable peeler. Whether the improvised tool would actually work would depend on how stiff the lock is.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:00 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


That isn't a lock. It's a place for a doorknob to go. Visit a hardware store and buy a doorknob.
posted by odinsdream at 2:24 PM on December 5, 2010


No, it's a lock. I see them all the time on trains (the guard carries a square-ended key with a T-shaped handle). It's not designed to be especially secure - just to stay closed and resist fingers.

If you can find a spoon with a handle that will fit diagonally into the square, that's another option.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:28 PM on December 5, 2010


This lock will be easier to open if he pushes on the door slightly to remove any pressure from the locking bar.

If he has a metal fork kicking around, he could probably bend back the two outer tines and insert the inner two to turn the lock. He may have to experiment with bending the inner tines to make positive contact with the square hole.

That'd be what I would try if I didn't have any tools at all.
posted by davey_darling at 2:28 PM on December 5, 2010


You also might just be able to slip something under the lever and knock it up (or down). A credit card might do it if the latch is well-oiled.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:29 PM on December 5, 2010


a pair of needlenose pliers..tips in diagonal corners and twist? assuming it isnt way stuck
posted by timsteil at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2010


That does look remarkably like the inside of my inside house doors though, when you take the plate and handle off. 'Borrow' a handle and bar off another door with flat-head screws on the mounting plate? I've unscrewed many of those with the sharp end of a normal kitchen knife.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:19 PM on December 5, 2010


Try using a pair of scissors, either closed or just one scissor blade - hopefully you have a pair with a pointy end that is tapered so you just slide it in until it's snug, then turn.
posted by buzzv at 3:28 PM on December 5, 2010


I've always had success with a large - flat bladed screwdriver, wedged in diagonally - assuming the 'without a screwdiver' part means a phillips to take apart the lock.
posted by defcom1 at 3:51 PM on December 5, 2010


Use a ratchet. The drive on a ratchet is square -either 1/4, 3/8, or 1/2". I'd bet, based on square drive doorknobs being the standard, that a 1/4" ratchet with an extension would do the trick.
posted by notsnot at 4:47 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who is reading this as, "teach my friend how to break into this type of lock?"

Look - the right answer is talk to whoever is responsible to figure out how to properly get access. If it's something that's being done because of, say, a deadline that is coming up tomorrow and wasn't planned, then this is the price of poor planning. Breaking in, no matter how simple is not the answer.
posted by plinth at 5:29 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I had to open something like this and I didn't have any tools I would bend an old credit card into a square shape to fit, then twist. The plastic is likely strong enough to make it work and the fit wouldn't have to be exact.
posted by ChrisHartley at 6:41 PM on December 5, 2010


Find a cheap plastic ballpoint pen - made of the squish-able plastic, not the clear plastic that would crack if you squeezed it. Take the top plastic bit off, and squeeze the plastic down. With your teeth if your fingers aren't strong enough. Stick it in at a diagonal and you should be able to engage the lever with a twist. If I'm misjudging the size, instead of flattening the end, form a square instead (you'll need to use your teeth if you don't have some pliers around for the finer work) - and it just might perfectly fit the square.

But, yeah. What plinth said.
posted by porpoise at 6:53 PM on December 5, 2010


No, it's a lock. I see them all the time on trains

I don't doubt that there exists a kind of lock with this opening, and public transit sounds like somewhere you'd see such a thing, but if this is a residential fiber-board door, with cheap-ass dollar-store chrome hardware like in the picture, it's probably a door knob receiver. You can even see around the edges of the circular plate where the door knob used to rotate.

I'm sticking by my previous answer, pick up a doorknob at any hardware store.
posted by odinsdream at 7:15 PM on December 5, 2010


Yup. A knob spindle goes thru there. Replacements are ten bux at the Home Despot, a buck or two at a yardsale or thrift shop.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:02 AM on December 6, 2010


Try using a pair of scissors, either closed or just one scissor blade - hopefully you have a pair with a pointy end that is tapered so you just slide it in until it's snug, then turn.

We have these types of locks on the fitting rooms at my store, and the scissors are the preferred go-to when we misplace the keys. Blades closed works better for us, but YMMV, of course.
posted by clorox at 10:34 PM on December 8, 2010


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