Locked out!
August 13, 2012 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Help me open my friend's apartment front door. He has two keys (his and wife's) and he closed the door while key #2 was already on the lock inside. Now key #1 doesn't fit in, it doesn't get in all the way on the lock.

To complicate things, it's one of these types of keys (how are they called?): http://jgwong.org/dropbox/keys.jpg

We already tried pushing key #2 using a pocket knife and unbent clips but no success. Maybe it has turned a bit with the door slam and it's stuck. Is there a way to pick the lock?
posted by jgwong to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Those are called dimple keys. You should probably call a locksmith (or your landlord) or risk damaging the lock.
posted by jquinby at 2:35 PM on August 13, 2012

If you call a locksmith, which seems to be your only recourse, you must make sure you get a reputable one. There is scam whereby disreputable and incompetent locksmiths will quote you a price over the phone (or not at all) and then bump up the price once they arrive. The incompetent ones will even damage the lock and/or the door in gaining entry e.g. by drilling the lock straight out. If you explain the scenario to the locksmith they may well be able to tell you how to address it yourself.

To find a reputable locksmith I suggest you use Yelp or a similar site and select someone with sufficient and consistently good ratings.

Anecdata: I recently locked us out of the house. I found a locksmith but when I called he was quite far out of town. He gave me a price (I think it was $80 per lock) but said it would take an hour for him to get there and suggested we call someone who could get there faster. He stressed I should get a price up front and that it should be around $X. (I asked him to come anyway but two minutes later someone with my spare key called me. I called him straight back to cancel and he couldn't have been happier for me. My point being that's the sort of guy you need. And if you call someone like that and there is a quick and easy solution I'm sure he would tell you.)
posted by NailsTheCat at 2:50 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Are any of the windows unlocked? I would (and have in the past) attempt to break in as long as whatever you damage doing so is less than the price of a locksmith.

For instance, the cost of a strip of duct tape to cobble a cut window screen back together is less than the cost of a locksmith.

Get creative.
posted by phunniemee at 2:55 PM on August 13, 2012

Call the landlord or after hours maintenance
posted by KogeLiz at 3:28 PM on August 13, 2012

Is there a back door?
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:47 PM on August 13, 2012

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