So many keys for identical filing cabinets. I just want one.
December 11, 2017 6:28 AM   Subscribe

I inherited 12 metal filing cabinets at work, which is great. They each came with their own key. Because of protocol i have to constantly open and close those cabinets, several times a day each. Now i have a huge keyring jingling from my side all day, and even though i numbered and color coded the keys, still waste a lot of time fussing with the locks.

The cabinets look like this.

Is there a way to fix the locks so they all accept the same key? A sort of master key for them all? Can i order this from the manufacturer (the cabinets are ooooold)? Do i need a locksmith? Our budget is pretty much nil, but i'm very handy with various DIY skills. I just don't know what i should be googling for. I'm willing to pay for a new key myself though if it comes to that. 10 new locks would be a stretch however.
Anyone with experience or tips on this?
posted by PardonMyFrench to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Somewhere in your city will be the Old Filing Cabinet Guy (in my town [Toronto], that would be Roy at Long Life Locks). Most likely second or third generation in the business, Old Filing Cabinet Guy knows all of the cabinet manufacturers and has keys and barrels for all of them. Find out what make of cabinets and lock you have, find the Old Filing Cabinet Guy, call them, and describe the problem, and especially your budget constraint. They will have solutions.

Twelve different locks were obviously meant for security reasons. Are you sure that bypassing them meets your company's security guidelines? A single-keyed set of cabinets has all the security of a shelf.
posted by scruss at 7:08 AM on December 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

If the current locks can be removed, then your solution is just to replace them all with locks that are keyed the same. Here's a quick search on amazon filing cabinet barrel locks that turned up a set of 5 such; I don't imagine 12 would be much harder.

You should check with your organization, especially if it's government related, for rules that may govern filing cabinet security, before you change any locks.
posted by dbx at 7:24 AM on December 11, 2017

As a clerk in the military we removed all the locks from our cabinets and had a steel bar for each with a regular padlock type loop at the top, and a little foot welded to the bottom of the cabinet (not the drawers). Probably not super cheap but it’s an alternative and a welder is not hard to find.
posted by furtive at 11:27 AM on December 11, 2017

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