Learning to Re-Key Locks

I found a fantastic deal on new doorknobs for my son’s house at the Restore. Interestingly there were almost enough for sale for the whole house including passage sets, privacy sets and keyed sets. They were exactly what we were looking for too, lever handles in an oil rubbed bronze finish.

New oil rubbed bronze doorknobs
New oil rubbed bronze doorknobs

There were only two keyed lock sets in the store but I was able to match the style at the Home Depot to purchase one extra keyed set. These are Accent style Schlage lock sets.

Almost immediately after purchasing these handles the basement door lock broke and I was able to replace it right away. At this point though I seem to have lost the second keyed lock set! I have still not found it.

First lock install
First lock install

The handle went in easily but I had a bit of trouble fitting the strike plate. Turns out they were a bit off and the doors that were difficult to lock had plates that were a bit out of alignment. I was able to fix that for all the doors.

As I added these lock sets to the doors and purchased deadbolts to match, I realized they needed to be keyed alike as the existing locks in the house were. So I read about how to do that.

Schlage makes instructions for re-keying their locks available online and it was a fun but very patient process. Locks are pinned to the key that will be used. My first kit came with 6 pin keys and the locks I had only had 5 pins. That was easily remedied by not using the keys that came with the kit. I had to order the grooved cap removal tool separately. It is possible to remove the cap with a screwdriver on the teeth, but it was very difficult to replace the cap without the device that tightens it.

The process of replacing the pins is supposed to be straightforward. Just hold in the springs while removing the cartridge and re-pin then slide the newly pinned barrel back into the lock. The follower is white. But it has a groove in it and the instructions don’t tell you that the groove will release the springs if it is in the wrong position!

Using follower to hold springs
Using follower to hold springs

Unfortunately I let the springs out! So I had to figure out how to replace them. The re-pinned barrel got stuck on is way in and once stuck there was nothing to do but remove the follower and pinned set and the springs popped all over the place! So then I had to order sets of springs and the driver pins to replace the bent and lost springs.

Parts of a Lock
Parts of a Lock

The pinned set just matches the depth of the pins to the key. Most new keys are numbered with the pins required in the cylinder, left to right. The pins are numbered as to size and fit into the slots above the key. That part is easy.

Pinned Lock
Pinned Lock

I got enough practice carefully placing the springs back into the chambers, capping them with pins one at a time and sliding the follower over a bit to hold that spring while the next one was installed. That is what took lots of patience as the springs often would pop out if the follower got stuck or misaligned. And the springs had to be replaced again.

I finally got the hang of it though and installed all the new locks while the floor was being laid.

Backdoor deadbolt and keyed lock
Backdoor deadbolt and keyed lock

The new doorknobs really improved the look of the house. This update is a relatively small improvement that makes a pretty big impact.

New doorknobs
New doorknobs

I did misplace one of the keyed locks. I have no idea where it is as I have looked for some time and can’t find it. I know I purchased two because I have the receipt! So at the garage door I just used a privacy lock set with the deadbolt. I think inside the garage the deadbolt is probably secure enough.

Garage Deadbolt and Privacy Lock
Garage Deadbolt and Privacy Lock
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