Wafer Tumbler Locks

What do you do about a faulty wafer lock?

Are you having trouble with your lock? It is important to know what type of lock you are dealing with. A wafer tumbler lock requires extra care. In such a situation, a professional locksmith is needed to resolve the problem to avoid further damage.

How do you identify a wafer tumbler lock?

A wafer tumbler is a lock type made of an even set of wafers to stop the lock from opening except when the right key is inserted into it. Although it is similar to a pin tumbler lock, the wafer tumbler lock differs in having a single piece of wafer in each lock, whereas each pin in the former consists of two or more pieces. The wafer tumbler lock is often erroneously called a disc tumbler, which is entirely a different type of lock.

If you have a problematic wafer tumbler lock, the team at Top Locksmiths London can repair it or help you replace it with a new one. Are you currently renovating your property? Don’t forget to fit new lock installations where necessary.

Contact a Top Locksmith today for information. Call OUR PHONE NUMBER

Understanding the origin and development of wafer tumbler locks

Philo Felter was the first recognised industrialist to submit a patent for the wafer tumbler lock in 1868. It was first manufactured in Cazenovia, New York, and used as a double-bitted key. Three years before that, Linus Yale Jr had also got a patent for the design of his ground-breaking pin tumbler mortise lock. This lock was, at the time, considered to be the first pin tumbler lock of the modern age.

A couple of years after, Hiram S. Shepardson developed a different type of wafer tumbler lock which operated with a single-bitted steel key, not very different from Yale’s own feather key. By 1878, Yale Lock bought Shepardson’s company, The United States Lock Company and American Lock Manufacturing Company- owned by Philo Felter.

Although Shepardson and Felter had designed their locks for common uses such as desk and drawer locks, as well as gate locks and deadbolts, Yale’s wafer tumbler locks were used mainly for doors in mortise locks.

In the UK, the same type of lock was initiated in 1929. The early models were branded with a patent number on the keys. They were originally supplied to the Wilmot Breeden Company. This company joined leaf tumbler barrels with similar designs in pressure casting and chromium-coating, and hence became the top manufacturer of car body hardware for more than 50 years.

The wafer tumbler design

In a cylinder wafer tumbler lock, a set of even wafers secure the cylinder-shaped plug in its position. The wafers are then placed inside vertical holes within the plug, and are spring-loaded, forcing them to project into diametrically opposed wide grooves present in the lock’s outer casing.

The plug’s rotation remains blocked as long any of the wafers project into any of the wide grooves. This is the case if there is no key insertion, or if the wrong key is inserted. It is therefore imperative for the right key to have notches corresponding to each wafer.

Each wafer has a rectangular hole cut into its centre; the vertical position of the holes in the wafers differ so the corresponding keys must match the width of the hole in each wafer. When each wafer is pulled, the edges are level with the plug, freeing the path for the plug to rotate and open the lock. If one of the wafers is inadequately raised, or raised too high, the wafer edge will occupy one of the grooves, impeding rotation.

Wafer types and their arrangements

There are hundreds of lock manufacturers in the UK and each wafer tumble lock varies across the spectrum. The most common type however, is the single-bitted, 5-wafer configuration often found in cabinets, desk drawers, lockers, key switches, and cash boxes.

Some water tumbler locks work with a stack of tightly spaced wafers built to match a specific contour of a double-sided key. They also work on the mechanism of a carpenter’s contour gauge.

Wafer tumbler locks may be designed for double-bitted or single-bitted keys. However, wafer arrangements inside the plug may differ, like in automotive locks, where wafers are placed in opposite sets, needing a double-bitted key- the operating mechanism stays the same.

Common uses of wafer tumbler locks

Wafer tumbler locks are used for padlocks, doors and gates. While some are medium strength, others have a low security design. Depending on the brand, you can rely on a wafer tumbler lock for minimum security reasons.

At Top Locksmiths, London, we help homeowners and office managers set up strong locks for their buildings. We also supply builders with a new set of locks for their property building fittings. Medium security level gates may require wafer tumbler locks and a variation of other lock types.

While some brands may be fairly-easy to bypass, it is worth noting that wafer tumbler locks are not vulnerable to key bumping or pick gun strikes because they do not contain pin-tumblers

Choosing the right service for your locks

If you have lost your key, a locksmith could cut a new set of keys from code. It is advisable to hire a professional locksmith service that is endorsed by the authorities -for security reasons. Top Locksmiths have highly-qualified engineers who not only credible, but well-trained to provide 100% service excellence.

Why choose Top Locksmiths?

We are fully endorsed by the police to serve residents of London and its surrounding environs. Whether you are jammed out of your home or have lost your vault keys, you can rely on a Top Locksmith professional to get you out of your jam.

Our rates are extremely competitive, and you can call us any time of the day because we operate a 24/7 service. In London, our standby team will arrive your premises within minutes. Rest assured, your property will be in good hands.

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