Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
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Locks & Keys

Tactile Warning

Tactile warning is an abrasive or knurled strip on a lever handle to indicate that the door leads to a hazardous area such as a boiler room, mechanical room, or loading dock.  This requirement is no longer included in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) or in ICC/ANSI A117.1, but it is a […]

Time-Out Lock

One of our customers sent me this photo last week.  It was found on a psychiatric facility and to operate it, a staff member must be present and holding the bolt projected via the lever.  I did my best to track down a manufacturer with no luck.  It’s possible that it was made in a […]

Solution for Unequal Pairs

One of the top 5 questions which I receive almost weekly is regarding the replacement of a 5′-wide equal pair with a 3’+2′ unequal pair.  Because automatic flush bolts and a coordinator can be problematic, and most panic hardware will not fit on a 2′ wide door, I’m constantly being asked if it’s ok to […]

Single Bathroom Locksets

I’ve been asked this question so many times you’d think I’d know the answer by now.  By the way…the photo at left doesn’t have much to do with the question, I just think it’s funny. Yesterday I was having lunch with my hardware friend and mentor, I’ll call him Maxwell*.  Maxwell asked me whether a […]

Dormitory Locks

The hot topic of last week was how to handle locks on dormitory entrance doors, since the students have figured out how to reach under the door with a coat hanger and pull down the lever to unlock the door.  There’s a minute+ of bad video below to illustrate the procedure, as reenacted by a […]

Roof Doors

The locking requirements for roof doors are a bit of a gray area, due to the varied preferences of local code officials. In most cases, the roof door can be locked on the interior side, preventing access to the roof. It is very rare (except in movies) that the egress plan for the building includes […]

Fail Safe Locks

I didn’t want to scare anyone by adding more information to my previous post about stairwell re-entry, but I do get questions about how to accomplish this.  The stairwell re-entry requirements state that the stair side lever must unlock on fire alarm or on a signal from the fire command station depending on the code […]

Bottom Rail Deadlock

Years ago, glass doors were commonly locked with a deadlock in the bottom rail.  Many of these doors are still in use, but in order to comply with current codes, I don’t recommend the use of a bottom rail deadlock on most new projects.  Assuming that the glass door is a required egress door and/or […]

Peek-A-Boo…I see you!

Today I went to a jobsite, and on the way there I stopped at a very busy urban rest area of sorts.  I asked an employee at the food court where the restrooms were, and she handed me a token. When I was working on the Trinity Church undercroft project a few years ago, I […]

Colonial Williamsburg Revisited

During Chip Falcon’s Road Trip we visited Colonial Williamsburg, and you may have seen my slideshow of the doors and hardware there.  I received quite a few questions from readers about the hardware at CW, so I sent an email to the Architectural Research Department there and I got a return email from Mr. Kenneth Schwarz, whose […]

Schlage AD Series – Adaptable Electronic Security

If you haven’t seen the new Schlage AD Series Electronic Lock, you can check it out at – just click any of the graphics on this post.  Don’t you think it’s time for me to go on another road trip?  I can take an AD Series lock with me this time.  🙂 You need to login or register […]

Lever Designs – Unlimited Possibilities

Some projects require lever designs for locksets and panic hardware that are beyond the selection of standard “vanilla” levers offered by all of the commercial manufacturers.  In some cases, even the “European” designs don’t fill the bill, especially when special finishes are desired.  I’ve often run into this with museum projects I’ve specified. For those […]

Schlage LiNK

The other day, one of my friends asked me about the new Schlage LiNK, which is a remote access system that connects you to your home from anywhere via cell phone or computer.  With the monthly subscription and Z-Wave enabled products, you can remotely control and monitor your door locks, check on your pets with […]

Classroom Function

It’s funny how some things stick in your mind, and even funnier that I have “hardware memories” from way back. I remember a rumor going around my 7th grade Home Ec class that another class had locked our teacher, Mrs. Cross, out of the classroom, and that she had cried. So sad! I’m sure that’s […]

Rescue Hardware

A couple of days ago, one of our specwriters asked about a closer on a door with rescue hardware, and another specwriter advised him to use a double-acting closer. I was surprised to learn that they weren’t aware of my FAVORITE LCN special template – ST-1895. In order to explain this special template, I will […]

Indicator Deadbolt

I know I just mentioned bathroom door hardware yesterday so maybe this will be the start of another series.  🙂 Almost every week someone asks me about the use of deadbolts on bathroom doors, often because they want to use an indicator deadbolt, like the Falcon D271 (right).  I saw an application recently at Harvard, […]

Brass Finish – Vibratory Tumbled

A couple of months ago I did a post about the new aged bronze finish – BHMA 643e.  A local architect commented that he had been looking for a finish similar to the base metal that you see after US10B finish rubs off.  I can’t walk away from a challenge, so I called Frascio International […]

Anti-Ligature Knob

I got a call this week from a facility that needed to replace existing locksets with an anti-ligature product.  If you’re not familiar with anti-ligature hardware, it’s designed for use in mental health or detention facilities, to help protect patients or inmates from self-harm by minimizing the attachment points on the hardware.  Anti-ligature hardware is […]

Schlage AD-Series Update

Yesterday I spent a few hours auditing a class on the Schlage AD-Series Electronic Locks.  If you haven’t seen this lock yet, you should go to the website and take a look.  The whole idea behind it is that it’s adaptable.  You can change the type of credential reader (keypad, mag-stripe, proximity/Smart Card/Multi-Tech reader) , […]

Thumbturn Rim Cylinder

This application came across my desk last week and for the life of me I couldn’t think of where someone would use it.  I don’t remember ever being asked for a rim cylinder with a thumbturn, and people ask me for all kinds of random things. For anyone who has wondered about the difference between […]

Accessible Thumbturns

At least once a month someone asks me whether it’s ok to use a deadbolt with a thumbturn on a door that is required to be accessible.  It took some digging to get a definitive answer, because the accessibility standards don’t specify a certain dimension that would be acceptable for the thumbturn.  The ADA guidelines […]

Back to School

I received these photos last week and I didn’t have much advice…maybe someone else does.  These are classroom doors in a school for autistic children, and the extra locksets are due to the special needs of the students.  The students are unable to retract both latches at the same time (if they can even reach […]

Double Cylinder Deadlocks – Residential

I don’t get involved with residential construction very often, but a local locksmith recently asked about the use of double-cylinder deadlocks on single family homes.  His position is that he will not install them, but he was looking for a code reference to back him up. When I checked the Massachusetts One and Two Family […]

Love Padlocks

Who says hardware can’t be romantic?!  In honor of Valentines Day, I present to you a tradition that began in the 1980s in Pécs, Hungary (or maybe in Italy depending on which version of the story you believe), and has spread to cities across the globe.  It seems that sweethearts are attaching padlocks to bridges, […]

Decoded: Manual Flush Bolts (March 2011)

This post was printed in the March 2011 issue of Doors & Hardware [Click here to download the reprint of this article.] One of the gray areas the door and hardware industry has struggled with is the use of manual flush bolts on pairs of doors in a means of egress.  The language in NFPA […]

Anti-Ligature Levers

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, with over 31,000 people taking their life annually.  1,500 suicides occur annually in hospitals (1); it is also the leading cause of death while incarcerated (2). Ligature strangulation (hanging) is the primary means used to end one’s life in these environments. When I […]

New York Chapter DHI

I had a great time at the New York DHI Chapter meeting tonight! I was so impressed with the attendance, the food, and the engagement at their chapter meeting, and they are very excited about the upcoming DHI conference in NYC in October.  Public speaking isn’t my favorite thing to do, but they were a […]

Reader Photos

I’m still spending my Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday nights at town meeting, so I REALLY appreciate all of the great photos that have been sent in lately. Here are a couple of Schlage keypad locks, sent in by Steve Hornyak of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.  I love these locks and I have one on my front door, but […]

WWYD? – Restaurant Egress (Again)

I’d love to know who did this, so I can give them a good talking-to (maybe they’ll read this and track me down like the semi-concealed closer installer). This photo was taken in a restaurant by one of my coworkers.  The tables and chairs are blocking the door, and someone trying to exit would have […]

Hardware Man

OMG – I LOVE this video.  Maybe I’ll get inspired to do a series of “Hardware Gal” videos.  🙂 Here’s a link to Bill’s blog, where you can find more videos and information about the products sold by Access Hardware Supply. Thanks to Hal Kelton of DoorData Solutions for bringing it to my attention! You […]

E.R. Butler & Co.

I’ve been in the door and hardware business for a long time – almost 25 years.  While I’m still passionate about the products, the industry, and our customers, there are some days when I’m not quite as excited as I once was.  It’s kind of like the old, “I love you but I’m not in […]

Look what I saw on the Jersey Turnpike…

I saw this keypad lockset in a rest area on the Jersey Turnpike recently.  Can you identify it? Is it a Schlage AD-Series or a CO-Series? <—Here’s a hint.  While there are plenty of differences “under the hood,” there are 3 physical differences to look for when you’re trying to determine whether a Schlage electronic […]

Rocky Mountain Hardware

I have always loved Rocky Mountain Hardware, so when I received an invitation to visit their manufacturing facility I was really excited!  Unfortunately, I don’t have plans to go to Idaho any time soon, but the good news is that RMH has a video on their website that details their manufacturing process.  It’s almost like […]

Lever Return

I originally published the post below in May 0f 2009, but I’m trying to gather some information so I’ve pulled it up to the front again.  Please take a moment to answer the quick survey about lever return in your area.  Thanks!Click here to take a quick survey. Over the years I’ve heard many times […]

Lexington, Virginia

We only spent a brief segment of our road trip in Lexington, but it was long enough to spot a couple of doors of interest.  Our hotel was originally a single family residence and it’s on the Register of Historic Places.  We checked in pretty late at night but I immediately noticed the mess they […]

Calling All Locksmiths!

I have a special place in my heart for locksmiths.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been “saved” a few times…like the time I locked myself out of my apartment in my PJs at 6 a.m.  Or maybe it’s because I like the mechanics of what they do.  I always loved helping our in-house locksmith with masterkeying, […]

Classroom Security Locks

As of July 1st, 2011, a revised California law (AB 211, Article 8.5) requires classrooms and rooms with an occupant load of more than 5 people to be equipped with classroom security locks.*  This pertains to all new construction projects submitted to the Division of the State Architect, which oversees K-12 schools and community colleges […]

Open Back Strikes

A couple of weeks ago one of my coworkers, Rich Conroy, took a phone call from someone with questions about open back strikes.  Rich asked me to write a post that he could refer people to, and the hold-up was that I had to find a photo.  Not the photo you see in a catalog […]

WW: Auction House Egress

These were sent in by Mary Hinton of Mulhaupt’s Inc. Can you imagine trying to exit from this “auction house” (junk shop) in an emergency?  Their front door lever needs some help too.  This might have been the first signal to get back in the car and keep driving! I posted these photos on the […]

What If?

Have you ever run into one of those doors that needs access control, but for whatever reason it’s almost impossible to get the wires to the lock?  Maybe it’s an existing door (especially if it’s fire rated), or an opening set into stone or a fancy surround like the door on the left.  It might […]

Battleship Cove – Fall River, Massachusetts

Whenever we’re on a family road trip, we try to find cool places to stop along the way to break up the ride.  Today we went to Battleship Cove, the world’s largest historic naval ship exhibit.  The museum is home to the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the USS Lionfish submarine, the battleship USS […]

More Reader Photos

These ALL came from Jeff Tock, one of our national trainers who spends most weeks traveling around conducting classes and sees a lot of doors in the process.  Jeff will be here in New England in a few weeks conducting the “Preparing for a Fire Door Inspection” class for facilities.  If you work for a […]

WW: Reader Photos

Thanks to y’all I’m never short of reader photos, and these photos leave me wordless…just in time for Wordless Wednesday! From David Chaffin of HARD/SPECS, some theater doors in his town with creative security devices: From Darren Patton of Isenhour Door…how does this happen?  If I was being sneaky, I would ditch the green tape. […]


Just before I flew to Seattle for the Every Building Conference & Expo this morning, I read about a very unusual challenge being run by Schlage, coincidentally also in Seattle.  With his consent, they locked a guy named Joshua in a tiny house (174 square feet), and it’s up to the locals to follow clues, […]

Moroccan Lock Shopping

Here are some of the lock shops I visited while shopping for the locks in this post. This is the shop at the Glaoui Kasbah in Telouet where I bought the wood lock: Some more wood locks for sale there: This shop in Marrakech where I bought the camel bag lock had a wide variety […]

Locks Make Great Gifts

No, really!  They do! Today is my birthday (yes, I’m 29), and luckily for my family I bought all of my own gifts while we were in Morocco.  Some of my relatives there thought I was nuts, but I knew that some of you would appreciate my treasures, so here they are. I bought this […]

Worcester State Hospital

In addition to beautiful doors and interesting locks, I love old architecture and the amazing photography that captures the decay of these crumbling structures.  I look forward to new photo essays posted on the Kingston Lounge site, and the most recent was especially exciting because it’s very close to my town and an important part […]

WWYD? Safe and Secure Schools

I have been struggling with this post.  I can’t answer the question the world wants an answer to – How do we keep our kids safe and secure at school? There’s debate about access to guns, treatment for mental illness, violent video games, and the breakdown of the American family.  Beyond my own family, I […]

WW: Banquet Room Pair

Some of you will no-doubt recognize these doors if you attend a certain monthly meeting that I attend as often as I can.  The meeting is held in one of several large banquet rooms in a restaurant, and they all have the same hardware installed.  If anyone is NOT sure why this is a problem, […]

Starry Night

I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting!  I hope you all had a great New Year’s Eve!  I figured I could get some good relaxation time in during the holiday week, then I promptly injured a ligament in my ankle, which led to a major bout of sciatica that flattened me for […]

School Security Follow-Up

In the months since the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been renewed efforts on the part of many schools to improve their security and better protect students, staff, and visitors.  While I’m very glad to see the focus on these improvements, I’m also very concerned about some well-meaning but misguided […]

PBS: The Path to Violence

Paul Timm, from the independent school security consulting firm, Reta Security, appears on the PBS special The Path to Violence, which premiers tomorrow night (Wednesday, February 20th).  Check your local listings to find out when to watch. From PBS, About the Program:  Ever since the wake-up call that was Columbine, schools and law enforcement have […]

WW: Spoon Security

Todd Pack of of the Trimble Company sent in this photo of the latest in locking technology.  I was wordless when I found out how much spoon security there is out there (my favorite, spoon 1, spoon 2, spoon 3, spoon 4, spoon 5, spoon 6).  And I thought spoons were for ice cream! You […]

New York City – Part 1

Over the weekend I spent some time in New York with my friends, and as you can probably imagine I saw A LOT of doors of interest.  Here are some of them… These bronze pulls are unusual, and a great illustration of what happens to US10B finish (oil-rubbed bronze) over time: This door made a […]

Decoded: Tactile Warning (June 2013)

This post was printed in the June 2013 issue of Doors & Hardware Question:  Am I required by code to provide a tactile warning on certain doors in my facility?  If tactile warning is required, are stair doors included?  What types of materials are allowed for tactile warning on doors? Answer:  The 1986 edition of […]

The Palladium – Carmel, Indiana (July 2013)

This article was printed in the July 2013 issue of Doors & Hardware Last year at this time I conducted a workshop for a group of specwriter apprentices at our office in Carmel, and we took them on a field trip to a beautiful new performance venue nearby.  The hardware consultant for the project, David […]

Hursley House – Hampshire, England

Twelve years ago I was new to the town where I currently live, and I knew almost nobody.  It was hard to meet people back then – I had no kids and my husband and I both worked in other towns.  My family and a bunch of my friends were still back in Vermont, where […]

Reader Photos

Thank you to everyone who has sent me photos of doors they’ve seen in their travels (or while laying on the couch).  Kelly Chimilar from Allmar Inc. noticed these doors with an obvious egress problem while watching Thursday Night Football.  If you don’t know what the problem is, I will hold a special online study […]

Back-2-Basics: Lock Functions

When a hardware consultant writes a specification, it’s common practice to sit down and discuss the project with the architect, at least for the more complicated jobs.  The topic of lock functions seems to arise at almost all of those meetings – usually someone in the room needs a refresher on how the basic functions […]

More Doors of Nashville

A hodge-podge of the doors I saw while I was in Nashville for CONSTRUCT last week… The West End United Methodist Church: Beautiful bronze doors on the Freemasons’ building:   The Customs House: The Lutheran Church: The Barbershop Harmony Society at night: The War Memorial bronze gates – also at night: A creative hold-open: Are […]

FF: Strike Latch Guard

Thank you to everyone who left suggestions for the name of the new Friday series.  I’ve settled on Fixed-it Friday!  With all of the creative hardware “fixes” out there, I think this series could run until I retire (don’t worry, that’s not for about 20 years unless I win the lotto).  If you see an […]

FF: Classroom Security

Every school is looking for affordable ways to lock their classroom doors in an intruder situation.  A group of students at Benjamin Banneker High School in Washington, D.C. have designed the “DeadStop”, a device that clamps onto the door closer arm to prevent the door from being opened. I don’t like to rain on anyone’s […]

FF: Custom Latch Prevention

Depending on where this door is located, this creative solution either creates a security breach, or indicates that the wrong lock function was specified.  Thanks to Greg Koers of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies for sharing! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

Reader Photos

It’s been a while, so here are some of the many photos I’ve received from y’all… Eric Miles of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies saw some evidence that a flush end cap has advantages… And he also sent me a photo of one of my favorite special templates (LCN has more than 3,000 special templates!).  Anyone […]

FF: High-Security Louvers

Today’s Fixed-It Friday photos are fabulous!!  Maybe I should add another F.  🙂 These doors were installed in a university classroom building, with louvers instead of glass.  Interesting idea, except that it took the students no time at all to figure out that they could stick a ruler or piece of wire through the louvers […]

FF: Lockdown

Eric Paul of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies sent me these photos of another school lockdown product that a local school was using.  The lock is kept locked, and the add-on product keeps the latchbolt retracted until there’s an emergency and the teacher needs to lock the door.  This product can not be used on fire doors, […]

Schlage CO-220 Standalone Classroom Lockdown Solution

Are you interested in trying a sample of Schlage’s new CO-220? Read on. It has been almost a year since the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and in that time I have written a number of posts about school security.  I’ve posted many “creative solutions” for classroom lockdown, and discussed statistics, […]

WW: Look Closer

I just had an idea.  I’m putting together an online code class for my coworkers, which will be available to others outside of the company next year.  The way I like to teach about codes is to explain the intent behind the requirement, show examples, reference the applicable section of the code, and preferably to break up […]

Big News: Vancouver Bans Doorknobs

The Canadian news networks are all abuzz with the latest code change for the city of Vancouver, Canada.  As of March 2014, doorknobs will not be allowed on new construction – including single family homes.  Here’s where you can read all about it: City of Vancouver Shows Doorknobs the Exit – The Two-Way The doorknob […]

Sandy Hook Elementary School Report Released

The Connecticut State’s Attorney has released a report on the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut (full report available here).  Although it details the actions of the shooter, Adam Lanza, there are still many unanswered questions. One of the details that surprised me most was the duration of the event.  Staff first heard […]

FF: Lock Fix

I will admit…new mortise locks can be pricey.  Luckily they usually last for decades.  But there comes a time when even a heavy duty mortise lock needs to retire. Thank you to Darren Patton and Nick Bobeck of Isenhour Door Installation Solutions for the photo! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

School Security in the News

If you search Google News for the words “school” and “security”, the search engine will return millions of results.  There are stories about many cities, states, and school districts working on plans and funding to increase the safety and security of their schools.  There are reports about incidents at schools, and products that may help […]

WWYD? Connecting Classroom Doors

Many classrooms have a door connecting to the adjacent classroom.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but since most classrooms do not require a second means of egress, I think those doors are typically there for convenience.  I tried to find something in past codes that would have required the second door, but so far I […]

Doors and Codes in the News

Open fire door killed 2 at Mont Blanc – The Free Press Journal Mumbai: The fire door that was left open near the stair case of the 12th floor of Mont Blanc building in Kemps Corner led to the death of the two domestic helps. Two domestic help of the 17th floor residents died due […]

FF: Creative Doorknobs

The other day I ran across this glass globe doorknob, which allows you to see into the next room before you enter.  Pretty cool design, but not without its challenges, especially if it’s not available with 1-way viewing.  I could use it to spy on my kids to see if they’re playing video games when they’re […]

Reader Photos and Help Wanted

The photos from readers have piled up in my inbox again – thank you to everyone who has submitted them!  I will post more next week and try to get the pile under control.  I’ve also had a couple of requests for help… Kelly Corbett of Corbett Lock needs some help replacing a key for […]

FF: Lock Jaw

I know some of you will have something to say about this video, sent to me by Jim Elder of Secured Design…the ease of lock bumping, code-compliance of the product, ineffectiveness of deadbolts, double-sided tape…what do you think?  The national security expert explains the product at 3:25. You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this […]

Reader Photos

Here’s a big group of reader photos from the emailbox! Hal Kelton of DoorData Solutions spotted this modification to a magnetic holder in a hospital, and a padlocked classroom door.  🙁   Paul Goldense of Goldense Building Products sent me these photos of a heavy duty door stop on a manufacturing facility: More photos from the Polar Vortex, from […]

WWYD: Accessible Access Control Credentials

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s input on my post about emergency exit seals, and since I’m currently in a 3-day class for the NFPA Certified Fire Plan Examiner program and don’t have a lot of time for blogging, here’s another question for which I have no concrete answer but would love your insight… The national accessibility […]

FF: Cross-Keyed

All is not well… From Andy Swanson of Mid-Central Door.  Today’s the last day to send in photos for a chance to win a 5th birthday present – a $50 Amazon gift card! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

WW: School Security

The Wordless Wednesday Winner is Logan Piburn, from Dyron Murphy Architects!  Logan sent me LOTS of photos, and explained that these were taken at various rural schools, most built in the early 70’s and still in use today.  The photos were taken during surveys to identify existing problems and plan renovations. Here’s one that left […]

FF: Security Solution

The 5th and final recipient of a $50 Amazon gift card in honor of iDigHardware’s 5th birthday is Brian Adrian of DH Pace! Brian sent me a great collection of his favorites, some of which I’m saving for future posts, but check out this Fixed-It Friday winner…

WW: Mall Security

This mall exit was spotted by William Hoppe of UC Merced, and the photos were sent to me by Chad Jenkins of the National Locksmithing Institute. Unbelievable…

Schools Liable for Lack of Security?

Should schools be held liable for “unacceptable” levels of security? How much security is enough? What steps can schools take to not only provide physical protection for the building and its occupants, but to protect against lawsuits?

WW: School Security on a Budget

Will schools be held liable for “allowing” a crime to happen by giving the unauthorized person the ability to lock the door? I’m not a lawyer, but with schools paying settlements for wired glass injuries and being sued for inadequate security, I think it’s something to consider…

FF: Antique Store Exit

My plan for harnessing the power of the Earth’s population to identify and respond to code problems is working! This antique store must have some REALLY valuable antiques in it, but it’s ok because someone has Fixed-It…

Decoded: Operable Force for Door Hardware (Updated December 2017)

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, effective in March of 2012, included an unexpected change regarding the maximum allowable force to operate door hardware…

FF: School Cafeteria and Gym

These photos illustrate one school’s “fix” with regard to security on the cafeteria and gymnasium – unfortunately it happens to be completely non-code-compliant…

Decoded: Key-Operated Locks (Updated December 2017)

I need some help from you…a nice clear photo of a door with the signage described below, as well as the indicator lock. If you have seen one of these in your local area, I’d really appreciate some help with these photos…

WWYD? School Seclusion Room

Some schools include seclusion rooms, where a child may be placed if he/she needs time to calm down without endangering themselves or others…

Guide to the ADA Standards – Chapters 1-3

Keys are a tough topic to address, because the accessibility standards mandate operable hardware which does not require tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist to operate. Keys obviously require tight grasping, tight pinching, and twisting of the wrist…

FF: Unpickable Lock

What do you think, lock fans?…

WW: Retrofit Dogging Device

It’s Wordless Wednesday again, and Lance Werner of Allegion just sent me this photo of what happens when the wrong lock function is supplied. Creative solutions are more fun than buying a new lock…hopefully it’s not a fire door…

Code Implications for Mechanical Hardware

Locksmiths are often called upon to increase security at an existing door or replace hardware that is damaged or defective. There are several code-related issues to note before getting started…

Locks of Love

Love locks are padlocks which are attached by couples to bridges, fences, gates, and other structures around the world, and the keys are often cast into the river to signify everlasting love. But now these little locks are causing big problems…

FF: Thumbpiece Lock

Another creative locking solution for Fixed-it Friday…I wonder if they lost the key to the trim cylinder, or if they are trying to keep the guy with the key out at certain times (when the padlock is in place)…

Help Wanted: Emhart Templates

I know someone out there has an old Emhart template book, or knows someone who does. A facility is reusing the locks below with new hollow metal doors, and they need a template. The existing locks are working fine and accessibility is not an issue. New locks are not in the budget. Can anyone help with the templates?

Wired: The App I Used to Break Into My Neighbor’s Home

Joe Prosser from LaForce, Inc., sent me a link to an article in Wired magazine, which describes the procedure for key duplication using KeyMe, a service that allows you to upload photos of keys and pick up duplicate keys from kiosks in NYC…

Lock Shopping in Marrakech

This is not the first time I’ve shopped for locks in Marrakech (here are some photos from the last time), but today I stumbled upon two craftsmen in the haddadine (metalworkers’ souk) that made THE MOST AMAZING LOCKS. I bought one of the padlocks so I was able to take lots of photos of one of the shops. Check them out!

Back-2-Basics: Handing 101

I have been asked about door handing SO MANY TIMES over the years…hopefully with your help we can address the questions once and for all. Leave me a comment if I forgot anything!

FF: 5 Operations to Exit

Eric Rieckers of Yadon Construction Specialties sent me this classic Fixed-it Friday photo of a door gone wrong. Security must not be enhanced at the expense of life safety, and doors in a means of egress must be unlatched with one operation. Several of these locks are also mounted outside of the allowable range for operable hardware.

WW: Fly Trap

What can I say? Thank you to Gary Huizen of Huizen’s Locksmith Service for posting this Wordless Wednesday photo on the iDigHardware Facebook page!

FF: The EasyLock

Most of you know that I’m not a fan of the retrofit security “inventions” that seem to be flooding the institutional market lately, but I do admire creativity, and since it’s Fixed-it Friday I thought I’d share a product I recently saw in the news – The EasyLock. I have no idea how effective it is as a security device, but the design is pretty clever…

Schlage L909x

I don’t know about you, but once a product number takes root in my head I have a tough time getting used to a new one. I’ve still got numbers in there from the 80’s! But it’s time to do a memory upgrade because the Schlage L9080-EL and L9080-EU locksets have been replaced with a series of new and improved electrified mortise locks…

FF: Curved Keyway

This cylinder is really cool…a curved keyway and a flexible key. I didn’t say it was practical. If you’re curious about how it works, you can check out the patent here…

Life Safety vs. School Security

It has been two years since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Security has become a priority for many school districts, and I do believe that schools are more secure now. Added security won’t be able to prevent every school-related incident, especially when so many of the “intruders” have actually been members of the school community – often students…

WW: Shop Till You Drop

Since it’s Wordless Wednesday, I’ll let you tell me what’s wrong with this “key-operated lock” application. Extra credit if you can tell me what changed about the key-operated lock requirements in the 2015 IBC…

Lock Functions for Classrooms – Pros and Cons

On February 12th, the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission released the draft of their final report, presented to Connecticut State Governor Dannel P. Malloy. The report includes many recommendations to improve school security, including several related to locks / physical security…

Lock Functions (video)

Last week I posted a couple of videos explaining some basic code requirements and terminology for panic hardware. The next videos in the series address a topic that I KNOW many architects and others struggle with (because I’ve personally explained it at least a thousand times) – lock functions…

FF: Cut Once

Today’s Fixed-it Friday photo was sent to me by Jeff Tock and Joan Yewell of Allegion. The story I heard was that the contractor didn’t know how to remove the lock, and this was how he addressed the problem. It’s unfortunate, since the door was supposed to be reused!

Barricade Device? Think Twice! (May 2015)

I’ve edited this article and the downloadable PDF – feel free to share it!…There is a question currently under debate in several jurisdictions across the country – should barricade devices be used to secure classroom doors during an active-shooter incident?

Schlage NDE Wireless Lock

The Schlage® NDE Series wireless lock with ENGAGE technology has been selected as a finalist in the Architizer A+ Awards in the Hardware category!  The winner is determined by the product that gets the most votes…you can vote here until April 3rd! If you’re not familiar with ENGAGE technology, the video below explains how it […]

WW: Key-Operated Lock

The IBC allows key-operated locks in some locations – do you think this lock is compliant with the language below if the required signage is included? And for extra credit, who knows what kind of lock this is? 🙂

FF: Spoon Retrofit

Christy Cross of Schiller Architectural Hardware sent in today’s Fixed-it Friday photos of a lock repair seen on a restaurant mens’ room…

FF: Rubber Band Repair

What problem is being solved by this creative Fixed-it Friday modification? Thank you to Thomas Chin of VAS Door & Hardware for the photo! You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.

School Liability and the Law of Unintended Consequences

MANY people have asked me about the potential for liability if a school chooses to secure their classroom doors using a barricade device that inhibits or deters egress. Could a school be held liable? I didn’t know the answer, so we enlisted the help of an attorney to help us understand the considerations…

Restroom Locks and Latches

I’ve received several photos lately of restroom doors with non-code-compliant deadbolts. Some examples of this problem could be…

Options for Securing Classroom Doors (video)

Here’s the latest in our series of whiteboard animation videos explaining door-related topics. This one covers various options for securing classroom doors, in alignment with the guidelines from the National Association of State Fire Marshals. Enjoy and share!

WWYD? Mortise to Cylindrical Conversion

I’ve had many requests for help lately with regard to converting an existing fire door with a mortise lock to a cylindrical lock. There are several concerns here…

WWYD? Assisted Living Entries

I am often asked whether it is code-compliant to install a separate deadbolt with a latchset or lockset on a dwelling unit entry door in an assisted living facility. Most doors in a means of egress are required to unlatch with one operation for egress. While there is an exception…

WW: Locked After-Hours

What I want to know is…why do some people think it’s ok to use these locks after-hours, when the building is unoccupied? I don’t see anything in the codes to support that, but it seems to be a common belief. Am I missing something?

FF: Screwed Up

I didn’t know whether this should be a Wordless Wednesday photo or a Fixed-it Friday photo, but it’s Friday so here goes (I AM Wordless though)…

FF: School Safety “Sew-cials”

Ideally a classroom door can be locked from within the classroom without opening the door and potential exposing the teacher to an intruder in the hallway. Many schools have existing classroom function locksets, which have to be locked by inserting a key in the outside cylinder. When a district doesn’t have the funding to replace the locks…

Reader Photos

It’s been a really long time since I posted a collection of reader photos because I’ve been using a lot of these submissions for Wordless Wednesday and Fixed-it Friday. Here are some of the reader photos that have been patiently waiting in my inbox…

WW: Classroom Security

According to Nathan Burkhardt of Opening Technologies, this church addressed their classroom security by adding shades for the vision lites, and changing the locks to office function with a turn-button. Because the kids and teachers were getting injured by the sharp turn-button design…

Fatality Related to Roof Door

A 91-year-old man with dementia has died after wandering onto the roof of the housing authority apartment building where he lived in Batavia, New York. News reports are citing an unlocked door leading to the roof – it may have locked after the man passed through it…

WW: Tennis, Anyone?

This Wordless Wednesday photo kind of ties in with yesterday’s pool gate post. This is NOT the way to provide access control on swimming pools, tennis courts, or any other chain link gate for that matter…

Embarrassing 50% Failure Rate

Quite a few people sent this cartoon to me, so I obtained permission to post it here. It looks like the “normal” people are starting to figure out the secrets of the door and hardware industry. Enjoy!

WW: Do Not Lock

I love it when non-hardwarey people send me photos of egress problems or faulty fire doors. Today’s Wordless Wednesday photo is from my friend Gia Jobin, who saw this door on a university campus and recognized that there was a problem…

Mounting Height Alert

Just when I think I’ve run out of questions and potential pitfalls, one shows up in my inbox. A while back I wrote an article for Doors & Hardware, addressing the required mounting height for operable hardware. The model codes and accessibility standards require operable hardware to be mounted between 34 inches and 48 inches above the floor. I noted in the article that some states have adopted different requirements for mounting heights…

FF: Deadbolt Retrofit

I don’t like to be critical of peoples’ work, but this Fixed-it Friday retrofit could use a little TLC. Thank you to Deputy Jeff Tock of Allegion for thinking of me whenever he sees a problematic door. 😉

WWYD? Toggle Buttons

This lock function is one of several applications that may meet the technical requirements of the accessibility standards, but in reality are difficult to operate by people with certain types of disabilities. Have any of you had experience with AHJs allowing or not allowing this function?

WW: Another Retail Exit

What do you think? Does this door meet the intent of NFPA 1 if the security devices are only engaged when the building is not occupied?

2018 IBC Change for Classroom Locking

THE VOTES ARE IN, and the code change proposed by BHMA to address classroom locking in the 2018 IBC has been approved as modified by public comment!

FF: Passage Function Retrofit

There’s more than one way to change a lock function…

Keys and the ADA

Several people have asked me recently what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about keys. Although the ADA standards address operable parts of locks – like thumbturns, keypads, turn-buttons, and of course, knobs and levers, keys are not covered by the ADA…

FF: Master-Keyed Gate

Here’s how you master-key a gate without the complications of master-keying the padlocks…

Banned: Classroom Barricade Locks

In this age of classroom shootings, many are looking for barricade locks – a cheap and easy stopgap to bolster door security…

WW: Stinger

I think this would discourage me from attempting any lock replacements! Thanks to Locksmith’s Journal for this Wordless Wednesday photo!

Interesting Antique Lock

Bill Elliott sent me these photos this morning. There’s something interesting about this lock that he and I have not seen before. Can you figure it out?

Locks for Multi-Stall Restrooms

According to the IBC Commentary, the purpose of this requirement is to prevent people from locking themselves in the toilet room to create a safe haven for illicit activities…

BBS Memo – Temporary Door Locking Devices

Here’s the latest on classroom barricade devices…let me know what’s happening in your state.

Classroom Security – Latch Prevention

Schools have been able to use magnets over locking mechanisms, allowing doors to be easily opened throughout the day and still lock quickly by simply removing the magnet. But by Jan. 1, 2018, that quick fix will no longer be enough…

FF: Mismatch

This brings back that old sinking feeling that most door and hardware distributors have felt at some point. I haven’t worked as a distributor for more than 20 years, but I can remember the mistakes…

FF: Twist Harder

Today’s Fixed-it Friday photo is from Kayla Pollock of Allegion. Why fix the problem when you can just make a sign?

FF: Captured Lever

David Toloday of Allegion sent me these photos and I had to ask – does the lever move? Was I seeing things? No – the lever does not move. Turn the key to retract the latch. I can’t say that I’ve seen this application before…

Opinion: Lock Functions for Classrooms – Don Cherry

I occasionally publish a post from a guest blogger, and I just learned that sometimes the author can receive CEUs for these posts through various industry organizations. Today’s post is from Don Cherry of Allegion.

Decoded: Dwelling Unit & Sleeping Unit Entrance Doors (November 2016)

According to the International Building Code (IBC) and NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code, most doors in a means of egress are required to unlatch with one releasing operation. One exception to this rule is when a door leads to a residential dwelling unit or sleeping unit…

WWYD? Airborne Flour and Grease

On past kitchen projects, I addressed the potential for frequent cleaning by specifying stainless steel hardware. But floating particulates?

Intro to Keying Terms (video)

Last night, my oldest daughter told me that her science assignment was to explain how inclined planes are used in keys. She had researched it, and described how the pins go into the cuts on the key…

FF: Hygienic Handle

Alex Howe of Allegion sent me today’s Fixed-it Friday photo of a piece of hardware he recently saw on a restroom door. Although I have never seen this product before, the plastic cover on the pull made it pretty easy to track down…

Guest Post: Motor Up Your Locks – Kenny Abell

Electrified locks using motors can offer users several advantages over solenoid technology. Do you know what the advantages are?

WW: Lockout Prevention

Sometimes a Fixed-it Friday photo is so good (or bad!) that it qualifies for Wordless Wednesday status. Ted Wightman of Allegion sent me this gem…found on a restroom door where they have apparently had one too many lockouts.

WW: Touchfree

The problem with this application is the lever handle that you apparently also have to turn. What’s the point of the touchfree pull when you have to touch the lever??

QQ: Are deadbolts prohibited in a means of egress?

I’ve had several situations where an AHJ interpreted the term “bolt lock,” used in the International Building Code (IBC), to mean a deadbolt…

Dangerous Door Locks

This news report highlights a security situation that most people don’t think about. While key-operated locks (keyed on the egress side) are allowed in certain locations, there are strict guidelines for their use…

DSSF: Opening the Door to School Safety

The Door Security and Safety Foundation has announced a video and public relations campaign which stresses the importance of securing classroom doors without compromising life safety…

Schlage LM9200

A couple of weeks ago I was in our office in Carmel, and I noticed something about the conference room doors. Do you see what caught my eye?

When Simple is Safer: The Dangers of Door Barricades in Schools – John Woestman

This article was written by John Woestman of the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) and recently appeared in Locksmith Ledger…

WW: Wood Door Prep

This photo came from Billy Sanders of Chisholm Millwork. This is how the door arrived from the wood door manufacturer. #wordless

FF: Flipped

This is the outside of a door leading to a single restroom in a well-known sandwich shop chain. Anybody see the problem?

WWYD? Getting IN

The model codes are clear about egress, but what about emergency access to a building? Some codes require a key box mounted outside of the entrance that contains the keys…

FF: 4 Door Lock Gadgets (video)

One of my fire marshal pals sent me this Fixed-it Friday video. Neither of us recommending the use of these gadgets, but the dogs are super-cute and I always like to see people’s lock-related inventions…

In the News…

A code inspector in Schenectady, New York has been indicted along with the building manager, in connection with a 2015 apartment fire that resulted in 4 fatalities…

FF: Mystery in Maine

Here’s what I know. At one time, this door was in an isolation ward that was part of a Maine psychiatric hospital campus built in 1957…

NYC – Greenwich Lock & Safe

Some of you may remember the blog post below, which I first published in 2011.  Time flies!  When I visited Greenwich Lock & Safe and met locksmith and artist Phil Mortillaro, he told me that there was a documentary in progress about him.  The documentary is now available on! ~~~ I took the Acela […]

NFPA 101 Appeals and Testimony

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, shortly after the NFPA Technical Meeting on June 7th, two appeals were filed. These appeals were submitted in favor of keeping the proposed changes to NFPA 101 that would allow 2 releasing operations instead of 1…

FF: Deadbolt Retrofit

These photos, from Kelly Reese of Allegion, qualify for the double-whammy – Wordless Wednesday AND Fixed-it Friday. But don’t worry…it is indeed Friday! Have a great weekend!

Logan the Locksmith

Tomorrow is my birthday. Not just any birthday – my 50th! The other day someone said to me, “Don’t worry! 50 is the new 70!!!” What???

FF: Public Restroom

I’m in Guatemala! I’m on the hunt for some beautiful and/or interesting Guatemalan doors to share with you, but until then, here are some doors from a recent trip to Phoenix…

FF: Trading One Problem For Another

In the case shown in today’s Fixed-it Friday photo, a retail store has implemented this creative hold-open because of an assault that occurred in their public restroom…

ID Please

An iDigHardware reader needs your help identifying this lock! Any ideas?

Fire Door Latching

In order for a fire door assembly to perform as designed and tested, it’s critical for the door to be closed and latched if/when a fire occurs…

WWYD? Corrosive Environment

This lockset has been installed for a couple of months. The room is labeled “Acid” on the plans, and it is in a building that houses an indoor swimming pool…

FF: Latch Retraction

I don’t know if this is a fire door, but it looks like it might have some sort of access-control lock. Unfortunately, convenience often prevails over fire protection and security…

FF: The New Mag-Locks

I know…these would not be code-compliant on the egress side of a door in the means of egress, but you have to admit they’re cool. Thanks to Leo Lebovits of M&D Door & Hardware for sending me the links to these Fixed-it Friday videos!

Decoded: Code Requirements for Classroom Security

Our last whiteboard animation video for this year will address the 2018 model code requirements for classroom security…

Number of Operations for ACCESS

A few weeks ago I received a question about whether there is a limit on the number of operations required for access to a dwelling unit, in order to meet the accessibility standards.

WW: Sudden Drop

8 Floors – YIKES!

FF: File-it Friday

This is a classic. Gary Huizen of Huizen’s Locksmith Service posted today’s Fixed-it Friday photo on iDigHardware’s Facebook page, and I love it…

SFM issues policy on school security

Here is one state fire marshal’s answer to the school security question. What do you think?

Classroom Security Considerations (May 2018)

I’m hoping this piece sums up the concerns associated with classroom barricade devices and can be used as reference material when discussing options for school security.

News: Locking classrooms becomes latest safety measure in schools

Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I have thought a lot about lock functions for classroom doors; the news reports and the testimony from Parkland teacher Stacey Lippel added some new perspective.

FF: Surface-Mortise

I saw this photo posted by Stephen Connor on the Crap Locksmithing Facebook page, and it left me Wordless even though it’s Fixed-it Friday.

FF: Hospital Latch Extension

Is it just me, or does this seem questionable on several levels (encroachment, projection into the clear opening width, potential for damage)? Is this an actual product or a creative modification?

FF: Jacked Up

I love this Fixed-it Friday photo – it reminds me of my husband’s efforts to secure one of our doors.

Security for Higher Ed

Imagine that you work for a university, you read iDigHardware, and you find out that I’m wandering around your campus. I’m guessing there were some mixed emotions…

What is NFPA’s stance on barricade devices?

During a segment of NFPA Live, Robert Solomon, Division Director of NFPA, was asked about barricade devices on egress doors.


The director of maintenance for some nursing homes in NYC sent me this photo and asked how to avoid this problem in future installations. Any constructive suggestions?

Dwelling Unit Clarifications

While most dwelling units and sleeping units are allowed to have hardware on the entrance door that requires two operations to unlatch, there are a couple of important considerations.

Decoded: Deadbolts in a Means of Egress (October 2018)

Even if you think you know all about deadbolts, check out this article and see if I missed anything. There are a few things that might come as a surprise.

QQ: Turn-Buttons vs. Push-Buttons

Are turn-buttons on cylindrical locks compliant with the accessibility standards? The answer to this question is really up to the AHJ, but here are a few things to consider…

WW: Work It Out

Have your friends and family started noticing hardware problems and code issues? Or do they still roll their eyes when you stop to take photos to submit for Wordless Wednesday or Fixed-it Friday?

Church Pair Revisited

Do you know what I love even more than photos showing a door problem? Photos showing a solution! Do you have any before-and-after photos to share?

WWYD? Hole, No Strike

On a fire door assembly, is it acceptable to drill/cut a hole in the frame for the latchbolt, and not install the strike?

FF: Steve’s got this.

I don’t think there’s anything more that needs to be said, except thank you to Ian Baren of Katonah Architectural Hardware for today’s Fixed-it Friday photos.

Share with your family and friends…

These two videos regarding closed doors and double-cylinder deadbolts will save lives – IF you help spread the word. Who will you share this post with?

WW: What in the world?

I wonder how many people look at this door and wonder what the reasoning was behind this installation. Maybe we’re the only ones.

WWYD? Deadbolt + Mag-Lock

Is it code-compliant to add a deadbolt to a door with a mag-lock, that can be used to lock the door during a power failure?

Johnson Security Lock

I need some help tracking down this lock (if it’s still available) for a current project. Have you run across anything like this before?

FF: Out of Alignment

I’ve seen a lot of fix-it attempts. But I don’t think I have ever seen one quite like this.

Decoded: Why Barricade Devices? (May 2019)

Why would a school district consider using unregulated security devices, given the associated risk and liability? The answer may surprise you.

WW: Cold as Ice

It’s been a long cold winter in many parts of the US, but I think spring is on its way!

WW: Shark Tank

I thought everyone in the world of hardware had already seen this video, but last night I ran across someone who hadn’t, so here it is. I do feel bad for Alex, but LOCKS ROCK!

FF: Nailed It!

What in the world? How long could this Fixed-it Friday repair possible last?? I just love Crap Locksmithing’s Facebook page!

School Security and Safety in the News

Twenty years ago, I had no idea how the shooting at Columbine High School would affect our industry and my career.  It was impossible to imagine that it was more than an isolated event. But here we are.

FF: Sweet Spot

When classroom doors are kept locked all the time, it can be inconvenient for teachers and for students trying to enter the classroom when the door is closed. This is one school district’s solution.

Decoded: Locks Used Only for Security Purposes (July 2019)

The IBC exempts locks used only for security purposes from the mounting height requirement. The accessibility standards exempt locks operated only by security personnel. What’s the difference?

A Little Help?

One of the things that I love most about iDigHardware is the readers’ willingness to help each other. I hope you have some insight to share on these two questions.

WW: I think I’ll call it a night.

Where do people get these ideas? #wordless

WWYD? Tenants Sue for Physical Keys – and Win

I can definitely see how a lock that is only controlled by a phone could be a problem, and the court agreed – the tenants now have keys. WWYD?

Key Boxes – Crucial Life Safety and Security Equipment

Media outlets have reported that locked electronic doors hindered law enforcement response in the recent Virginia Beach shooting. Authorized access should be addressed in each facility’s emergency plan.

See the index for another category:

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