Wednesday, 7 March 2018


Well, you may have gathered that I am not the world's best DIY-er.   It does not come naturally to me.  Is that because I am of the fairer sex (is that sexist)? It seems to me, from nothing but a gut feeling, that men are more inclined to understand the 'workings' of things than women. PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME!

Thousands of women are probably protesting that this is NOT TRUE, even as you (or they) read this.

Well. Let me be clear.  I am not talking  about

Image result for Painting and decorating

 or what I would loosely call Homemaking, I am talking about things  that are a little more technical. Things that have not come into my orbit, at least, before. But things that are not beyond my capabilities.  I can wield a screwdriver with the best of them and I can even hit a nail on the head, both figuratively and literally.

But recently I needed to change my front door lock and I didn't have a clue on how to do it.

Let me explain.  I live in France, so it will be no surprise to you that my front door is French. Bonjour, porte d'entrée.

...and behind the fancy ironwork...

Door handle and lock

...the lock is French too.

side view of door lock

No surprises there, then.

I was told by a friend that it was a simple job to change the lock barrel (that's the bit that the key fits into).  Apparently you just have to undo the little Torx screw (it's the 3rd one up)...

Torx (pronounced /tɔːrks/), developed in 1967 by Camcar Textron, is the trademark for a type of screw head characterized by a 6-point star-shaped pattern. A popular generic name for the drive is star, as in star screwdriver or star bits.

...and the barrel will simply slide out.

What he omitted to mention was that I had to take off all the fancy door furniture, and even then the barrel would not slide out, as the bit where the key slides in is bigger than the hole where the barrel goes through.


I re-assembled the lock plate (the flat bit you can see in the second picture), and screwed all the screws back in and screwed the door handles back on.


The screws that fixed the door handle plates together were  strange to me.  So that they could not be unscrewed from the outside, one 'screw' was a hollow tube, and the other screwed into that - but through the door, of course.

Are you following this? Or have I finally found a cure for your insomnia?

Anyway, the top fixing of the pair went together like a dream, but the bottom one refused to tighten up, no matter how much welly I used.  I eventually discovered that the hollow part of this fixing had some wood shavings in it and, once I had scraped these out (and checked that there were no more in the hole in the door) it went together OK.

So now I can close and lock the door.

But with the same old lock, of course, not the new one I was planning to install!

And now it is dark.  Tomorrow I plan to try again, with the help of a YouTube video I have found. 

Wish me well!


Claire said...

What a lot of humbugging around as my mum would say Penny. You have figured out how it all goes together I hope you don't have as much trouble replacing the lock. I quite agree with you about the blokes being more DIY savvy. Much as people don't like to stereotype the sexes men and women both have different 'strengths', but we can each learn how to do what's necessary and all I can say is 'thank goodness for YouTube videos'......

Penny Peberdy said...

In the end, Claire, I didn't change the lock. I decided that it would be more secure to get a roll-down door shutter fitted, that I can lock when I go away, or even if I go out.