If you’ve ever tried to open a file cabinet that’s been locked from the inside, you know how difficult it can be. Many file cabinets have multiple types of locks, which can be challenging to figure out because they use complicated combinations. You don’t have to worry – this guide will show you how to drill out a file cabinet lock quickly. Before drilling out a lock, you MUST have some information about the lock. So let’s start with that.
What is a File Cabinet Lock?
File cabinet locks are locks designed specifically to secure file cabinets. Both home and office settings often use file cabinets as storage solutions, which can be quite valuable. Sadly, they can also be quite vulnerable to theft and break-ins. You can increase the security of your file cabinet and protect your belongings with a file cabinet lock.
Depending on your needs, you can choose from several different types of file cabinet locks. Keyed locks use a standard key to lock and unlock cabinets. The installation of keyed locks is relatively easy, and they are very affordable. They are, however, relatively easy to pick or force open.
Locking and unlocking a cabinet with a combination lock is more secure. It can be harder to remember the combination for combination locks, but they are more difficult to pick or force open.
You can also use an electronic lock, which uses a keypad to lock and unlock the cabinet. It is more expensive and challenging to install electronic locks, but they are the most secure.
Whatever type of file cabinet lock you choose, make sure it is installed correctly. A poorly installed lock can be easily bypassed, rendering it useless. Furthermore, you should select a lock suitable for the type and size of your file cabinet. You should be sure to choose the right lock for your cabinet type.
You can increase the security of your file cabinet and protect your belongings by installing a file cabinet lock. Ensure maximum safety by choosing the right lock for your needs and installing it properly.
Identify the Types of File Cabinet Lock
File cabinet locks come in several types, including:
The most common type of file cabinet lock. The lock body consists of a cylindrical cam mechanism. Upon turning the key, the cam rotates and engages a locking bar, securing the file cabinet.
Using a spring-loaded plunger, the plunger lock engages with a hole in the cabinet frame. File cabinets can be opened by inserting the key and turning it.
In combination locks, numbers, and letters are combined to unlock the cabinet. Typically, you rotate a dial to enter a combination.
The use of electronic locks for file cabinets is increasing. Digital keypads or card readers unlock the cabinet, and backup keys or codes may also be available.
Sliding Bolt Locks:
Locks with sliding bolts slide into slots in file cabinet frames to secure them. In addition to cam locks, they provide additional security.
Deadbolt locks, like exterior doors, use a bolt that extends into the cabinet frame to secure the cabinet. Unlike other types of file cabinet locks, they offer high security.
Identify the Cabinet Lock Type Before Start Drilling.
Wafer tumblers and pin tumblers are the most common locks on file cabinets. Your file cabinet’s keyhole will tell you what type of lock it has. There is a pin tumbler lock if the keyhole is long and narrow, with a small hole at the bottom. Wafer tumbler locks have wide and shallow keyholes.
You will need to get a drill bit with a smaller diameter than the locking pins to drill out a pin tumbler lock. Start with a hole in the center of the keyhole. Once the pins are out of the hole, use a screwdriver or another thin tool to push them out.
You will need a drill bit the same size as the wafers to drill out a wafer tumbler lock. The keyhole should be drilled in the middle. Push the wafers out of the hole one at a time with a screwdriver or another thin tool.
How to Drill Out a File Cabinet Lock
Gather the necessary tools and equipment.
To drill out a file cabinet lock, you will need the following tools and equipment:
- Power drill: A drill with a high-speed motor and variable speed control is recommended. Cordless drill sets will be the best option for this purpose.
- Drill bits: Choose the appropriate size and type of drill bit for the lock, such as a carbide-tipped or cobalt drill bit.
- Lubricant: Use a penetrating oil or lubricant to help cool the drill bit and reduce friction during drilling.
- Safety goggles: Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from debris and metal shavings.
- Gloves: Use heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands and improve grip while drilling.
- Face mask: Wear a mask to protect against dust and metal particles.
- Lock-picking tools (optional): These tools may be necessary if the lock is a combination or electronic lock.
Prepare the work area
When drilling out a file cabinet lock, it is essential to prepare the work area for safety and efficiency. Following are some steps to follow:
- Drilling generates a lot of dust and debris, so it’s best to work in a well-ventilated area with an open window or fan to remove any fumes.
- Get rid of any items from the workspace that may interfere with the drilling process, such as papers and office supplies.
- Under the file cabinet, place a drop cloth or plastic sheet to protect the floor from debris or metal shavings.
- The file cabinet must be stable and secure, so it does not move during drilling.
- Before drilling, block the lock cylinder in place with a clamp or vise grip to prevent it from spinning.
- Wear safety goggles, gloves, and a face mask to protect yourself from debris and metal shavings generated during drilling.
How to drill out a File Cabinet Lock – The Drilling Steps
Drill bit selection
You should select a drill bit that is sized and typed according to the lock. If your metal file cabinet locks are made of metal, you should use a carbide-tipped drill bit or cobalt-tipped. Here is a list of the best drill bit for drilling out locks.
Mark the center of the lock
Make sure the lock cylinder is centered by using a center punch. By doing so, you’ll prevent the drill bit from slipping off, and you’ll also be able to guide it while drilling.
Apply penetrating oil or lubricant to the drill bit to help cool it down and reduce friction during drilling.
Drill slowly at first, increasing speed as the drill bit cuts into the lock. As you drill, ensure the drill bit is perpendicular to the lock and apply steady pressure.
Drill until the lock cylinder is removed
Drill until the lock cylinder is wholly removed from the file cabinet. While drilling, don’t damage the file cabinet or any other components.
Remove the lock mechanism.
After removing the lock cylinder, use pliers or a screwdriver to remove the lock mechanism.
Install a new lock
Inspect the file cabinet and replace the lock mechanism according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Test the new lock
It is crucial to test the new lock to ensure it is working correctly.
You can drill out a file cabinet lock and replace it with a new one by following these steps. Take all necessary precautions when drilling and wear personal protective equipment. Discuss common issues that may arise during the process and how to troubleshoot them.
Aware of the Issues
- Drill bit breaks or becomes dull: Stop drilling and replace the drill bit with a new one.
- Lock mechanism is difficult to remove: Use pliers or a screwdriver gently remove the lock mechanism.
- Debris and metal shavings: Clean the area regularly to prevent debris and metal shavings from accumulating.
- Overheating: Use lubricant and take breaks to avoid overheating.
- Lock is damaged: Consider contacting a locksmith for repair or replacement.
How to Drill Out a File Cabinet Lock – FAQs
Is it legal to drill out a file cabinet lock?
Drilling out a file cabinet lock should only be done if you have the legal authority to access the contents of the cabinet. Otherwise, it may be considered an unlawful entry.
Can I drill out any type of lock?
No, only certain types of locks can be drilled out. Knowing the kind of lock on the file cabinet is essential before attempting to drill it out.
What happens if I damage the file cabinet while drilling out the lock?
If you damage the file cabinet while drilling out the lock, you may be liable for the cost of repairing or replacing the cabinet. It’s essential to take precautions to prevent damage during the drilling process.
Can I replace the lock cylinder with a different type of lock?
Yes, you can replace the lock cylinder with a different type of lock as long as it fits the file cabinet and is appropriate for your intended use.
Can I prevent drilling out of my file cabinet lock?
Yes, there are some measures you can take to prevent drilling out of your file cabinet lock, such as using a high-security lock or installing a security bar.