Parent Q&A

  • Hi- we bought an awesome old house. One of the not so charming features is the old door handles… while they look charming, they don’t function well. The front door must be dead bolted at all times bc the latch doesn’t even come out of the door anymore. I’m not sure if a locksmith is what we need, or something else? But hoping someone has dealt with updating locks and possible handles (or fixing them?) and has some advice and recommendations. Thanks!!!

    Hi! I recently had all the 120-year-old door hardware (locks, handles, backplates) in my house expertly refurbished by Johnathan Rosales, (510) 229-7165‬. info [at] oldlockrepair.com

    He specializes in old lock refurbishment and repair. He'll also find missing parts and rekey things. All my locks now look and work great!


    Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/old-lock-repair-and-restoration-berkeley-2

    Locksmith is the way to go.  We had a nice old front door handle with an interconnected system [turning the inside handle drew back the dead bolt at the same time] that stopped working properly, and the deadbolt stuck.  Ken from Rex Key & Security managed to find the parts and rebuild it.  Did a fantastic job.  I highly recommend. 

    I used Johnathan Rosales of Old Lock Repair and Restoration to rekey all the old locks in my house. Some needed repair also.


    email: into [at] oldlockrepair.com


    Johnathan repaired the old locks on the McGreery House, home of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Locksmith to repair a very old lock?

August 2009

We are looking for recommendations for a locksmith with expertise in old locks to work on a very old deadbolt lock in our front door. The lock is probably 100 years old; it works, but needs to be lubricated and fussed with to make it work more easily. I am not sure whether any old locksmith would have these skills? Recommendations in or near Alameda/the East Bay would be especially appreciated! Thank you. Amy

The locksmith at the corner of Encinal and Oak St. made some nice keys for me that worked on an antique desk. Check them out; also if you need referrals ask at the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society. http://www.alameda-preservation.org/ satisfied customer

Oct 2007

I would like to recommend a great locksmith -- Best Bay Locksmith, Inc. They were really a pleasure to work with. After watching the story on TV about the bump key and realizing how easy it is to break into houses without leaving a trace, we called them to secure our home. (Also, with all these stories about the ''alarm system'' people who come into your home and scope your house for a later burglary, I wanted to be as secure as I could.) Dan, the owner, is very professional and has tons of experience in high security locks. His rates are very reasonable and he carries a large variety of locks to choose from. An added bonus (which, of course, should be a given but unfortunately isnC-t always...) was that he really cleaned up his job afterwards and left no trace of his presence here. Our home feels safer now !! You can contact him at 415-285KEYS (5397)

Alameda locksmith

April 2007

We live in Alameda and need to re-key our two exterior doors. There are a couple reviews of locksmiths in the archives, but none in Alameda. Can anyone recommend a local locksmith or one in nearby Oakland? Thanks
new to neighborhood

Better than just *Alameda* locksmith. :-) Velocity Lock & Key is a mobile locksmith service that serves the East Bay. Julie & Eddie Pledger, very knowledgeable locksmiths and very nice people who provide really good customer service. 510.525.4668 velocityservice [at] comcast.net. Ann V

We used D.E. Lock and Key to re-key the new home we purchased. The gentleman (owner perhaps?) who did the work was great. He came over after the shop closed on the day we moved, which was maybe 5:30 or 6:00. I definitely recommend him. He's located at 925 Central Avenue. The phone is 522-4818. Cheryl

I want to recommend Glenview Key and Lock Shop, located at 4211 Park Blvd. in Oakland, phone (510) 530-6141. I have had excellent service with keys and locks there. Definitely worth the drive from Alameda. Lori

We had D. E. Lock & Key re-key our house, and we really liked them. They're at 925 Central Ave. in Alameda and can be reached at (510) 522-4818. Tori

Need deadbolts installed on old french doors

January 2007

I need a locksmith to put deadbolts in two sets of french doors in our house. The doors have original 1920's knobs and hinges, so I'd like to match the look of the deadbolts to those if possible. Any recommendations for locksmiths that have access to antique-looking hardware? Thanks. Anon

Call Julie at Velocity Lock and Key. (510) 525-4668 She's very knowledgeable and she should be able to help you find what you're looking for. Lynch

Jan 2006

We recently used Rex Key to put in new door and window locks to our entire house. Unfortunately, we have been very disappointed with the quality of their work. We had to have another locksmith out to fix two of the locks they put in, even though I called them first to see if they would return to fix the problem, which they would not do. Also, the window locks they installed do not work correctly. Unsatisfied Rex Key customer

2004-2005 Recommendations

Need to replace old mortise locks with new

October 2005

I would like to replace old mortise locks in my home (built in 1914). They don't work and they are all different. But I cannot find a new one (even a new that claims should replace an old mortise) that fits in the existing hole. I can find trims and knobs, but not the mechanism. I am sure many had to deal with this issue, and I would like to hear how they solved this problem. Thanks!

We had an old mortise lock on our front door. I simply removed the exterior parts of the lock, filled in the gaps with wood putty, and installed a new deadbolt in a new hole above the original lock. Incidentally, I got a deadbolt with a keyless entry touchpad and it's a really great convenience. You can get one at a locksmith or home center, possibly by special order only. David

Want all my doors to use the same key

May 2005

Need reputable locksmith to make all the doors in my house open with the same key. I guess this will involve replacing the tumblers. Has anyone had any experience with this? Can anyone recommend? Leslie

We had all our locks (7 in all, on three doors and a gate) re-keyed about 8 months ago by Rex Key & Security in Berkeley. It took two hours or so, and cost about $200, I think. We were pleased with their work. robin

Re-keying a lock is pretty basic, any locksmith can do it. I've used Reed Brothers on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland to re-key locks. They do a fine job. If you can remove the locks you want changed and take them to their business location, it's cheaper than having them send someone to your house to do all the work. If you decide to have someone come out there and there are a lot of locks to re-key, maybe all a few locksmiths to compare prices. I've also used Rex Key on University in Berkeley.

Lost the key, can't get basement door open

Sept 2004

We lost our only key to the basement of our Berkeley home and are hoping we don't have to pay someone $100 (Rex quote) to come open and rekey the lock. Any recommendations for an affordable locksmith to open the door? Thank you. cohen

I've always used Rex, and always found them to be fairly priced. I've also never had them recommend more than I needed. Cecelia

I've used the Keyshack on San Pablo in Albany a couple of times. Don't think it was anywhere near $100 for rekeying, and I had four locks to do (inside and outside of two doors).