Issues re-keying Dexter lock with Schlage kit

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  #1  
Old 03-21-16, 11:23 AM
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Issues re-keying Dexter lock with Schlage kit

I've been re-keying Schlage locks myself since last century and have a kit of pins and such meant just for Schlage locks. I tried changing a Dexter lock over the weekend and found I could not. As an example, I was trying to make the lock work with a Schlage 23456 key but most of the pins were proud of the cylinder except the 6, which seemed to be too short. Due to most of them being proud, I could not even get the cylinder back in the housing. So, I swapped out four of them to make a 12346 arrangement and now they looked good except for the short 6. Of course, the key did not work once I reassembled the lock and I had to pick it back open.

So, next step was to swap out the short 6 with a 7, so I now had 12347. Again, the key did not work and I had to pick the lock back open. At this point, I quit messing around with it.

Does anyone know whether Dexter and Schlage use different pins? I'd swear I did a couple Dexter locks about 10 years ago and everything worked but something seems different this time and I thus far don't have my head around it.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 08:11 PM
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They did indeed use the same dimensions. Exactly. At least 20 years ago they did. That's about when I got out of residential and stopped working on Dexters. However, sometime after that Dexter was sold out and became part of Master Lock, and may still be as far as I know. Now as long as the original Dexter keyway is still being used, the original pin dimensions SHOULD still be used, but that's no guarantee. With change of ownership may have come a change of pin specs. Other than taking the time to look it up online, one could take a dial micrometer and measure the recent factory Dexter keys to see. The shoulder spacing could also have changed, so make sure your sample key(s) center correctly under each hole. And of course, I assume you're using factory original keys, or at least, 1st generation duplicates known to be accurate.

Maybe Global will chime in on this as he probably still deals with Dexter.

Where are you Global, haven't seen you for awhile!
 
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Old 03-21-16, 08:32 PM
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Did a little search, and pin length appears to be the same, tho my info may be a few years old. Note however, that the shoulder spacing to 1st pin is 0.231" for Schlage and 0.216" for Dexter. Pin centers only vary by 0.001" so that's insignificant. But as long as you're using Dexter keys in a Dexter plug, spacing should line up.
 
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Old 03-22-16, 08:41 AM
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Pins do tend to "migrate" over time, so measure the pin length. Replacement packs may also have the occasional "intruder". I saw packs of replacement pins just plain mismarked; very rare, but it does happen.
 
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Old 03-22-16, 09:09 AM
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I am using a Schlage key in a Dexter lock, so that may be the problem.
 
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Old 03-22-16, 07:57 PM
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Must be a sign I'm getting old, when I can't keep up with all the industry by-outs, acquisitions, mergers, etc....so now it's called "Dexter by Schlage" and they've dropped the old Dexter keyway in favor of the standard Schlage "C", with the same Schlage specs. So theoretically your keys should work.

I suspect that since Dexter always was a rather cheaply-made lock, now that it's being made in China, the quality may even be less, which may partly explain your difficulty.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 12:24 PM
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Dang, I was hoping there was a good reason this wasn't working but now I'm back to believing it should and therefore that I must be doing something wrong (though it worked the first 150 times over the last 20 years...).
 
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Old 03-27-16, 12:42 PM
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Only thing else I can think of is to measure the pins, in case they got mixed up in the kit. In the trade we use universal kits which are color coded to help keep them from getting mixed up.

BTW, you use a colloquial term "proud" to presumably mean too big or too long. I've not heard it used in this manner. Just curious to know where you picked this up.
 
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Old 03-28-16, 07:37 AM
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Proud in my mind means the pin is sticking up out of the cylinder when it should be flush with the top.

I lost my last keying kit and this is the first time I've used this one. Same brand but certainly possible something isn't right, I'll get out the micrometer and measure some pins (have to do that anyway, I dropped some #6 master pins into the #5 bin... ).
 
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Old 04-18-16, 02:12 PM
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Use shallower pins and then ream each pin hole with a drill bit.
reaming is like countersinking.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 08:39 PM
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Global's answer to this one is apropos to his "tongue-in-cheek" avatar; I feel my leg being pulled, as perhaps does ThisOldMan. But for Stickshift and others who've not the benefit of Locksmithing 101, "Reaming the Plug" as it's known, is a no-no. In the trade, it's the ultimate short-cut at the expense of security, and will earn you the moniker "Butcher".

I'd be happy to explain further, but in the interest of brevity, I'll suffice to say the proper way to deal with not having the correct pin size is to select the closest too-long pin, insert it, along with the key, and by holding this assembly firmly on the edge of a flat surface (so the key is pushed up into the keyway properly) and then file the pin down flush to the plug, using a small flat file.

Finally, de-burr the pin. If you're still just a few thousandths proud (I like that...)
and the key is hard to turn, you can safely file a few thousandths off the pointy end without negative consequence.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 08:48 PM
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An alternative method, altho resulting in the same degraded security as reaming,
and therefore not technically advised, at least does not permanently damage the plug, and can be rectified upon subsequent re-keyings, when you presumably have the correct pin sizes:

Using your bottom pin that's too short (shy?...) simply replace the corresponding top pin (driver) with a similar length bottom pin, pointy side down (ie., toward the plug). Ideally, security will be degraded no more than necessary if you take a few minutes to file the point (if using Schlage/Dexter pins) so that the pin has just enough bevel remaining to accommodate your too-short bottom pin without hanging.

end of speech.
 
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