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Featured here are original articles by CMS staff members and distinguished guests.  Although qualified via proxy prior to appearing, content is at the discretion of each individual writer or collaborator, and views or opinions should not be inferred to reflect those of CMS or of any one else...

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Email advisory for September 8, 2010

Posted by MCS at CMS on September 8, 2010 at 12:44 PM Comments comments (0)

Recently, Donet, the internet service provider that CMS has used for more than a decade, has found itself indirectly associated with a considerably large and stubborn phishing campaign.  Although the origins of the disreputable emails are outside of Donet's infrastructure, the highly visible but deceptive use of false "@donet.com" email addresses has now taken a toll...

As an unfortunate but temporary consequence, AT&T networks - ameritech.net, att.net, bellsouth.net, pacbell.net, prodigy.net, sbcglobal.net and many, many others - have started blocking ALL incoming email associated with an "@donet.com" address, even if verifiably genuine - as with each of us here at Consolidated Millwork Supply.  Outgoing email from AT&T to CMS does not appear to be waylayed or blocked at this time...

Curiously, AT&T and Donet are actually very strong business partners "behind the scenes."  Lucky for us...

Interchangeable Core Wiki #100610

Posted by MCS not at CMS on June 11, 2010 at 10:52 AM Comments comments (1)

As primarily composed and edited by MCS not at CMS...


An interchangeable core or "ic" is a compact keying mechanism in a specific "small format" figure-eight shape.  Unlike a standard key cylinder, which is accessible for combinating only via locking device disassembly, an interchangeable mechanism relies upon a specialized "control" key for insertion and extraction of the essential (aka "core") combinating components...


The upper two figure-eight segments in this image comprise a modern type interchangeable core (featuring an 'A' keyway).  The lowermost segment is actually part of the lock unit and not an extension of the "small format" mechanism...


...image provided via Wikipedia

Functionality

Interchangeable cores can be extracted from one lock type (cylindrical lock, mortise lock, padlock and so forth) and then installed into another without requiring the removal or disassembly of any single component.  These units are readily adapted for master keying systems and can be set up with spare cores and keys for quick replacement when security is compromised, such as when a key is lost or stolen or when a personnel change takes place.  Extracted cores can then be recombinated without urgency and placed back into maintenance storage for future use...


Although operationally similar to removeable cores, which come in varying "large format" snowman shapes, interchangeable cores neither dictate nor exclude the use of a particular hardware manufacturer.  In other words, whereas a typical large format key system of Brand X must be expanded with Brand X cores and must use Brand X cylindrical locks and cylinder housings, a typical small format key system of Brand A can be expanded with cores from Brands A, B, C, D, E and so on, and can also be used with locks and housings from Brands A, B, C, D, E and so on...

Key Attributes

Interchangeable cores require a notch at the tip of each key to properly align the peaks and valleys of each blade with the combinating pins in the chamber of the mechanism; as a consequence, these keys are always configured and cut from blade tip to bow.  Conversely, conventional cylinders and removeable cores utilize a shoulder near the bow of each key to properly align all peaks and valleys; as a consequence, these keys are always configured and cut from bow to blade tip.  As a further consequence of this fundamental difference, neither of these two key types can ever be cross- or master-keyed with the other...


As a benefit to keying from blade tip to bow, a six- or seven-pin interchangeable core key blank can be machined to precisely fit a smaller five-pin system configuration.  Although the blade of such keys may be a pin or two longer than need be, this extra length never enters the locking mechanism; therefore, five-, six- and seven-pin interchangeable core systems can be easily integrated to work with one another or to provide different levels of access control within the same system.  Conventional cylinder and removeable core systems are significantly more limited in this regard since the extra length of their keys must pass through to the inside of the locking mechanism, which is often just not physically possible...


For additional interchangeable core access control, non-proprietary keyways and key sections of the following designations are available: A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, Q, R, TB, TD and TE.  Other less common but still non-proprietary keyways and key sections also exist, but these typically have differing designations from manufacturer to manufacturer, even though the components may otherwise be identical...

Brief Background

The compact current iteration of the interchangeable core has gradually evolved into a de facto standard for keying interoperability throughout the commercial door hardware industry.  Since its last significant redesign in the middle nineteen sixties, this keying unit has expanded well beyond the product offering of just two competing companies - Best Universal Lock and Falcon Lock - to become an available option via all OEM and most aftermarket door hardware brands in North America:

Abus, Alarm Lock, American, Arrow, Best Access, Best Security, BlueWave, Cal-Royal, Corbin-Russwin, CX-5, Dorma, Falcon, GMS, General Lock, Hager, IEI, Ilco, Independence2, InstaKey, K2, Kaba, Killeen, Lori, LSDA, Marks, Master, Medeco, Mul-T-Lock, Olympus, Omnilock, PDQ, Precision, Saflok, Sargent, Schlage, SDC, Tell, Trans-Atlantic, Von Duprin and Yale either produce their own interchangeable cores or else offer product lines or product options to accommodate such cores by others...

The modern version** of the interchangeable core - and of all other such cores, as well - actually has its roots in a bulkier, pedestal-shaped configuration** developed in 1919 by Frank Best, then proprietor of Best Universal Lock Company.  Frank Best's family business lineage has since expanded over the years but, currently, is most recognizable via the two competing Indianapolis, Indiana area entities generally referenced with his surname: Best Access (Stanley Security Solutions, Inc - Best Access Systems Division) and Best Security (Marshall Best Security Corp)...


** Links require the installation of AlternaTIFF or a similar browser plug-in...

Disambiguation

Large format removeable cores from manufacturers ASSA-Abloy, BiLock, Corbin-Russwin, Medeco, Mul-T-Lock, Sargent, Schlage and Yale are not interchangeable with any other make or model.  Although similar in appearance when installed, no two actually share the exact same form or function.  More precisely, for example:

Each core from Corbin-Russwin is removed and reinstalled via a partial two-chambered pin section with a unique shear line that rotates into and out of the chassis when any common change key blank or master key blank with the proper cuts is encountered, and, therefore, is incompatible with all Schlage removeable cores, which release and resecure by means of a lateral pin at the back that is controlled by a specialized key blank cut to match any functioning change key or master key or combination thereof...



Do You See What I See?

Posted by MCS at CMS on February 11, 2010 at 1:06 PM Comments comments (0)


Embedded below is a scan of the cover from a 2008 marketing mailer.  Since its arrival at CMS nearly two years ago, the nominally sized 5-inch by 8-inch glossy original has been displayed in a position of prominence on the wall in my office.  Although I see the publication every time that I enter, the message that it conveys still produces a certain sense of awe...

To be clear, however, that message is not actually the one implied as worded in yellow...





To the untrained eye, possibilities can often appear plentiful or promising; from a vantage point of experience, however, not so much.  With regard to the rendering above, for example, the key word of the catchphrase is misspelled; and more astoundingly, aside from the name of the company itself, there are only four other words on the page!

In the computer-driven, software-assisted business environments of this millennium, obvious oversights can demonstrate sizable deficiencies in due diligence.  If fifth-graders lose points in school for such laziness, then imagine the consequences at a professional project level.  Take another look at the cover of that mailer; clearly, consultation with a more experienced set of eyes would have been beneficial...

If my calculations are correct, those still reading along to this point are likely to be thinking the same basic thoughts - but with two very different perspectives:

  • Some will conclude that I'm making a mountain of a molehill and that I'm being far too judgmental and full-of-myself over a mere typo.  That's it?  That's all??  Just that???  Moreover, after realizing how I spelled that form of the word "judge," some may further conclude that I'm also being a hypocrite as well...
  • Initially, the rest will be thinking it odd for the experienced eye of a door, frame and hardware professional to not see more than just a mere typo.  That's it?  That's all??  Just that???  Or in a more lyrical sense, Do you know what I know?  To clarify for those with such concerns, please now know that I know what you knew I should know...


To be blunt, architecturally the image is a cut-and-paste disaster.  The individual(s) that configured the image had neither care nor sense for the actual configuration of doors, frames and hardware.  Subliminally, for those that understand such components, the advertising crashes and burns in spectacular fashion...

With regard to that sense of awe mentioned in the opening paragraph, there are a couple of lessons to be learned from the mailer and, curiously, they just happen to be tenets famously associated with Mies van der Rohe:  Take the time to get it right (God is in the details) and don't go overboard (less is more)...


* * *


For those that enjoy solving logic puzzles and are adept at applying concepts, give this a try:  If Division Eight features thousands of words and if a picture paints a thousand words, then analyze your project specifications and solve for the image conveyed...

For those that prefer games with actual imagery, give this a try:  In the space below, list as many of the door, frame and hardware mistakes from the mailer as you can...


A Missing Link to the Disclaimed Dorma Misnomer!

Posted by MCS not at CMS on January 26, 2010 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)


It exists!  I saw it for the first time several years ago and, ever since, rarely a working day goes by without a great big, glaring reminder of it popping up when my guard is down or when my back is turned:  What, you again?  How long has it been?  What time is it?  What's the date?  Okay, now, just go away...

I don't typically boast about the particulars to this and, furthermore, the whole thing just isn't sustainable as a topic of conversation in most situations.  In fact, more and more dauntingly often these days, the very best of presentations - even when detailed in black and white with imagery - wind up poo-pooed with impatient indifference by otherwise ostensibly intelligent individuals.  This can be particularly discouraging, for example, when involving a pretentious architect and an irresolute general contr--Wait!  I've deviated from the topic at hand.  Slightly...

Have I mentioned that the misnomer is a screensaver?  It features a clean but handy desktop clock and calendar of Bavarian design; and although Dorma no longer promotes the small executable download that bears its name (the page markers for it are long gone and site searches return no hits), the portal is indeed still active as of this posting.  With proper insight, anyone with an interest can navigate straight to it and once again gaze in doe-eyed wonder at the short, schadenfreude translation of Fatherland Legalese before downloading yet another freebie via Al Gore's clever invention...

Print What You Like

Posted by MCS at CMS on January 7, 2010 at 2:36 PM Comments comments (0)


Consider yourself warned:  No matter how useful, no matter how interesting, no matter how provocative, never, never, never attempt to simply print a CMS web page.  Or, at the very least, never, never, yada, yada, yada without using a quality, free online service such as PrintWhatYouLike.com...

For those wanting to know more with regard to the technical merits: too bad; however, the content of this particular paragraph is primarily fluff and filler and can be easily read while pretending to be enlightened.  There once was a fiesty young terrier, who liked to bite girls on the derrière.  He'd yip and he'd yap.  He'd jump up and *snap* - and the fairer the derrière the merrier!  Are you still reading this?

More to the point, output generated by standard means (via file-->print) often looks like this.  With PrintWhatYouLike.com, output can be rendered more fittingly - like this - or more sparse or more focused, or more specific to whatever preferences that a user may have.  Remove ads, remove images, remove menus, remove colors, and more...

Now, consider yourself welcomed...

Locks Talk and ARRA :: Part One

Posted by MCS at CMS on December 18, 2009 at 12:23 PM Comments comments (0)


Preface

For those with stimulus funded projects under way - and especially for those with openings set to receive ANSI Grade 2 primary door hardware from recognizable household brands such as Dexter, Kwikset, Schlage, Weiser or Weslock, or from interchangeable core mainstays like Best and Falcon - quickly:  Memorize the words "plausible deniability" and
stop reading now!

For those still reading - and especially for those with a penchant for acronyms, logic puzzles and long form tax returns - double check that which follows:  Peruse the stimulus funding documentation and search through the guidelines and bulletins from the White House, States and Agencies; then, pry for insider information from the "brands" and "companies" named or alluded and, finally, try not to get lost in the rhetorical cornucopia of abundance that is The Federal Register!


Unless a project is specified to have certain Grade One commercial door hardware, the likelihood of "made in the USA" components being provided will be extraordinarily slim.  All credible industry consultants are well aware of this, yet, of the stimulus-associated projects that CMS has quoted thus far, most have been specified with either one or more of the seven brands prefaced; however, none of these lock lines are actually fabricated on US soil...

To be clear, this matter is not exclusive to just the brands thus far mentioned.  All producers of such components have evolved - and continue to evolve, albeit to varying degrees - with international concerns handling more and more of the actual fabricating.  Admittedly, most of the insight in this regard has been acquired via casual conversation over the years; however, circumstantial corroboration is readily available to anyone with internet access:

Underwriters Laboratories maintains an online database for these tested and certified tubular and cylindrical latch types (with mortise and unit lock types included as well) and a good portion of their listings are international.  After applying a little search engine savvy, a myriad of historical ties between the listed companies can be found (along with many more historical ties to other unlisted manufacturers as well):  I-TEK with Best, Maxxon, Monarch and Napco; Taiwan Fu Hsing Industrial with Falcon and Yale; Talleres de Escoriaza SA with Assa Abloy, Corbin-Russwin and Yale; Dorma GmbH (Germany), Schlage (China and Mexico) and Stanley/Best (China) with their respective divisions or parent companies in the USA; and so on and so on and so on...


Ultimately, though, this matter is actually not prohibitive with regard to projects funded via the ARRA.  For clarifications in this regard - and for CMS projects only - compliance issues will be addressed via formal request and then summarized and posted here; hence, the anticipatory "Part One" in the title.  For additional circumstantial corroboration in the meantime, take a look at the ARRA waivers to date (there aren't many, and none are for door hardware), carefully note the FAR exclusions (again, there aren't many), and always keep in mind that guidance - as was provided in this article's preface - is substantially suggestion, not regulation...


Content Advisory

Posted by MCS at CMS on December 4, 2009 at 12:40 PM Comments comments (0)


If you have a request or an idea for an article, or if you would like to write or collaborate, or if you just want to add a meaningful comment to an existing work, then log in or register for a site key and create a post or send an email.  Topics relevant to CMS interests are encouraged - but are not required - and statements of fact must be verifiably researched...


Also, all content accessible via key - whether fully posted by CMS or merely hosted via this site - must conform to the Webs ID Terms of Service...


Inaugural post aka "FIRST!!!1!"

Posted by MCS at CMS on October 13, 2009 at 3:14 PM Comments comments (0)


As at the forums --> just testing the waters...


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