Monday, February 22, 2016

Keeping A Happy, Healthy T10

So you've received your T10! Maybe it's your first Popplock and you have big expectations(you should!). You put the key in and begin turning frantically. A few discoveries later and you can't remove the key. But you should be able, you just had the key out. After some more frantic turning, the key is out. but now you can't put it back in! What's going on here? Maybe your lock has been gripped with "death lock" and the key is almost impossible to turn. Looking for a solution to your problem? Look no further.

It's fair to say now, that this blog post contains very minor spoilers to the mechanisms of the T10. I'm a solving purist and I would not be upset at hearing any the information contained herein. I've remained as ambiguous as possible while being clear and concise in troubleshooting.

The T10 is an amazing piece of machinery, but it is not without it's flaws, mostly brought upon by user error.

So this is just a small two tip guide on keeping your T10 healthy with some basic troubleshooting and user friendly solutions to various problems that several people in the community have had.

Tip #1
Don't become frustrated with this lock! The key is meant to be turned in 90 degree increments. When frustration rears it's ugly head(and it will!) you may begin frantic turning of the key between it's various layers. This causes an odd situation where a deeper layer can be turned at a 45 degree increment. When you insert the key and attempt to correct this 45 degree fallacy, you only turn the more shallow layers 45 degrees off from their intended 90 degree positions, now making the key impossible to remove! The method to fixing this is to align the layers with the 45 degree malcontent, and then slowly alternate between moving the deeper and shallower layers by 2-3 degrees, until you've "shuffled" the "bad" layer to it's proper position.

Healthy keyhole, you can see clear to the bottom of the lock.
"Unhealthy" You can see several layers are turned at improper increments.
If you find yourself becoming frustrated, put the lock down and come back in a couple minutes. You'll save yourself more headache down the road. Stick to the 90 degree mantra!

Tip #2
Due to the reciprocating nature of the various layers, if any grit becomes lodged in between the layers, it can make turning nigh impossible. This happened to my own version at the recent NYPP, and it took almost wrist breaking strength to "force" the key to turn. The easiest option here is to attempt to wash the obstruction out and otherwise lube the lock. After doing what I'll outline below, my lock returned to perfect functioning health.


WD-40 contains vegetable resins unsuitable for long term machine lubrication. Machine oil resinifys over time and may cause your lock to "gunk" up several years down the road. Use either Gibbs Penetrative Machine Lubricant, or Tri-Flow Teflon Lubricant. (Google either.) Steps outlined below(note that I used Gibbs for my application, but Tri-Flow may work even better.)
  1. Lay out some newspaper and place the lock thereupon.
  2. Drench the lock in lubricant, until it is dripping with oil. Spray the various layers and spray down the keyhole.
  3. Begin turning the key through the various layers, while continuing to apply lube to the "problem" layer.
  4. Work the oil in.
  5. Allow to air-dry for several hours.
  6. Now play with the lock! Keep a clean cloth on hand to wipe up any residual oil.
I did the above to my T10 with Gibbs and it functions perfectly, no oily residue and a perfect, "factory-fresh" smooth movement.

If all else fails, you'll need to disassemble the lock via the red set screws and clean the innards, but I don't think that will be necessary for anybody. If you do happen to do that, but want to maintain the integrity of the red paint for collector value, they are filled with Loctite SF 7400. Disassemble the lock, clean, reassemble, and re-fill the set screws with Loctite. Good as new!

I hope this post is able to help T10 owners without revealing too much of the internal mechanisms. Feel free to email me through "Contacts" if you have any additional questions. 


  1. Thanks Eric,

    Would you recommend proactive lubricating, even if nothing has gone foul yet?

  2. I agree. My T4 is a bit stiff and although brass has some self lubricating properties, I wonder if I should lubricate it. My T10 as well.