How would you remove bark from a lock?

I agree that fishing it out with the saw blade or small hook is a good start. Possibly the vacuum too. But I think either way would be aided by a good soaking of WD40. This would make the piece more pliable and suckable for removal and might even make it break up enough to just smash into pieces and eventually get the key in.

I also think consulting a good locksmith would be good. He/she just might have an effective tool or method for this very thing! And that solution might just be cheap.

My son broke off a key in my lock. A locksmith friend was able to remove the broken piece with some pick tools. This looks like a job for a locksmith. I’ll bet they know how to get the bark out.

So, when you two pasta fazoules have a pesky fly in the studio do you use a Buick to swat it, or do you just skip straight to a Freightliner??? And the folks who have responded so far----what are you drinking? Honestly, if Mary is willing to use a blowtorch on the Blue Beast, by the time Stump Out, termites or carpenter ants can make a dent in a dry chunk of bark, that mini-van will be coming back from China as a pallet of termite-infested microwave ovens. Go to your splinter removal kit, get your #8 sewing needle and jewellers forceps and dig the sliver out of the car. It will be just like the thousands of slivers you’ve dug out of the young lad, except the minivan won’t squirm and insist it is being hurt before you have even touched it! (My weapons of preference are actually disection needles, a pair of bent forceps and the jewellers forceps–but I spent almost as long in school as Tom and Ray combined and I have a tad bit of experience at digging chunks of plant material out of all manner of crevices.)

In answer to your question: Vodka

RE Stump Out Solution: Not first recommendation.

Applications and cautions: Stump Out is an industrial chemical (sodium metabisulfate), most commonly used by pulp mills to speed the process of breaking down cellulose. It comes in small packages for nonindustrial use such as rapid decomposition of stumps. Available in powder form. Soluble in water. Less soluble in alcohol. Caustic to skin. Lung irritant. Releases sulfur dioxide gas when dissolved in water. Sometimes used in low concentrations as a food preservative. Often used in beer.

Practical considerations: She (or someone) would have to dissolve a small amount and use a syringe (or turkey baster) to inject into lock. Effective concentration for this application is unknown. Protection of paint and chrome a minor consideration. Protection of skin important. Signing CarTalk liability release forms may be required.

Practical consequences: Decomposed cellulose will remain in a brown, fibrous form. Typical recommended disposal of remaining cellulose is low-heat burning for localized applications (such as stump removal). In a door lock, likely to be a real mess. Compressed air (safety important!) may clear material (not at all clear where it is to go!). Burning not advised unless arson is contemplated. Signing CarTalk liability and indemnification forms may be advised.

Alternative advice: Take car to a locksmith, remove lock core, clean in protected work environment, or simply replace the lock. Call CarTalk, tell Tom and Ray how much was paid to the locksmith. Compare locksmith charges to likely costs of emergency room visits and chronic asthma (from inhaling sodium metabisulfate powder) for the 6-year-old who WILL continue to experiment when he discovers HOW TOTALLY COOL Stump Out really is when used on the neighbors? trees or when he learns to dissolve his friends’ wooden toys.

oI’d try using a woodburning set or soldering iron with a really fine tip.

Stump removal products fall into two categories.Either they rot the wood over years or you pour it into drilled holes and then ignite it. Neither a good choice here.

A lady had a piece of bark stuck in
the car lock. Instead of using messy chemicals, try a fine
crochet needle. Stick it in above or below the piece of bark.
You may be able to get to hook to catch.
Another option would be a piece of scroll saw blade. Stick it
in with the teeth slanting outward. It shouldn’t be too hard
to catch the wood. If the bark gets pulverized, blow it out
with a can of compressed air.

This “computer techie” does not use a high powered vacuum on any of the computers he works on. These are delicate, sensitive machines (the computers not the vacuums). I use a product called “Dust Off” (it’s not just compressed air) and I am very careful how I use the product.

Save the high powered vacuums for picking up bowling balls (and sucking bark out of locks)

Gray Goose or Smirnoff silver?? What is the recomended dose for the optimal car talk experience?

The bark is surely mashed to bits. Digging with a small hooked or sawtooth tool may remove most of the debris, but much of it will remain behind. If directed compressed air was added to the use of a digging tool like this, more of the matter could be removed.

Incineration or dissolution has been shown by other posters to be impractical. If the material is solid, a product like CRC Freeze Off or just a nice long shot from an upside-down can of air duster could help to solidify the wood through freezing, and maybe the caller could get a grip on the now harder wood with some small needle-nose pliers.

In any case, the lock should be lubricated with graphite lock lube, or the fragments will seize the lock again.

I think a locksmith should have a look. I especially like the suggestion that the offending tot be made to watch the locksmith work, and then we all go out for ice cream.

I would have gone straight to the blowtorch.

Funny, I have a bit of personal experience with this. A… um, friend of mine, during a night of drunken stupor back in college, tried to enter his apartment, but couldn’t find his keys. Having just come from Buffalo Bills Wild Wings, he had a toothpick sticking out of the corner of his mouth. To a person with a BAC of about .18, this seemed like the perfect lockpick. When half the toothpick broke off in the lock, I… I mean he used the other half for a second attempt and only succeeded in jamming the lock with slobber and chicken wing imbided toothpick remnants. I finally managed to enter my… I mean he and his apartment by way of the kitchen window. The next day, I… I mean he set to work digging out the lock with dental tools and a Teledyne waterpik. He broke apart the wood with the dental picks, then blasted out the pieces with the waterpik. In a car lock, it’ll probably take two picks, one to hold the little protective gate open and the other to do the digging. I would suggest a hooked pick to pull the gate back, then tape it to the side of the door, then set to work with a straight pick to bust up the wood. Note, wear safety glasses. This is experience talking. Once all the wood is out, or all the wood you can retrieve, I would suggest a spritz with WD40 or some such lube/rust inhibitor. In fact, come to think of it, the dental picks plus WD40 with the little red straw (The one we always lose) might work as well as the waterpik. Just be sure to wipe down your door afterward.

She might try applying a small blob of wood glue to the tip of a toothpick, holding open the “door” of the lock cylinder with a small screwdriver, and pushing the toothpick against the bark piece, and let it dry. Before attempting to extract the bark, she could spray graphite powder into the cylinder.

Get long sewing needle and bend a hook in the sharp end.
Then pick everything out, piece by piece.
May need something to block the lock ice guard open.

What are you guys roba da matti? Stump remover? Blowtorch? Obviously you have too many tools from that company with the Natick plant. Which one of you has the PhD?

Use two paper clips to dig out the wood. You can use the standard “larger” clip to hold open the key hole door and the “small” paper clip to dig out the pieces. It takes time, but should not damage the lock (it is brass with spring loaded pins). You might be able to blow out the pieces with a can of dry air with tube(office stores carry these). A locksmith or car thief may also have a lock pick which will do the same as the paper clips.

You guys still owe me the oil change from winning the puzzler about the pinhole in the carburetor diaphragm. I should be getting compound interest on that.