You've found a great used filing cabinet or an antique chest, but unfortunately, it's locked and you don't have the key. If you want to integrate this piece into your home, there are a few ways that you may be able to unlock it. Take a look at these ideas:

1. Try to buy a replacement key.

If you are buying a relatively new item and the manufacturer is still in business, you may be able to buy a replacement key for it.

If you are unsure of the manufacturer, you can take a photo of the item, and use the image to search online for similar images. That will help guide you to the manufacturer or a reseller. To further help you in your search, also look for any identifying marks or serial numbers on or around the lock.

2. Buy a set of bit and barrel keys.

If you have bought an old or antique piece, it may have a lock that takes a skeleton key. If so, you are in luck as there are a finite amount of key shapes that work on these locks, and you can buy sets of them.

When shopping, look for a set of skeleton keys for an old barrel lock, and when they arrive, one of them is likely to work on your lock.

3. Replace the lock.

If you can't find the key, you may be able to replace the lock. If you are handy, you can do it yourself, or you can hire a locksmith to do it for you.

With a wood chest, you can cut out the old lock, and then, you can cut the space a bit larger to accommodate the placement of a new, slightly larger lock. With metal furniture such as filing cabinets, however, you can only replace the lock if you can find one that's the same size.

If the lock is odd-shaped, you may not be able to easily replace it. In some cases, however, you can replace an odd-shaped lock on metal furniture if you are willing to weld on some additional metal. Unfortunately, that can look messy.

4. Find a locksmith who specialises in antique locks.

If you don't want to remove the lock, you can hire a locksmith who specialises in working with old locks. Opening old locks and making new keys for them is an old art, and the process is entirely done by hand. Rather than the computers and other high-tech tools employed by locksmiths when they work on contemporary locks, this art involves simple hand tools, a box of matches and some candle wax.

For more information, contact a professional like Ameen's Locksmith.