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How to Remove Schlage Cylinders

Updated February 21, 2017

You can rekey any Schlage lock to match your other Schlage locks, making it possible to use just one key to open all the locks in your house. To remove a Schlage lock from a door knob, you will need a key gauge from a rekeying kit. To rekey a Schlage lock, you must disassemble the lock and remove the cylinder to gain access to the pins. The Schlage rekeying kits makes this an easy do-it-yourself project.

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  1. Insert the key that fits the lock and turn the key 90 degrees clockwise (3 o'clock position). Depress the catch button on the door knob stem using the front tab on the key gauge from the Schlage re-keying kit. The catch is a small metal button on the stem of the door knob. With the catch depressed, pull the knob off the stem.

  2. Turn the key counterclockwise 90 degrees (12 o'clock position) and then pull out the key. Let the cylinder drop inside the knob until the keyway (where you insert the key) is slightly below the opening in the front of the knob and on an angle. Use your fingers to push the cylinder through the knob and out the back. The cylinder cap will depress as you push to fit through the opening.

  3. Use the "U" shape on the key gauge (included in the re-keying kit) to force the C clip (retaining clip) off the end of the cylinder. Insert the new key into the keyway and turn it 90 degrees clockwise (3 o'clock position).

  4. Insert the plug follower (plastic rod included in the re-keying kit) into the rear of the cylinder and force the keyway out the front. If you are re-keying, keep the plug follower in place to hold the top pins and springs in place.

  5. Roll the cylinder over and let the bottom pins fall out. Insert new bottom pins from the re-keying kit into the cylinder. The pins must be flush with the cylinder. Remove any pin that is not flush and replace it with a different size pin.

  6. Push the cylinder back into the plug and force the plug follower out the back end. Install the C clip by forcing it onto the cylinder. Remove the key by returning it to the 12 o'clock position and pulling it out.

  7. Press down on the cap on top of the cylinder until it will easily fit back into the knob. Align the cap with the slot inside the knob sleeve and drive the cylinder into the knob. Insert the new key and turn it 90 degrees (3 o'clock position).

  8. Line up the catch button with the corresponding slot on the shank and depress the button with the key gauge front tap. Push the knob onto the shank. Turn the key 90 degrees counterclockwise (12 o'clock position) and pull the key out.

  9. Tip

    Tweezers will make inserting the pins into the cylinder plug much easier to accomplish. These instructions are for a Schlage door knob or a lever handle style locks.


    Cover the tabletop or work area with a towel to keep parts from rolling on the floor and disappearing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Current Schlage lock key
  • Schlage rekeying kit.

About the Author

Wendy Adams has been a Web designer, content writer and blogger since 1998. Her love for writing began in high school and continued with a life of personal writing, content writing, blogging, commentary and short articles. Her work appears on Demand Studios, Text Broker, Associated Content and on client websites and numerous social network sites.

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