A practical problem

We want to share a gate locked with a chain. But we each want to have our own lock to lock the chain. Can we do this? If so, how?

14 comments:

  1. Sure.

    Use the locks to connect multiple short segments of chain, so that from the perspective of your own lock, the other locks are just additional links in the chain.

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  2. Cut the chain in half.

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  3. The obvious answer is to link the locks. The subtle answer is to use chains on either side of an unhinged door. The Marxist answer is to cast off your chains.

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  4. Just to clarify what I mean by "cut the chain in half" ...

    After you cut it in half, you now have two pieces of the chain. Thus, person A can use his lock to connect two ends of the chain, and person B can use his lock to connect the opposite two ends. When both locks are connected, the chain is secured, but each person can unsecure the chain from the gate without the other being present.

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    1. Doh, how did I miss that (linking locks)?

      I think it's because we tend to cut the chain at work. But that's usually because depending upon the size of a project (i.e. how many contractors need to have access), that we often have more locks to deal with. So you can't really link locks in that case.

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  5. I just learned this from my electric utility, who needed to lock my cattle gate but didn't have my key to get back in later. Bodybuilder suggests the simplest method: just lock the locks together: you each treat the other's lock as though it were just a link on the chain. And Joe, this would extend to any number of locks: they each become a link for all of the others, but a link that each lock owner can open.

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    1. Right, I understand that. In my followup comment I said that I was disappointed that I didn't catch that, but I mentioned that we often cut chain at work due to the number of locks involved. This is mostly for convenience and safety, so that everybody's lock is facing outside the gate and thus it can be opened quickly. In the case of a few locks, there's not much of an issue.

      Basically, if we were to link locks then the locks would wrap around the post (some locks would be inside the gate, others outside). If you can't fit your hand to the opposite side of the gate (as is often the case), then you're stuck with trying to twist the linked locks until yours appears. However, if somebody accidentally locked part of the gate into their lock, then you're SOL if your lock is on the backside.

      So yes, I agree that BB has the best solution.

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  6. Slightly fancier solutions: 1, 2

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    1. Those are elegant, shonk. I was worried that your links would go to mathematical models of some sort of Möbius or 4-dimensional chains.

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    2. Although I'm guessing that an actual four dimensional chain would be useless.

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  7. Why do you each want to have your own lock ? If someone uses a weak lock then everyone's security is reduced. Surely one apprriately strong lock with lots of keys would be a better solution (you would also need a rule that barred people from introducing their own lock by implementing one of the above options independently).

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    1. Well, I wasn't there to give the utility company my key, or to get their key from them.

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  8. How did they get in ?

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    1. I had left the gate unlocked for them. They had to come in several times. I told them, "Just leave it unlocked," and they responded by explaining to me how they would use their lock and my lock together.

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