Do you have to jiggle your key to get it to work?
Do you need to pull it slightly out of the lock before it will turn?
It may be time to get a duplicate key cut. Here are three “key” factors to consider when getting a new key:
The Correct Key Blank
Make sure the correct key blank is used. For residential keys, selecting the correct blank is typically easy. In the photo at the top right of this collage, the Ilco key with the blue plastic insert, shows rounded cuts and years of wear. Keys are usually made out of brass or a nickel brass mixture. The pins inside the lock, for the most part, are also made out of brass. As the key goes into the lock, over the years, the pins and keys do wear down. However, the old key is still easily identifiable as a Schlage C lookalike.
Tim Lankford, the lock tech shown in the top left photo, could have cut a new key on a matching “lookalike” blank, but he chose to use a Schlage original brass key blank to assure accuracy. Anderson Lock stocks about a million keyblanks.
Carefully Calibrated Key Machines
Tim also could have cut the key on the semi-automatic key machine he is operating in the photo. Anderson Lock keeps over a dozen key machines carefully calibrated, and if cutting wheels become dulled, they are changed to maintain flawless cuts. Many of our machines are computerized for increased elimination of human error. Our lock techs cut thousands of keys each week. Key “kiosks” in “big box” stores, and key cutting services in hardware stores probably work well when they are new, but unless they are maintained, they are not reliable over time. We actually have a “cross reference chart” to use to identify discount store keys for all the customers who come to us saying that their “new keys don’t work.” In addition, our well-trained techs are friendly and efficient. Yes, our top quality may cost more, but your time is valuable, too, and we cut keys right the first time.
Don’t Make a Copy of a Copy of a Copy
How accurate is the key that needs to be copied? When keys are worn down, they should be decoded before copies are cut. The key gage shown in the center right hand photo was used to determine the depths of the original cuts.
After decoding the key, Tim chose to use the “Blue Punch” key clipper, shown in the two bottom right photos. He moved the guide to choose the cut depth, then clipped the key, one cut at a time. This standard locksmith machine is easy to use, accurate and dependable.
Unlike the “big box” stores, we are not “always open.” That’s why we remind our customers to “Get an extra key before it is needed!”