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The Lang's Locks Blog

How Does a Locksmith Make a Key From a Lock?

If you’ve lost your only key, you’ll need to hire an experienced locksmith to make you a new set. But how do they do this using only a lock? We can explain it in just three steps

New Key Made

1. Use the Key Code

To make a new key, a locksmith will usually refer to the key code your lock comes with. The unique “bitting code” provides a map of the key’s contours, as it translates to particular settings on the professional’s code machine. However, the method only works if you’ve kept the key code card. If not, they can sometimes access the bitting code by determining the make and model number of the lock. They would then contact the company to request the code.

 2. Take a Lock Impression

If they can’t figure out the key code or there’s an emergency, a locksmith can take an impression of the lock to create a new key. The process is quicker, as they can complete the job without having to disassemble anything. First, they insert a blank key into the lock and turn it several times to allow the pins of the locking mechanism to bind with the key. After it’s marked, the locksmith will file it down until it works smoothly.

3. Disassemble the Lock

When a professional can’t fashion a key from the lock’s key code or get a working impression of it, they’ll take it apart and use the height of the pins as a reference point to create the new key. The process requires a great deal of skill and tact, as the lock must be dismantled properly so as not to damage its components. Otherwise, they won’t be able to fashion a working key from it.