If you’re wondering “Can a locksmith make a key from a lock?”, the answer is in the affirmative.
Making a key from the lock is what locksmiths do in situations where you lose your original one and don’t have a spare at hand. Normally, in cases where the original key is misplaced, the spare key can simply be cloned as many times as required. But in situations where this is not possible, other methods have to be adopted.
In this post, we’re going to be looking at how exactly locksmiths make keys without original ones using the lock itself. There are a number of different techniques for it and we will look at them one by one.
How Can a Locksmith Make a Key from a Lock?
As far as the question of “Can a locksmith make a key from a lock?” goes, the answer is yes. But when it comes to the question of how, there are a total of three different methods. They are as follows:
- Cutting a key using the key code
- Using an impression from the lock
- Dismantling the lock
From these three methods, using a key code is the easiest, whereas dismantling the lock is the most time-taking.
Moving on, let’s look at each of these methods in detail.
1. Cutting the Key Using the Key Code
The simplest and easiest way to create a key without the original (or a spare) is to use the key code.
The key code is a series of numbers that is unique for every lock and key. Using this code, locksmiths can create a new key with the help of a special key-cutting machine.
Essentially, this machine allows them to make grooves on a key blank according to the code given on the original key or lock. The digits in the key code indicate how deep a particular groove has to be along the length of the blade. This is actually a whole process that requires a bit of learning. Don’t worry though. If you hire a professional locksmith, they will know all about how to do it properly.
Funnily enough, if you ever need to have a locksmith make a key from a picture, this is the method that you can use. You can simply take a picture of the code, and send it to the locksmith.
Where to Find the Key Code in a House Key?
In a house key, the key code is usually stamped or engraved on the head. But, since we are assuming that you don’t have the key with you (which is pretty much the reason why we’re discussing “Can a locksmith make a key from a lock?” in the first place), you can find it on the lock itself.
Just take a little peek at the key slot on the lock and see if there are any numbers written above or below it.
Where to Find the Key in a Car Key?
On a car key, there are a number of different places where you can find the key code. To begin with, you can find it the same as you would on a house key i.e., stamped or engraved on the key head. You can also find it on the lock, but getting to the lock in a car door can be a little tricky.
Other than these two places, you can also find the key code in your car’s documentation. And if you can’t find it in any of these places, you can approach your car’s dealership instead.
2. Using an Impression from the Lock
If you can’t find the code to your key, this is the other method that a professional locksmith will try to create a key for a lock.
Using an impression from the lock requires (other than a key impressioning kit) a lot of skill. Although using a code to cut keys can be done by even a rookie locksmith, the same is not the case with this method.
Here is how this process works.
- To begin with, the locksmith will have to get a key blank that matches the style of the lock.
- After getting a suitable key blank, the locksmith will have to insert it into the lock and move it side-to-side in a quick jerking motion.
- As a result of a wriggling, the lock will leave impressions on the key blank. The locksmith will then use those impressions to cut the key according to the lock.
Looking at the process itself, it’s understandable just how difficult this technique is. But, if you happen to find yourself with a lock without key, it will be worth it to hire a professional locksmith for creating a new one using this method.
Creating a key from a lock impression takes time. The locksmith will have to repeatedly insert the key into the cylinder to get the pattern right. To make things easier, the locksmith may remove the cylinder from the lock altogether and work on it without having to bend or sit in front of the door.
Germane to the question of “can a locksmith make a key from a lock?”, this method is actually the most relevant one because it involves directly using the lock as a starting point for the duplication process rather than an existing key or a spare.
Things to Remember for the Impressioning Process
There are a couple of things that you should remember when having a locksmith open a locked door with this technique.
- Firstly, always remember to hire a professional, experienced and licensed professional for creating a key using an impression from a lock. This holds extra emphasis if the key you need is for the main front door.
- Before hiring a locksmith, be sure to explain the exact details of your requirements. In other words, inform them whether you have the key code or the key code card available for the lock or not. This will help the locksmith to bring the proper gear required for the job.
3. Dismantling the Lock
This is the third and last technique that we will be listing in our “can a locksmith make a key from a lock?” post.
If the situation is such that you don’t have the key code available and the locksmith cannot use the impressioning technique as well, then you will have to dismantle the lock altogether.
Essentially, after dismantling the lock, the locksmith will be able to get the exact pattern for the key. Then, they will be able to make the cuttings according to the pattern.
This process can be long and arduous. If the lock in question happens to be locked, then it will have to be picked before it can get dismantled. Plus, the disassembling process itself requires skill, precision and a specific set of tools. And after the lock has been disassembled, it has to be put together back again, piece by piece, in exactly the same way as before.
The point of mentioning this is that whenever you want to have a key made for a car without a key, you need to hire an expert with a considerable amount of experience.
Other Solutions for a Lock Without a Key
Where possible, it is better to have a new key made for a lock since it can be the more affordable choice. But, in situations where this is not possible, there are two other solutions that you can try.
- You can have the lock re-keyed. This basically involves putting a new cylinder in place of the old one. In this method, you can retain your old lock, but just get some new keys for it.
- Or, you can have the whole lock replaced. Obviously, this will not be easy and possible in different situations e.g., when the lock in question happens to be an ornamental piece on the front door. But, if it is an old and worn-out one, then you can have it replaced with the added benefit of getting some new looks in your home.
Once again, it is worth remembering that the cost to make a key from a lock can be significantly lower than both of these alternatives.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Can a Locksmith Make a Door Key Without the Original?
Yes, a locksmith can make a door key without the original. To do this, they can either use the key code, make an impression from the lock, or take the entire lock apart to see how to make the exact cuttings.
2. How Long Does It Take for a Locksmith to Make a Key from a Lock?
Depending on the method used as well as the complexity of the lock in question, the process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 – 3 hours.
3. Can You Have a Key Made for an Existing Lock?
Yes, you can have a key made for an existing lock. You can use the key code inscribed on the lock, or you can have a locksmith create one by taking using the ‘impressioning’ method.
4. How Do You Make a Key with Just a Lock?
Professional locksmiths can make a key with just a lock by using the key code. If the key code is not provided, they can either take an impression from the lock, or they can simply disassemble it to see how the key needs to be cut.
5. Is It Cheaper to Rekey or Replace Locks?
Generally, it is cheaper to rekey a lock than to replace it. However, if the lock happens to be particularly worn-out, due to which it is very difficult for it to get rekeyed, replacing it could be the better and more affordable option.