Categories: Locksmith

Locksmith Terminologies

There are many terms locksmiths use in their trade and like many others, make perfect sense to them but those on the ‘outside’ may not know what the actual term is besides ‘doohickey’ for  what they’ve been using. Here are a few commonly used terms that will help you explain either a bit better to your locksmith when they’re working for you or understand what they’re doing for you.

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house keys locksmith perthKeys have two main parts, the Blade; the part that goes into the lock, and sometimes stays there if broken off, and the Bow which simply put is the part that you’re turning. This is usually where you’re going to find information about the key or instructions like “Do Not Duplicate” if it’s a special type of key. For all other types of keys, this is what your locksmith is going to refer to when making a duplicate. Professional locksmiths won’t make duplicates of keys stamped to not duplicate and usually have to be done only by the person/business that issued the key.

Master Key

locksmith perth master keyThe master key is usually found in businesses and issued to security, upper level management or maintenance staff. The only way a master key will open every other lock is if the same manufacturer was used for installation of the locks or have Keyways that can be switched out. A Keyway  is the series of grooves on your key and prevent someone else from using their key in your lock and vice versa. A Master Key is also often sarcastically used for describing a door breaching weapon or round used by law enforcement or military i.e. the KAC Masterkey.

Transponder Key

locksmith perth transponder keyTransponder keys were likely your introduction into the higher cost of key duplication after getting your house keys and your older car keys duplicated. That new car that has the thick headed key or even just uses a push button to start the car has advanced security features that prevent the car from being started or even disabling it if forced because of a computer chip inside the key that sends a signal to the car’s computer. Because you have to recode a new key to communicate with the car, it is going to be a little spendy to get an extra key made. Some ‘dumb’ keys can be made that will open doors and may be all you need if you lock the keys inside.

Double-Sided Key

This is a key with grooves, or Keyways, cut into both sides of the key. It makes it much harder to pick because both sides have pins that need to be manipulated by a lock picker. For added security, there are Cruciform, or four sided keys which are more durable and are harder to duplicate.

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This isn’t referring to the fantasy game with dice, it’s the abbreviation for Do Not Duplicate, usually found on Post Office box keys or keys issued by the government in addition to businesses that specifically request them. It is a passive deterrent at best depending on the locksmith’s ethics to whom the key is brought. The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) have called these “not effective security” because of that very reason.


locksmith perth rekeying An affordable option to replacing locks is rekeying. The locksmith simply disassembles the lock and changing either the wafer or tumbler configuration. This method was developed by Solomon Andrews in 1836. Andrews was a New Jersey locksmith who designed a lock with adjustable keys and tumblers so either he or the owners could rekey the lock as needed.  This actually was the predecessor of combination locks.

Locks and keys have a language all their own and hopefully this gave you some insights as to use the right terms to help your locksmith better serve your needs or just help you sound smarter at parties.


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