A:You need an easy to remember four digit
code that is difficult to guess.Never start with “19” or “20” as these are too often used.
Pick two easy to remember four
digit codes.Use the last two digits
of each for your alarm code.
Q:How do I tell if my lock works?
A:A deadbolt lock works to keep intruders
out of your home and business.To
ensure that your deadbolts are in good working order examine them for these
1.Check with a ruler that the bolt comes
out of the door one inch (1”).If it
only protrudes ½” then it was installed wrong or is out of date.
2.Ensure that the collar on the outside of
the door rotates.Use your hand to
spin the collar.If it does not spin
the lock may have been installed too tightly.
3.Make sure that your bolt deadlocks.This means that when the bolt is extended
you cannot push it back into the door with your finger.
4.Make sure the hole in the frame (the
strike) is deep enough for the bolt to fully extend.
5.Check normal operation.If something feels like it is about to
break it will.Call a locksmith to
repair or replace the lock right away.Waiting until it does break will only cost you more.
Q:Why do you recommend Mul-T-Lock products?
A:When I became a locksmith I researched
and compared the popular High Security lines available.Mul-T-Lock is the only product line that
I found to be superior.To be
specific, I found Mul-T-Lock to be in significantly better than similar
products in these ways:
1.Pick Resistance – 10 pins
2.Drill Resistance – Steel
inserts and stainless steel pins
3.Key Control – cannot be
copied on a standard machine
4.Simple – No special
training needed.Uses standard
all locksmiths use
5.Cylinder Line – Huge
selection of retrofit products
b)3-in-1 feature – users can rekey their
should I upgrade my locks?
A:Most locks in use today can be opened
with hand tools or more disturbing your key can be copied for $2.
Crime is high in Toronto.Burglars look
for easy access to steal your valuables.Even when we catch these people and they admit their guilt they only
spend a few months in jail.When
they get out they break into our homes and businesses again.
questions from Alt.Locksmithing
Q.How can I get keys stamped "DO NOT
A.Some locksmiths will take the Nike
approach and "Just Do It".Some will even stamp _"DO NOT DUPLICATE"_ on the copy for
you.Many key-cutting clerks don't
Do Skeleton Keys Exist?
A."Skeleton Keys" are keys ground
to avoid the wards in warded locks.There is no analog with modern pin tumbler locks.Master keys may
a large set of locks, but this is designed in when the locks are 'pinned'
with master pins.
Should I bother with high security ("pick proof") locks and other
security enhancements for my home?
Why not?If you are installing
locks, the better quality ones are not much more expensive, and are
physically more secure (e.g., have
inserts to protect against drilling.)However, note that protection against picking doesn't add a large
amount to your security
burglars almost always go the brute force route.Regardless, you should have a deadbolt,
and check your window security.
An excellent project is to do a security
survey of your own premises.Look at
the entire problem - consider lighting and visibility,
well as the locks, doors and windows.Ask your insurance agent, you may be eligible for a premium
reduction if you make a few changes in
home such as a) adding deadbolt locks, andb) installing smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Q.What is the "shear line"?
A.Visualize a door lock - there is a fixed
block (the lock body or cylinder) of metal with a cylindrical hole in it -
the axis of this
is horizontal.It is filled with a
"plug" which is the part which turns with your key - and
something attached to the rear of the plug actuates the latch/bolt when you
turn the plug with the key.There
are some small vertical holes drilled in both the plug and the fixed block
so they match up - and they are in a straight line which is the same line
as the key.Each hole (pin chamber)
is filled with (at least) two pins (small cylindrical pieces of
- except that the portion of the bottom pin which touches the key is
pointed) but the pins are of varying length, and there is a spring at the top
of the chamber so that the pins are pushed away by the spring.The bottom pin is short enough so that it
will be pushed completely down within the plug and the top pin (imagining
right now there are just two pins - extra ones are only used for master keying)
goes from inside the top block to inside the plug.
the plug can't turn, because in each pin chamber there will be a pin
blocking the "shear" line - the line where the pin chamber would
"shear" apart when the plug turned.
You put your key in - and the different
heights on the key are made to "complement" the different lengths
of the bottom pin so that all of the bottom pins are raised up just to the
"shear line" between the plug and the fixed block part of the
lock.Then the key can turn the plug
around its axis and actuate whatever
mechanisms are inside.
Picking a lock is a matter of raising
the pins to the shear line, but without the key.
What is "impressioning"?
A.Impressioning is a technique for opening
a lock by making a key out of a key blank for the lock.The blank is filed to fit; the place and
amount of filing depends upon small marks left on the key blank by the pin
advantage of impressioning for opening a lock is that it creates a key for
that lock.But the process is slow
and requires a fair amount of skill.With expert skill levels, the process is considerably faster.
Seeking information about changing your locks or making keys?
A short Glossary from Alt.Locksmithing
A key that has not
yet been cut to fit a lock.
A removable cylinder and plug, used in a
interchangeable core system.
core key (sometimes control key)
A key which is used
to remove a core.
The part of the lock in which the the pins
are set and which contains the plug.
The notches cut in the key to make it fit
follower (plug follower)
This is a cylindrical object of the same
outer diameter as the plug (there are various diameters, often about
1/2") which is used to push out or follow the plug when the plug is to
be removed. This retains the top pins and springs in the lock body.
(short answer) The slot into which the key
(long answer) Refers to (a) the size and
shape of the (cross-section of the) key, and (b) the opening in the lock which
is shaped to admit the key and to keep out most keys of different sizes and
shapes. Whether the keyway can be patented by the lock manufacturer as a
wayto prevent others from
manufacturing compatible key blanks and therefore to restrict access is open
to dispute. Recent court cases make it doubtful that the simple design is
patentable, but a keyway design which is involved in the patented method of
operation of a lock may have patent protection.
A key which opens a
group of locks designed to match it.
The pins in the lock
which are moved to the shear line by the key.
The tubular hole in which pins and a
The part of the lock which the key is
inserted and is rotated by the key.
A lock part located
at the 'side' of the plug and fitting into longitudinal grooves in both the
plug and the lock body. This keeps the plug from turning until the sidebar
is retracted into the plug. Retraction is blocked until the correct key (or
picking) moves the pins or other tumblers to positions which cease to block
the retraction or produce some other action allowing the retraction. A sidebar
can add additional positioning beyond the usual "shear line" and
so can make picking more difficult. A number of locks use a sidebar to
GM's Vehicle Anti-Theft System which uses
a resistor in the key shank in addition to the cuts on the key.
Used in locks which are less expensive
than pin tumbler locks. They behave somewhat similarly.
A lock using wards to
keep an incorrect key from entering the key hole and turning.
about changing your locks or making new keys?