Can I Get a Key Cut for a Lock Without the Key?

Checking with a local locksmith is the best way to find out if they can duplicate a replacement key for you. If the model of lock you have does not have any replacement keys available, you may need to purchase a new lock. The keys are cut using a machine called a key duplicator. This machine has two screws on either side, one with the original wrench and one with the blank wrench.

The alignment tool, which is a piece of metal that is at the same height as the blade, ensures that the keys are aligned correctly. Tim Lankford, the lock technician pictured above on the left, could have engraved a new key into a matching “blanket”, but he chose to use an original Schlage brass key to ensure accuracy. There are many reasons why someone might need to get a key cut for a lock without the key. It could be for an emergency situation where someone needs to give a family member access to their house.

It could also be for someone who collects old skeleton-shaped keys or lives in an old house with interior locks that still use skeleton-like keys. If there is no risk that the lost key matches the one in the house, it will be much cheaper to decode the cylinder of a single lock to make a new one, which fits all existing locks, than to change the key to all those locks with a new one. Self-service key cutting kiosks are becoming increasingly popular in large chains and hardware stores, but these machines may not always be reliable over time. If you only have one set of keys, it may be wise to visit a locksmith so they can prepare a replacement set of keys for you.

Key codes may be available on the lock cylinder itself, on a label or other document attached to the product where the cylinder is located, or, in the case of a car, somewhere on the vehicle body. This will work with many different styles of locks, but you will need to figure out what free space the lock takes up. Keys are usually made of brass or a mixture of nickel and brass, and the pins on a lock are also made of brass. If you still have a physical key, you should be able to duplicate it at your local hardware store or locksmith.

Ashlee Treola
Ashlee Treola

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