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Key Cutting

Key duplication is a delicate process that requires understanding different key designs and their respective functionalities. Each type, from residential to automotive keys, has its own set of complexities. As your local expert key cutting service in Portsmouth, we’re here to help.

1. Household Keys

Cylinder Keys
Cylinder keys are the most common type of key used for residential properties. They operate standard pin tumbler locks and are characterised by their unique, jagged edges. If you need a spare for your home, mentioning the cylinder key to your key cutting technician will ensure you get the correct duplicate.

Mortise Keys
Often found in older homes, mortise keys are used for mortise locks, where the locking mechanism is fitted inside the door. These keys are generally longer and have a more traditional appearance with a cylindrical shaft and a single, flat-edged blade.

2. Car Keys

Traditional Car Keys
The basic car key used for older vehicles doesn’t include electronic components. It’s straightforward for key cutting services to duplicate these keys using a standard key cutting machine.

Transponder Keys
Introduced in the mid-to-late 1990s, transponder keys contain a microchip in the head of the key, programmed to a specific vehicle’s engine control unit. Duplication of these keys involves cutting and programming the chip, which key cutters can handle efficiently.

Key Fobs and Remote Keys
For cars with keyless entry systems, key fobs and remote keys are standard. These are usually provided with a backup traditional key. While key cutters can assist with the mechanical key, duplicating the electronic components might require additional services.

3. High-Security Keys

Dimple Keys
Dimple keys feature small holes or dimples drilled into the body of the key, which correspond to sets of pins in the lock. These keys are harder to duplicate without specialised equipment, making them more secure. Skilled professionals have the necessary technology to replicate these high-security keys.

Tubular Keys
Also known as barrel keys, tubular keys are often used for bike locks, vending machines, and some types of laptop security cables. They have a cylindrical shape and are cut using a special machine that key services are equipped with.

4. Restricted Keys

Restricted keys are designed to be difficult to duplicate without authorisation. This can be due to their unique design, a patent protecting the key shape, or the requirement of special equipment for cutting. If you have a restricted key, you may need to verify ownership or request permission before making a duplicate.

5. Antique Keys

Antique keys are commonly used in older homes or furniture like wardrobes and cabinets. These keys can be challenging to replace due to their unique designs and materials. However, experienced locksmiths might offer custom services or direct you to a specialist in antique keys.

Choosing the Right Key Cutting Service

When choosing a locksmith service, consider the following:

  • Expertise: Ensure the locksmith is experienced in handling the type of key you need to be duplicated.
  • Equipment: Check that they have the necessary technology, especially if you require a duplicate for a high-security or electronic key.
  • Reputation: Look for online reviews or ask for recommendations to find a reputable service provider.
  • Speed and Efficiency: Consider how quickly they can produce your duplicate key, an important factor if you need it urgently.

Key Cutting FAQ

Are there any keys that cannot be duplicated?
Yes, certain types of keys cannot be duplicated due to legal or security reasons. These include keys marked as “Do Not Duplicate,” “Restricted,” or those that are part of a patented key control system. Patented keys are designed with unique mechanisms and are protected by law to prevent unauthorised copying, making them available only through specific manufacturers or authorised dealers.

Additionally, some high-security keys come with controlled distribution and duplication rights. This means duplicates can only be made by the original manufacturer or through approved service providers who can verify ownership and are authorised to create copies. This is often the case in high-security environments like government buildings, where access control is paramount.

What should I do if I need a duplicate key for an antique lock?
Antique locks can be a unique challenge due to their age, rarity, and the non-standardisation of their locks and keys. If you need a duplicate key for an antique lock, the following steps can guide you:

  1. Consult a Specialist: Look for a locksmith specialising in antique locks. These professionals typically have more experience with older mechanisms and may also have access to unique tools required for crafting duplicate keys for antique locks.
  2. Provide a Clear Description or Sample: If possible, bring the lock itself or a clear image of the lock and any existing keys to the locksmith. This can help them better understand your antique lock’s specific requirements and intricacies.
  3. Consider Creating a Cast: If a direct duplication is not possible, some locksmiths can create a cast of the keyhole and fabricate a new key based on that cast. This method is particularly useful when no original key is available.
  4. Explore Custom Fabrication Options: Some locksmiths or metalworkers can custom-fabricate a key. This process involves manually cutting and filing a blank key to fit the lock, which requires skilled craftsmanship.
  5. Preserve the Integrity of the Lock: Ensure the locksmith is aware of the need to preserve the original lock’s integrity, especially if it is part of an antique piece of furniture or a historic building. Any modifications should be reversible to maintain the antique’s value and functionality.

Contact us if you are looking for key cutting services.

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For further information about Amberley Security, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are always happy to help.