Archives For Key duplication

Any reputable locksmith in Belfast will tell you that having a spare key is essential – regardless of whether you’re a homeowner, business owner or car owner.

Surprisingly, so few people have a spare key – only to be left stranded when they, unfortunately, get locked out or lose their keys.

Here are the top 5 reasons you should have a spare kay for every important lock in your life.

  1. Prevent being locked out

There’s no disputing that lockouts can be extremely frustrating, but they can happen to anyone, so you should be prepared.

Although having a spare key can save you valuable time and money, it can also help in an emergency.

2.Avoid dealing with snapped keys

One of the main causes of lockouts is broken keys. It’s worth remembering that they aren’t invincible to time or the strain that’s put on them daily. Keys can easily break when they have been used over and over again.

If your key is sticking in the lock or doesn’t seem to be working as it should, be sure to take a closer look.

Having a spare will allow you to switch between multiple keys. This will reduce the risk of damage to the original key and preventing it from snapping inside the lock.

3.Save Money

Believe it or not, having a spare key can save lots of money. For starters, you needn’t worry about having to call a locksmith to come to your rescue when you’re locked out. You’ll be able to let yourself in.

You needn’t worry about missing an important meeting because your car key has snapped. You can simply pick up the spare and think about getting the original fixed (or replaced) once the meeting has finished.

Having a spare key will give you a piece of mind that you wont’t be having to spend out of hours fees either.

4.It’s more convenient

If a homeowner only has one set of keys and multiple people living under the same roof. This makes it difficult as everyone will have to depend on one person to always be there to lock and unlock doors.

Aside from this, it increases the risk of keys getting lost as so many people are sharing the one key and will likely put it down somewhere.

5.Save time

There are several reasons why you may consider a key replacement (e.g. your keys are lost, stolen or broken etc.).

Having a spare key, close at hand, is convenient for times when you lock yourself out and can decrease the amount of time it takes a locksmith to cut a new key. If the key isn’t present, we will have to disassemble the lock or resort to other measures to try and obtain the key code necessary. This can be a timely process. But, if you already have a spare key, and simply want a copy made, the key cutting process takes just a couple of minutes and will cost you a fraction of the price as less time and resources will be required.

belfast locksmiths

We use locks in a variety of places and in many different ways. Knowing which lock to choose or understanding just what a type of lock was created to do will determine its placement and use. We use locks to protect and safeguard items that are special to us such as possessions and property.

Most locks are fundamental and operate based on some very old principles of locksmiths and mechanical engagement. Knowing which is which will save you a great deal of time and confusion when deciding where to put a lock either in your home or your business.

You may also save some money when you head out to that big box store or are shopping your way around Amazon for just the right lock. Understanding how locks work is a simple process, but there will be some basic knowledge you will need.

A Regular Lock in Your Door

For the purposes of this beginning look at locks, a “regular” lock is one you will often find in your front door. These are locks that always require a key. The mechanism called into play include a bolt that moves inside a door into the frame of the door. These are called spring dead bolts.

The Main Body or Cylinder

The place where you insert the key is known as the cylinder. It is a small vertical opening in the front of the lock and usually has some irregular edges. The shape of the key matches the shape of this opening allowing only just the right key to be inserted into it. This shaping of the key is a built in security measure that confirms it is only your key and will not function in any other lock.

The Pin Tumbler

The pin tumbler is used inside cylinder locks and involves the engaging and disengaging of a set of pins. These pins are spring loaded and keep the cylinder from moving. When the key is inserted into the cylinder, the specific shape pushes the pins up toward a set of grooves. When the pins are placed into the correct groove, then the cylinder will turn, usually clockwise. When the cylinder turns, the door will open.

There is a section of the cylinder that meets with something called the “plug.” If an unusual or incorrect key is inserted into the front of the cylinder, then the pins do not match. This mismatch causes the cylinder to stay where it is and no rotation occurs. When the correct key is used, the “plug” will freely move and the door will open.

It is handy to only have a cylinder in use inside the dead bolt. If a key is lost or damaged and a lock needs to be re keyed, it can be done by simply changing the cylinder and not the whole locking mechanism. If you are a “do-it-yourself” type then this design is great for you. All you have to do is replace the cylinder!!

locksmith services Belfast

The Bolt and Latch

There is a piece of metal that extends from the door into the frame. This metal is what locks the door and keeps it secured. For our purposes, when a spring bolt is in use a spring clip is employed to propel the bolt into the door frame. When the bolt lock is unlocked the spring it compressed and therefore full of energy that can be released. When released, the energy propels the bolt forward and into a locked position.

Of course, you may also just use a complete deadbolt that can be secured by turning the key or operating a knob on one side of the door.

Tubular Pin Tumbler Locks

This type of lock is also known as the radial or circle pin tumbler lock. They work basically like the spring loaded pins, but have a circular pattern to the pins instead of pins aligned linearly. In this type of lock, the pins are pushed toward the front of the lock and this action prevents the plug from rotating. There are indentations on the key that are pushed against the pins which releases the cylinder.

The Strike Plate

In this lock, the bolt extends from within the door into the frame or wall. The bolt is extended into something called the box. The box is designed and placed in such a way as to hold the bolt, thus rendering the door immovable.

The strike plate is attached to the wall or door frame and functions as a guide for the bolt. The strike plate must be placed over the bolt hole in such a way that allows the bolt to find the hole every time. The strike plate also adds an extra dimension of stability to the entire locking mechanism and its location in the door and door frame.

The sophisticated designed locks we know about today had their start centuries ago in Egypt. Around 1848, the pin tumbler lock was created and the design has held true since then. Today, we have timed locks, electronic locks, locks operated by apps, and locks that involve the use of highly complicated software algorithms. You can feel confident when placing a spring lock or dead bolt in your home or business. They have proven their worth for years.


However, if you have many locks to replace or you simply don’t want to do it yourself, feel free to contact me here at Whether you need a recommendation regarding what kind of lock to use, replacement of one or more locks or just need to ask some questions, I am here to help.

My name is Mark and you may email me by using

Alternatively, you may call me at 078 665 22422



Key Duplication

key duplication

The process of key duplication refers to the process of creating another key based on the key on hand. The process of “cutting” refers to the actual removal of material or the shaping of material that makes up the key. “Cutting” is the main method used to create a duplicate key and is done worldwide.

Essentially, the process is a matter of placing the key on hand in a vise while adding a “blank” at the other end of a guide used to align the two keys. The blank is moved along a grinding or “cutting” wheel that is made to be an exact duplicate of the original. The new key is then deburred, scraped or sanded to remove burrs. These small pieces of the key can prevent the key from working, so they must be removed immediately. In addition, without the removal of burrs the key would have sharp edges that would cut the user. Further, these burrs could break off and foul the inside of a lock. Tumblers can be enmeshed by the shards of metal and be rendered useless.

You may find key duplication happening in hardware stores, “big box” stores, individual retailers and locksmith mobile vehicles or shops. The cost is minimal for the duplication of house, free standing buildings, and older automobiles. You may even find key duplicators online these days.

Sometimes locksmiths will use a punch machine to duplicate keys. This type of duplication is more labor intensive and requires the locksmith to be highly trained and skillful. However, the knotches made by the punch can actually be more precise and the margins/depth of the knotches will not wear as much as keys that are ground. Further, the original key is not needed for this duplication process if the placement and depth of the knotches are known beforehand. Often, large institutions prefer this method as these demensions are known throughout the property and variety of keying is kept to a minimum to prevent theft and breakins of undesirables.

Using the punch machine method requires the key being duplicated have the depth of each notch measured with a depth gauge. The key is then placed in a holder that also contains a numeric slider. This slider is adjusted to match the measurements taken by the craftsman. The lever is pressed and this cuts the knotch. When the lever is raised the key advances to the next indexed/marked position and the punch cuts the next knotch. This process is repeated until the key is completed.

A dual cutting machine is sometimes used by locksmiths and hardware people. This machine allows for the duplication of both cylinder and mortise keys. A mortise lockset is a design for doors usually where a mortise lock is used inside a mortise at the edge of the door. They are usually more classical in nature and design. A cylinder key and lock system involve pin tumbler locks inside a cylinder that can be removed by the locksmith. This is handy as the cylinder can be changed without changing the bolt or other hardware.

A sensitive area of locksmithing surrounds the category of key known as the DND or Do Not Duplicate. The key might also say “duplication prohibited.” This is a category of key designated by the manufacturer to be used as a deterrent to dissuade retail key duplicators from offering this service to the general public. This key is not suppose to be duplicated unless the person needing the key has the appropriate authorization. It is a key control system that is often overridden by stand alone key duplicators found in “big box” stores. The stand alone machine does not “read” the master key and simply reproduces whatever is inserted in the slot found at the front of the machine. In addition, some store employees will just accommodate the customer to make the sale and overlook the words “Do Not Duplicate” clearly written on the key.

Restricted keys are then the way to go! This key comes with restricted levels of sales and the distribution into the public retailers and locksmiths. They are protected by a patent. Any customer may be asked to provide identification before the locksmith will provide the duplicating service. A restricted key may also be sold with magnets, computer chips, and manufactured with a variety of metals.

Key Types

Berlin Key

Berlin Key

The Berlin key is designed with two key blades. One blade is at each end of the key. The key was designed so that the user must retrieve the key after the door is locked. This ensures the locking of the door. After the door is unlocked, the key must be pushed through the lock and retrieved on the other side of the door. This kind of design makes the retrieval of the key impossible unless the door is locked again. In 1912, Johannes Schweiger created this key and the Albert Kerfin and Co began its manufacture.



Car Key

old car key

The car key is a key to the automobile that can open/close and start the vehicle. They are usually symetrical in design and contain grooves that activate the locking mechanism. In addition, the key can open the glove compartment and the trunk. More recently, car keys are designed with coded immobilizers that prevent theft by not allowing entry without a code or starting of the engine.



Skeleton Key

skeleton key

The skeleton key may be used in several kinds of locks and is usually viewed as a master key. The sharp or serrated edge of the key is removed. It is a key that has been reduced to the essentials such as the teeth at the end that innervate and operate the tumblers of a lock.



Smart Key

smart key

A smart key is an electronic device that functions as an authorization and deterent system. It is the standard these days in new car sales and has been a significant advancement in the security of vehicles. The key is kept in the owners pocket and is used to open, close and start the vehicle. A button is pressed to unlock, another to lock. The automobile may often be started remotely using this kind of system.

This system is also handy because it can remember settings such as steering wheel position, mirror placement, climate control, seat position, and stereo preferences.



If you happen to be in a situation where you are undecided about which key to use or you need a key duplicated, contact