One of the very basics of locksmithing is the art of impressioning. Being able to manipulate a blank key by using pressure and movement is a skill every locksmith needs to develop to be able to quickly or, in some cases, generate a key at all. Many manufacturers have looked to produce quality locksmith tools in order to make for a speedy, professional impressioning job. Whether a technician is working from home, shop, office, or mobile unit, having quality impressioning tools can be the key to success in this area of the locksmith trade.
To start off, a quality file is an essential when impressioning locks. Every locksmith is unique when it comes to choosing a lock impressioning file. There are a variety of options to choose from when deciding on a lock file. The options vary depending on the file texture (rougher or smoother), handle style, and shape (usually round or pippin). The lock texture affects how quickly the key blade can filed away. Some technicians prefer the rougher files for a speedier job. Others enjoy a smoother file so that less material is taken away per stroke, often reducing the chance for mistake.
Handles can vary as far as the east is from the west. Things used for the handlematerial are often wood, metal, or plastic but the form it takes vary greatly. From drilled out golf balls to custom made wooden handles, this part of the file varies from locksmith to locksmith.
Lastly, the shape of the file can really be helpful for impressioning. A pippin file offers one rounded side and one side with squared off corners. This adds versatility to the file to adapt to very sharp cuts. A round file can also be beneficial. With more area of the file to use where it is rounded, the file can have a longer life, and clogging is less of an issue.
Once a technician has decided which file type to use, a tool has to be used to hold the key. A few manufacturers have designed special made impressioning handles. These tools are made to securely hold the head of the key. Many of these tools clamp down, and with a comfortable handle, the tool makes it possible to apply the needed pressure to leave marks on the key. Other technicians prefer the simplicity of locking pliers.
If you want more information on lock impressioning, please see our fitting keys by impressioning manual!