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Key Blank Book | What Happened?

You might be wondering what has happened to the Ilco Key Blank Directory. If you've been noticing, you cannot purchase it anymore. If you work with locks and keys, this directory is essential because it shows you what key blanks are available, but it also helps you line up the profiles to make sure that the key you think is it is. So, I wanted to know what's going on with the key blank directory? And so, I had a great conversation with Brandi over at Ilco that I'm excited to share with you. Enjoy.


PJ: Brandi, thank you for coming on here today. If you could let everybody know what your title is over there at Ilco.

Brandi: Happy day! I'm Brandy; I'm the keys product manager at Ilco. I handle all commercial and residential keys, all of the payment keys. Anything that's going out to the aftermarket that's not automotive.

PJ: Okay, so non-automotive keys, that's what you do.

Brandi: That's it.

PJ: Well, I'm kind of curious, like how much key stuff did you know before you started working at Ilco?

Brandi: Before I started working at Ilco, I knew that I needed a key to get in my house and start my car, and that's pretty much it. When I first came to Ilco, I was working out in the maintenance department. So, I was out on the plant floor and saw all the keys being made and the process and everything, so before I came out of here to be the Keys Product Manager, I did work around the keys and knew a lot more about them. It's crazy when you're not in this industry and think about how the key is made. You think it's a simple process, or they stamp it out on the machine, and it's finished, and it was amazing coming in here to see all the procedures and all the operations that go into just making a simple house key.

PJ: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, I still haven't seen the process, but I'm sure one day I will, and I'll be like, Wow! A lot goes into just one key here.

Brandi: Yeah, for sure, you need to come out and take a tour of the plant sometimes.


PJ: Absolutely. Well, I wanted to bring you on because I wanted to talk about this. This is the Ilco Key Blank Directory, and I believe it's the 12th edition.


Brandi: Yep.

PJ: And there's a question that we get asked a lot. PJ, why can't I buy this directory anymore? And so I want to, like, pass that question on to you and say, Hey, Brandi, I'm curious, why can't CLK buy this key blank directory right now?

Brandi:  Okay, so that's what the different key point directory was published back in 2010. I believe so many years have gone through the same book, we've had a ton of keys that have been discontinued, we have a ton of keys that have been added, and it's really to the point now where we have to make a new key like directory, an updated version of it, get all the old stuff out, get the new stuff in. However, as you know, as fast as technology changes, when this 12th edition book was made, the software that was used to create this book is no longer there. Hence, at this point, when we said okay, it's time to make a new one, and it was kind of a start from the scratch thing, and when the software no longer being there for us to send out to a printer, we're not able to continue printing the books, and ultimately, that's the reason that you can't still buy them. When we did the initial print, we did another print of a few 10s of 1000s of books. Several years later, that was the last printing of it, and when they were gone, they just were gone.

PJ: Okay, yeah, so they're gone. So this was made in 2010, then.

Brandi: Yes

PJ: And of course, but in the last decade, many keys have been added, and sure some have, you know, as you said, were discontinued, and so now we're just waiting for the new version to be released.

Brandi: Yup.

PJ: Okay

Brandi: Yup, and we are actively working on it. We are actively working on it.

PJ: Actively working on it, and now, correct me if I'm wrong, but like, redoing and updating this directory, this was like your project?

Brandi: Yeah.

PJ: Pretty fun.

Brandi: Yeah. Fun has an interesting word to use. Yeah, it has been, and I tell you one of the good things about it, it is like, I mean, I use this book almost daily anyway. Still, having to go through this book. Literally, key for key, looking at it, I mean, it's even increased my knowledge of what we offer and what we don't have anymore. They're even because it's been so long, there are some keys that we added since 2010, and have already discontinued them, so I mean, it's definitely, it's a long process and a lot of work that goes into it, but we're happy to do it, and I'll be very excited for us to be able to get this out to everyone, because I know that you know, like that I use it daily, you probably use it pretty frequently that a lot of our locksmiths, they use it and depend on it, so I'm looking forward to having it out there.

PJ: Yeah. It's interesting. Honestly, I have always kept one at my house with this book for me for years. I would go through and study the key blank profiles. Like no joke. I mean, I'm sure my wife, if I would ask her, she'd be like PJ, why do you like profiles so much, but I was always so frustrated when you have to try to like I help a customer identify a key, and it's like, man, I know, like that profile is so familiar to me. I know what it is, so constantly studying it helped me start memorizing different keyway profiles. Now, when it comes to this book, like, probably, it's the most used book in the entire key blank industry. A lot of people refer to it as like the Key Blank Bible.

Brandi: Right.


PJ: And it's quite the project, but I have a few questions about the behind-the-scenes a little bit like, what kind of goes into this book?

Brandi: Okay.

PJ: So when putting all the keys in the book, is there like a formula that gets used as far as like....does every key that Ilco makes get put into this book, or is there a certain amount you have to sell for it to make it or like, I'm curious as to what do you get put in here?

Brandi: Okay, yeah, that's an excellent question. So we go through our very massive list of every key blanks that we have out there, so you know, whether it's if we even look at KW1s. We have different categories of KW1s and different finishes of KW1s, and you know, we have painted and nickel silver, nickel plate, brass, all of it. So obviously, there's not necessarily a need to put every single one of those into the book, but we're going to put one to make sure that we have the profile in there, the most known key bow shape, and everything in there. We try to include anything offered to the aftermarket; that's an active SKU. So, we try to include it in the key blank directory so that any profile we offer actively is not discontinued or in jeopardy of being suspended due to such a low volume.



PJ: Okay. Now in the Table of Contents here, it has a vehicle key at the very beginning. Now, when I look through it, all I see is essentially Metal Head and plastic head keys, and I'm kind of curious like is the new edition, now ten years ago, a lot has changed in the automotive key blank world? And in the new edition, what will be included in the automotive section?

Brandi: So in the new automotive section, we'll have all the existing things, like he said, all of the metal head keys, the general plastic head keys, any of our transponder keys will be in there. The big addition for the automotive section will be all of the look-alike, or most, including the latest MD that was just released to be a significant new section for our book.


PJ: Really? So those keys are going to be in here.

Brandi: They're going to be in here. Yep.

PJ: Wow! I'm shocked. This brings up another question that I didn't plan to ask, but I want to now, which is, at some point, do you guys worry about the book's thickness?

Brandi: You know, I don't think that adding those at this point is going to make the book any thicker because they're going through it; there's so many that are being taken out. Some have been discontinued. You know, it's possible even with adding the new automotive stuff, the new look like or most of the overall thickness of the book, may go down. The more difficult thing about it is mainly the look-alike stuff, the automotive stuff. There are so many new things constantly being introduced, so, you know, essentially as soon as we release this thing, and then there's, some new look-alike remotes come out or some new keys come out, then already the book is, I guess you could say outdated. Still, we'll have an outstanding practice on the place to make sure that we're keeping up with any additions. Sending out our key news for any extras and so that when we, in the future, we'll do another reprint, which I hope, will not be ten years from now, we'll be able to make sure we're adding all of those things in here quickly.


PJ: Okay. Very cool. So I guess the big question that I want to leave you on here is, when could we expect a new edition out?

Brandi: We will have a new edition out, a new printed edition out in the next calendar year. In the first half of the following calendar year, I would say it's my goal; I hope to be able definitely before the next ALOA show to have these out there and share them with as many people as possible. I don't have an exact date. I can't even pin it down right now to the same month, but it will be in the first half of the following year.


PJ: Okay. Very cool. Well, you know, I look forward to seeing it. And I know everyone else does as well. So when it comes to its availability, there are three options right now. There's this printed version, and there is a CD ROM version and the free PDF downloads on your website. Is that the same format you guys plan to do with the newest edition when it comes out?

Brandi: We'll have the PDF download available on the website, and we'll have the printed edition. I'm not sure if we'll have the CD ROM version. Today, I don't see there being much of a need for a CD of the book, because really, you can go to the website and download it and print it out that way compared to plugging in a CD, and I don't know how many computers you may still have with a CD ROM, but none of mine do. None of my kids do, so the need for it isn't there like it used to be.

PJ: So true. I know; I don't have one either. We have to use a little plug-in adapter.

Brandi: Yeah, right.

PJ: Very funny, that's good. Well, Brandi, thank you so much for coming on and chatting about the directory. It's one of those things that I know you deal with every day as part of what you do over there at Ilco, but everybody will be happy to hear this information, and I think we're all looking forward to the new edition. I know I'll be getting some weird looks at my house for my wife and kids wondering why I'm studying it.

Brandi: Yeah, they'll wonder why you're so excited over a new key book for sure.

PJ: Yeah. From a technical drawing key book. Good stuff, Brandi. Thank you once again, and thank you in the past, everybody, I don't know how much I talked about this earlier, but you helped me when I was getting a lot of the information, the history about Ilco. We had a zoom or two calls where we talked about it, and thank you once again for that to help put that together.

Brandi: Oh, yeah, for sure. Thank you for having me.

PJ: Good, Brandi. All right. Well, I'm sure we'll talk soon. Thank you.

Brandi: All right. Bye PJ!

There you have it. That's the latest on the Ilco Key Blank Directory, but I'd love to know your thoughts on the key blank directory. Make sure to leave a comment on our video and include the #LockBoss to automatically get entered in to win one of five free prizes we give away every week on YouTube. Thank you, and we'll see you next time.

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