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Locksmith Tips, Keying Terms


"I got my work coat for my mobile locksmith business in two days ago. I got it just before cold weather. It is a quality coat. Thank you CLK Supplies for your many resources." - Gerald N.

So glad you got your jacket before the cold weather set it! Thanks for sending us this pic and we're happy you like your coat!


“My new lock pick lodge came in yesterday from Used it a couple times today, and couldn’t be happier that all my go-to picks are now in one place. Makes me feel like a real #lockboss 🔐 - JD Lock

I love seeing everyone's setups within the lockpick lodge with their picks. You have the little key extractors, leashes, and plug spinner popping out. That's what we were going after, something that you would find very useful and practical. We love a good pic of the Lockpick Lodge all decked out with various picks!


This awesome meme was inspired by S&M Lock & Key on a live a couple weeks back. And thanks Kylie for making it happen! It was a funny meme. I called my dad and make sure he takes a look at this thing. And he was getting a kick out of it. Probably the funny part about it is that it’s fairly true. My dad and I get along really well, but we're also father and son. We've had a few moments like that. Especially, me growing up as a teenager, he had to put up with a lot back then.


Kevin, if there's one thing I can help you with, hopefully, that is not getting in too much trouble with your wife. Hey, we're all guilty of taking tweezers or something out of our significant other's stuff every once in a while, right? We just want to make sure we don't return it with a little bit of dirt on it from lock pins or working in locks.

Something I'm going to dive into here is some nuances when it comes to keying and locks. This may serve as a review, but I’m helping you to understand when you're ordering locks and how you can help it benefit you on the job or the customer. With little information you can understand how a lock is keyed and use it to your advantage. Here is how!


At the end of part numbers, you will typically find the lock’s keying configuration.


At the very end of the first part number, you can see a KD. KD stands for Keyed Differently. So, if you ordered 10 locks, you will get 10 locks that are all keyed differently.

The one underneath it ends in 217. That means manufacturers Keyed Alike Number. So, if you were to order 10 of those, you will get 10 keys keyed to one code, which is the 217. They are keyed alike.

Why is that important and what does that mean? If you had a customer who needed 50 locks that are all keyed alike, you just want to order one that has a keyed alike number. The good part about that is in the future, if they wanted to have five or 10, you could just order that same number and you don't have to do any work.  At the same time, it can be interesting. Let's say a customer owns a bank and on one of their offices, they want all the locks keyed the same. So, you will order 217-code, and put them all on. But now, they have another location. They don't want it to be on the same code. What you can do is to order a different code for those locks and so you haven't had to rekey or touch any of that. That’s where it can come in handy with the cam locks.


They come in three different types of key. OB stands for Zero Bitted.  It almost always means that it's keyed to the lowest pin available. On a Schlage, it would be all zeros. For Kwikset, it would be all ones. My least favorite way is to either stock or buy them because it doesn't make sense that you have to do work to every cylinder if you don't need to. But the two other examples, KD which is keyed differently or KA2 which is Keyed Alike Number, can get fun and interesting. It is because if you know they’re key to like in pairs, you can when you keep those and you have them in stock and you need to do three mortise cylinders, the best thing to do is to get two of them that's already keyed up and then you just have to key one to match the three. So, if you were to buy the zero bid cylinders, you would have to key up all three to a random key of your choice whereas if you were to buy the keyed alike in pairs, then you would only have to key up one. Of course, if you're about the key differences, you'd also have to key up two of them. So, by understanding the keyed alike numbers, the keyed differently, and a zero bitted I hope that it's starting to make sense depending on the types of circumstances you find yourself in, that can be helpful.


Like camlocks, with the pad locks, you can do the same thing.  A lot of times, when someone hears “I need a bunch of locks keyed alike.” You immediately want to go to ABUS rekeyable lock where you have to manually rekey each one of them. That isn't bad because there are many use cases for that, but sometimes, those locks are going to be out of the budget of the customer. So, another option is to use this laminated steel padlock. You can order those also in keyed differently or keyed alike codes and use them to your advantage by setting up a customer on like KA8. It's just another code like the earlier example of the 217. So, being able to understand the key when you find yourself in circumstances, you can adjust accordingly.


Normal locks; there's no rule of thumb on this. However, a lot of manufacturers when it comes to their locks (deadbolts, knobs, and levers), it's always worth to ask us some questions or dig into it a little bit if you have a bigger project coming. It is because they can be keyed alike in certain numbers. For example, a lot of times deadbolts are keyed alike in pairs, kind of like a mortise cylinder. But a lot of the fun is on the knobs and levers because they come in keyed alike in pairs of 5. So, five locks already all keyed the same. These are these little things that if you understand the part number, depending on what you're going for, you can figure it out.


Yes, you can cut the blanks to whatever system you need. You can code-cut it quickly. So, you could do that with zero bitted. I prefer to think out of the box, if possible, as you already want to start getting the job done. So yeah, that is something you can do.

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