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Locksmith Terminology

Locksmith Terminology

1. Key: A small, usually metal device used to open locks. It is typically notched or ridged to match the lock’s mechanism.

2. Lock: A mechanical or electronic device that is used to secure something, such as a door, box, or vehicle, by preventing access without the correct key or combination.

3. Cylinder: The part of a lock where the key is inserted. It contains the pins and springs that interact with the key to allow the lock to be operated.

4. Pin Tumbler Lock: A common type of lock that uses a series of pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from turning without the correct key.

5. Master Key: A key that can open multiple locks, each with their own unique keys, within a designated system. It is often used by property managers and security personnel.

6. Keyway: The specific shape or design of the hole in a lock cylinder where the key is inserted.

7. Deadbolt: A type of lock that cannot be moved to the open position except by rotating the lock cylinder. It provides extra security compared to spring-bolt locks.

8. Rekeying: The process of changing the pins within a lock’s cylinder so that a new key is required to operate the lock. This is often done to maintain security when ownership changes or keys are lost.

9. Pick: A tool used to manipulate the pins in a lock’s cylinder, usually for the purpose of lockpicking or lock bypass.

10. Bump Key: A specially crafted key used to exploit the design of pin tumbler locks, allowing them to be easily opened with a bumping technique.

11. Key Blank: A basic, uncut key that locksmiths use to create a new key by cutting the necessary grooves and notches.

12. Impressioning: A technique used by locksmiths to create a new key for a lock by carefully observing and replicating the marks left by the original key.

13. Plug: The part of a lock cylinder that rotates when the correct key is inserted, causing the locking mechanism to disengage.

14. Warded Lock: A type of lock that uses a set of obstacles (wards) within the lock’s casing, allowing only a key with a corresponding shape to open it.

15. Key Duplication: The process of creating a copy of an existing key without altering its design.

16. Tension Wrench: A tool used in lockpicking to apply rotational pressure to the lock cylinder while manipulating the pins with a pick.

17. Combination Lock: A type of lock that is opened by entering a specific sequence of numbers or symbols, rather than using a physical key.

18. Electronic Lock: A lock that uses electronic components such as keypads, card readers, or biometric scanners to control access.

19. Master Key System: A hierarchical key system where different keys have varying levels of access, and a master key can open all locks within the system.

20. Key Control: The practice of managing and controlling the distribution and duplicat.

21. SFIC: “Small Format Interchangeable Core.” It refers to a type of lock cylinder design that is commonly used in commercial and institutional settings. The key feature of an SFIC system is its interchangeable core, which can be easily removed from the lock housing using a special control key. In summary, SFIC is a type of lock cylinder system designed for easy rekeying and core replacement in commercial and institutional settings.

22. Control Key: This key is used to remove and install the interchangeable core within the lock housing. The control key has a special set of notches or cuts that allow it to engage with the core and turn it so that it can be extracted from the lock housing. This is what enables locksmiths or authorized personnel to easily replace or rekey the core without removing the entire lock from the door.

23. Change key: This key is usually assigned to a specific individual or entity and allows them to access only the lock(s) for which the key has been created. It cannot open any other locks within the system. Change keys are often used by regular users, such as employees or tenants, to access their designated areas. The change key can be changed without disrupting the master key system.

23. Sub Master: A sub-master key is one step down from the master key. It can open a specific subset of locks within the system, but not all locks covered by the master key. Sub-master keys are often used to provide access to certain zones or departments in a building while restricting access to other areas.

24. Master Key: A master key is designed to open a certain group of locks within the system. It has more access than sub-master keys but less than the grandmaster key.

25. Grandmaster Key: This is the highest-level key in the system and can open all locks covered by the master key system, including locks opened by master keys and sub-master keys. It offers the broadest access.

26: Mortice Lock: A mortise lock is a type of locking mechanism that is commonly used in doors and furniture. It’s named after the “mortise,” which is a rectangular pocket or recess cut into the edge of a door or piece of furniture, into which the lock is fitted. Mortise locks are often found in both residential and commercial applications due to their durability and security features.

Key characteristics of a mortise lock and most locks found on the market:

  1. Lock Body: This is the main part of the lock that is inserted into the mortise cut in the door. It contains the locking mechanism, including components such as the bolt, latch, and deadbolt.

  2. Lock Cylinder: The lock cylinder is the part of the lock that the key is inserted into. It interacts with the locking mechanism to either lock or unlock the door. Mortise locks can come with different types of cylinders, including pin tumbler cylinders or lever cylinders.

  3. Bolt and Latch: Mortise locks typically have both a latch and a deadbolt. The latch is a spring-loaded bolt that keeps the door closed and engages with a strike plate on the door frame. The deadbolt is a more secure locking mechanism that extends into the door frame to prevent the door from being forced open.

  4. Keyway: The keyway refers to the specific design of the keyhole or key slot in the lock cylinder. Different lock manufacturers use different keyway designs.

  5. Strike Plate: A metal plate installed on the door frame with holes that align with the latch and deadbolt. It provides a secure point of engagement for the locking components when the door is closed.

  6. Escutcheon: The escutcheon is a decorative plate that surrounds the lock cylinder and other components on the door’s surface. It can add to the aesthetic appeal of the lock and the door.

  7. Thumbturn: Some mortise locks have a thumbturn on the inside instead of a key cylinder. This allows for easy locking and unlocking from the inside without requiring a key.

27. Cam Locks: A cam lock is a type of simple locking device that is commonly used to secure cabinets, drawers, mailboxes, and other items. It consists of a cylindrical body with a rotating metal “cam” at the end, which is operated by a key. Cam locks are relatively easy to install and use, making them popular for various applications where basic security is required.

28. Cam: The cam is a flat piece of metal that is attached to the inner end of the cylinder. When the key is turned, the cam rotates, either engaging or disengaging the locking mechanism. The cam can have different shapes, such as a straight or offset arm, depending on the application.

29. Tail Peace: A tailpiece is a component commonly found in lock mechanisms, particularly in certain types of locks like mortise locks, rim locks, and exit devices. It plays a crucial role in connecting the lock cylinder to the locking mechanism itself, allowing the key’s motion to control the locking and unlocking actions.

Here’s how the tailpiece functions:

  1. Lock Cylinder: The lock cylinder is the part of the lock where the key is inserted. It contains pins, tumblers, or other mechanisms that interact with the key to determine whether the lock should be engaged or disengaged.

  2. Tailpiece: The tailpiece is a rod or arm that extends from the back of the lock cylinder. When the key is inserted and turned, it causes the tailpiece to rotate.

  3. Locking Mechanism: The tailpiece’s rotation is connected to the locking mechanism within the lock. Depending on the type of lock, this mechanism could involve a latch, bolt, deadbolt, or other elements that control the locking or unlocking action.

  4. Unlocking: When the correct key is inserted and turned, the tailpiece rotates. This rotation in turn operates the locking mechanism, retracting the latch or bolt and allowing the door to be opened.

  5. Locking: When the key is turned in the opposite direction or removed from the lock, the tailpiece rotates back to its original position. This action re-engages the locking mechanism, securing the door in a locked position.

The tailpiece essentially acts as a bridge between the rotational motion of the key and the linear or pivoting movement required to operate the lock’s locking mechanism. It’s an essential component in ensuring that the key’s action is translated into the desired locking or unlocking outcome. Different locks and lock mechanisms may have slightly different tailpiece designs, but their overall purpose remains consistent across various types of locks.

30. Edge Cut Key:  A type of key that has its cuts or notches on the edge of the key blade, as opposed to the style of key where the cuts are on the flat surface of the key. Edge-cut keys are often used in certain types of locks, such as lever locks and some pin tumbler locks. These keys are recognizable by their distinctive appearance, with the cuts running along the long edge of the key blade.

31. Side Milled Keys: Side milled keys, also known as sidewinder keys or laser-cut keys, are a type of key that features cuts or notches along the side of the key blade, rather than on the flat surface or edge of the key. These keys are often used in higher-security locks and are known for their complexity, which makes them more difficult to duplicate without proper authorization.

32. High Security Locks: High-security locks are advanced locking systems designed to provide an elevated level of protection against unauthorized access, picking, bumping, drilling, and other methods of manipulation or forced entry. These locks are often used in applications where enhanced security is crucial, such as commercial properties, government buildings, healthcare facilities, and residential properties with valuable assets. Here are some key features and characteristics of high-security locks:

  1. Complex Keyways: High-security locks use intricate and unique keyway designs that are difficult to replicate. This reduces the risk of unauthorized key duplication.

  2. Advanced Key Design: High-security keys are often side milled or have complex key bitting patterns, making them more challenging to duplicate without proper authorization.

  3. Strong Materials: These locks are constructed using durable materials like hardened steel, reinforced strike plates, and anti-drill components to withstand physical attacks.

  4. Anti-Picking Mechanisms: High-security locks incorporate features like security pins, mushroom pins, and other anti-picking mechanisms to resist traditional lock picking.

  5. Anti-Bumping Technology: They have measures to counteract bumping, a technique used to force traditional pin tumbler locks open with a specially crafted bump key.

  6. Resistance to Drilling: High-security locks often feature hardened inserts, reinforced housings, and other anti-drill measures to prevent unauthorized access through drilling.

  7. Key Control: These locks have stringent key control measures to manage key distribution and prevent unauthorized duplication.

  8. Restricted Access: High-security locks can be integrated into master key systems, allowing different levels of access to various individuals or groups while maintaining centralized control.

  9. Electronic Enhancements: Some high-security locks incorporate electronic components, such as keyless entry systems, biometric scanners, and electronic audit trails.

  10. Certifications: Look for locks that are certified by organizations like ANSI (American National Standards Institute) or UL (Underwriters Laboratories) as meeting specific security standards.

  11. Professional Installation: Proper installation is crucial for high-security locks to function effectively. They often require the expertise of a professional locksmith to ensure correct placement and configuration.

  12. Versatility: High-security locks come in various types, including cylinder locks, deadbolts, padlocks, and more, suitable for different applications.

Remember that no lock is completely immune to all forms of attack, but high-security locks are designed to provide a much higher level of resistance and deterrence compared to standard locks. When choosing high-security locks, consider your specific security needs, the level of protection required, and the reputation of the manufacturer.

32. Key Lock: “Key lock” is a term that generally refers to a traditional lock that is operated using a physical key. In this context, a key lock is a lock mechanism that requires a specific key to be inserted and turned in order to operate the locking mechanism and secure or unlock a door, cabinet, or other object.

33. Cipher Lock: A cipher lock, also known as a combination lock, is a type of locking device that requires a specific sequence of numbers or symbols (the combination) to be entered in order to unlock and access the secured area. Cipher locks are commonly used for various applications where controlled access is required. They eliminate the need for physical keys and provide a convenient and secure way to grant entry.

Key features of a cipher lock include:

  1. Numeric Keypad: Cipher locks feature a numeric keypad where users can input the combination of numbers or symbols to unlock the device.

  2. Combination Entry: To unlock the lock, the user must enter the correct combination in the prescribed order.

  3. Security Code: The security of a cipher lock relies on the secrecy of the combination. Authorized users should be the only ones who know the correct sequence.

  4. Code Complexity: Longer and more complex combinations provide higher security levels. Avoid easily guessable combinations.

  5. Convenience: Cipher locks eliminate the need to carry physical keys, which can be lost or stolen. Authorized users only need to remember the combination.

  6. Auditing: Some advanced cipher locks offer auditing features, allowing administrators to track access events and user activity.

  7. Resettable Combinations: Depending on the lock model, administrators or users with appropriate permissions can change or reset the combination as needed.

  8. Battery Power: Many cipher locks are battery-operated, requiring periodic battery replacement or recharging.

  9. Applications: Cipher locks are commonly used in various settings, including residential entry doors, commercial buildings, educational institutions, gym lockers, and more.

  10. Mechanical : A mechanical cipher lock, also known as a mechanical combination lock, is a type of locking device that uses a predefined sequence of numbers or symbols (the combination) to operate the locking mechanism. Unlike electronic cipher locks that rely on electronic components, mechanical cipher locks use purely mechanical mechanisms to control access. These locks are often found in a variety of applications where a combination-based security solution is desired. Mechanical cipher locks only allows a single combination

Cipher locks offer a practical solution for managing access to different areas. They are well-suited for scenarios where multiple individuals need access without the need for physical keys. However, it’s important to ensure that the combination is kept confidential and changed regularly to maintain security.


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