Key Cutting Works: A Comprehensive Overview

Key cutting is an integral component of locksmithing, enabling locksmiths like Tony’s Locksmith Cardiff to create precise duplicates of existing keys or entirely new ones. From duplicating house keys or car spares to crafting high-security keys for access and security purposes, key cutting plays a pivotal role. In this article we’ll look at its process, tools used and techniques employed by locksmiths when creating functional yet accurate keys.

Understanding Key Cutting

Key cutting is the practice of shaping a blank key to match its original pattern or configuration. Keys come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with unique grooves, notches, and cuts that correspond with various components inside a lock; key cutting strives to recreate these features on blank keys so they operate as effectively within lock mechanisms as the originals do.

Tools of the Trade

Key cutting requires specialised tools designed to accurately cut and shape metal keys. Some key cutting essentials are:

Key Cutting Machine

Key cutting machines are essential tools in any locksmith’s toolkit, providing accurate and consistent key cutting. Equipped with precise blades and guides that enable locksmiths to craft keys with accuracy and consistency. There are various models of key cutters on the market; including manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic models suitable for different kinds of keys and cutting requirements.

Key Blanks

Key blanks are uncut keys used as the basis for key cutting, and come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate various locks and key designs. Key blanks typically made from brass, steel, or nickel silver depending on its intended use and requirements.

Callipers and Gauges

Callipers and gauges are precision measuring tools designed to determine the precise dimensions and specifications of keys, including their depth and spacing of cuts. Locksmiths rely on these devices to make sure their duplicate key matches up with its original configuration exactly.

File and Sandpaper

Locksmiths may utilise hand tools such as files and sandpaper in addition to key cutting machines to fine-tune edges and surfaces of keys for optimal fit and functionality. With these tools in hand, locksmiths can make adjustments or corrections as necessary for each key shape and profile.

Process of Key Cutting

Here is how the Key Cutting process typically goes:

Key Identification

To start off the key cutting process, the initial step must be identifying the type and design of its original key. This requires looking closely at its shape, size and any distinctive markings or features which identify its manufacturer or keyway type.

Blank Selection

Once an original key has been identified, a locksmith selects an identical blank key to ensure compatibility with its lock. Ideally, the blank should possess similar keyway profiles and dimensions to that of its counterpart to ensure compatibility.

Clamping and Alignment

For optimal key cutting results, blank keys must be securely clamped into a key cutting machine in order to maintain stability and alignment during the cutting process. Proper alignment helps ensure accurate cuts are made consistently along the length of each key.

Cutting the Key

Locksmiths use key cutting machines with precision blades to cut blank keys. These are cut to match the original, including all its grooves and notches. Adjustments may also be made as necessary to ensure each duplicate key resembles its counterpart exactly.

Quality Check

Once the cutting process is complete, each duplicate key undergoes quality control to guarantee it’s an accurate copy and will function properly. This may involve placing it inside its intended lock to test that it functions reliably.

Final Touches

Finally, a locksmith may use files or sandpaper to further refine and polish each duplicate key to standard. This step is not always necessary, but it is simply to fine tune the notches to make sure they fit perfectly.


Key cutting is an integral skill in locksmithing, enabling locksmiths to create accurate duplicate keys for customers. By understanding the cutting process, tools used and techniques employed during key cutting, locksmiths are able to craft accurate duplicates, giving customers peace of mind that their property is secure. From duplicating house keys or crafting car keys for customers, key cutting remains at the core of the locksmithing profession..

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2024-03-07 23:19:54

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