About Westminster Locksmith


Locksmith's Tools: How keys are cut

Everybody has to start somewhere, even big businesses such as Westminster Locksmith. When the business, still called Westminster Locksmith, emerged in the 1960's, the mechanical key cutters we see used everywhere today didn't exist, so the Westminster Locksmith locksmiths had to make copies of the keys the hard way, using a crafted blank key that will fit in the lock, a set of vice grip pliers (or just a plain vice grip), rat-tail and pinpin files (Swiss cut #4 variety) and good eyesight to depend upon. A steady hand definitely helps and let us not forget the most important part: patience.


This technique is still used today by many employees at Westminster Locksmith, just not as often. It is still an accurate an inexpensive way to make an almost identical, working key for a specific lock. Master keys, however, cannot be made this way. A good locksmith, whether they work for Westminster Locksmith or not should be able to master this technique quickly.


First, the Westminster Locksmith would have to clip the key on the vice grip and file the top of the key, the part that comes into contact with the pins in the lock. Next the Westminster Locksmith will put the key into the lock it is intended for use in and jiggle it up and down, leaving scratches on the key being worked on as markers, as to know where to file later on. This is pretty clever, and this was adapted and shared with other locksmith's at Westminster Locksmith and eventually disclosed to other locksmith's, as it is a good technique to know. It was never patented.


Next the locksmith from Westminster Locksmith must make 4 tiny swipes with the rat-tail file, barely filing anything off, and following the scratches left from jiggling the key in the lock. This takes the Westminster Locksmith precision and practice to get it exactly right. A lot of keys were wasted in learning this technique. The next step is for the Westminster Locksmith to repeat until the key unlocks the door. It is good for car doors and wafer locks.


A good locksmith, usually an older man, can do this in 15 minutes, but for the average locksmith, even the ones at Westminster Locksmith, can take up to 90 minutes to duplicate the key. It is not an exact duplicate, but it gets the job done. It is intended for making new lock and key combinations.