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A locksmith is a person who works with locks, keys and security systems. Locksmithing is the profession of a locksmith.
Locksmiths fix broken locks, make keys, and install security systems like alarms. In most countries locksmiths must follow a strict set of rules. In some countries locksmiths start as apprentices. In others they must get a certificate or degree after training at a school or university.
The services of a locksmith stretch further than just opening or replacing locks and can take many years to perfect the profession. Many locksmiths operate a mobile service to attend their customers on site or from a shop premises. Locksmiths will provide services for gaining entry to locked car or house or any other lock, replacing locks when a lock fails or recovering key when a key is lost or extracting snapped or broken keys from existing locks. Many locksmiths will also be specialists in gaining entry to safes and hold extensive knowledge of domestic and commercial security.
Locksmiths commonly work with schlage kwikset euro cylinders for uPVC door locks, Chubb locks and Mortice locks. Doorknobs & Deadbolts for wooden doors. Other areas that locksmiths cover include auto Locksmithing, safes and access control, these areas are specialist and require specialised training
One of the most commonly used metals that locksmiths use to make keys in Europe is Steel. It is the most predominant material found in those parts. Locksmiths in the US, Australia, and New Zealand would use brass as their primary material.
The basic pin tumbler lock alone is vulnerable to several lock picking methods and attacks, the most common ones used by criminals being lock bumping and snap guns. To combat this, many higher security cylinders incorporate the use of specialised pins known as security pins which are designed to catch in the lock cylinder if a snap gun or bump key is used.
Lock snapping is a method of forced entry that only affects certain types of cylinder lock, such as the euro cylinder which are commonly found on uPVC doors in Europe.
Lock snapping is when a force is applied to the lock cylinder, usually with a pair of mole grips / locking pliers and ripped out from the door - allowing access to the latch mechanism. It can take between 50 seconds and 2 minutes to snap the lock and gain entry.
Police in the UK have estimated that around 22 million doors throughout the country could be at risk from lock snapping.
Lock snapping is possible because the lock has a weakness where the retaining bolt passes through a thinner part of the lock. A recent development is to build a lock with a front section that snaps off the main body leaving enough lock that prevents access to the operating latch. Some designs feature more than one sacrificial section which stops the door being opened from the attacked side (even with the key), but the door can be opened from the other side. Most locks sold in the UK since 2010 have been designed to reduce the risk of this attack. You can reduce the threat of cylinder snapping by using cylinders designed to prevent the method of attack, cylinders that prevent this method of attack will meet TS007 3 standard. TS007 3 star cylinders will preferably be fitted in conjunction with a high security mechanism and handle set.
How to Become a Locksmith
Locksmiths work with locks and safes, and provide a variety of services to customers relating to these items. A locksmith may help a customer choose locks for their home or business, install locks, cut keys for locks, rekey locks, or repair malfunctioning locks and locking devices. Locksmiths also help customers who are locked out of their homes, businesses, and vehicles. Opening a lock without a key is like solving a puzzle, and locksmiths try various methods to open locks without damaging them.
The tools and products locksmiths work with range from simple locks to sophisticated locking devices and security systems. Locksmiths must be familiar with the various types of locks they may encounter in their work and stay abreast of advances in technology. They must also be comfortable using tools like lathes, grinders, and drills. Experience with carpentry and electrical work can be beneficial for locksmiths as well.
Because customers may require their assistance at any time during the day, locksmiths may work irregular hours in a variety of locations and weather conditions.
What kind of training is required to become a locksmith?
Training to become a locksmith often involves a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience. There are many locksmithing schools and training programs located across the country that offer both in-person and online courses. Associated Locksmiths of United Kingdom maintains a list of approved training programs on its website, and this can be a good place to start if you are looking for a program.
Students in a locksmithing training program take courses in topics like key identification, key making, lock installation, lock picking, residential locks, commercial locks, automotive locks, electronic access locks, home and business security systems, master key systems, safe and vault locks, and high security locks. Students who complete in-person programs often have opportunities to put their learning into practice on the tools that locksmiths use. Online programs may provide students with tools that they can use to practice at home.
To gain additional hands-on experience, many locksmiths complete an apprenticeship or work as a trainee with an experienced locksmith. Not all locksmiths are willing to take on trainees or apprentices, but many are. An apprentice may perform tasks around the office or go out into the field with an experienced locksmith.
Are there any certification or licensure requirements?
Because locksmiths are granted access to people’s homes and to sensitive security information and high-security areas, employers and clients should be able to trust that they are qualified and reliable. Many states require locksmiths to obtain a license to practice their trade, and voluntary certification can show clients that a locksmith has met high standards for training and experience.
In some states, locksmiths are required only to pass a criminal history background check, but in others, locksmiths must complete an approved training course and pass a licensing examination. Some jurisdictions also require locksmith apprentices to obtain licenses. To get an apprentice license, one may have to pass a criminal history background check. There are typically no licensing examinations to pass at this stage, but apprentice applicants must show that they are employed by a licensed locksmith.
In addition to their license, locksmiths can pursue voluntary certifications. Associated Locksmiths offers certifications for locksmiths at various levels of expertise. One typically starts by pursuing the Certified Registered Locksmith designation. With additional training and experience, locksmiths can become Certified Professional Locksmiths and Certified Master Locksmiths.
To become a Certified Registered Locksmith, one must pass an examination that measures knowledge in ten mandatory categories, which include codes and code equipment, cylinder servicing, key blank identification, key duplication, key impressioning, professional lock opening techniques, lockset functions, lockset servicing, basic master keying, and cabinet, furniture, and mailbox locks. Elective categories include topics like basic electricity, safe installation, alarms, and keyless mechanical locks.
How long does it take to become a locksmith?
It can take several months to complete a locksmith training course. Some programs take as few as two months to complete, while others take four or more. On-the-job training can take additional months or years to complete. Apprenticeships typically last two to three years.
What does a locksmith earn?
The median yearly pay for locksmiths in the UK was £27,560 in 2012. Locksmith trainees and apprentices often start out at minimum wage, and if they are productive, their salary will increase from there.
What are the job prospects?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of locksmiths will grow 7 percent between 2012 and 2020, slower than the average growth for all occupations.
Job prospects should be best for those who are offering their services in an area that is not already well-served by established locksmiths. Locksmiths who are certified may have better job prospects as well.
What are the long term career prospects for locksmiths?
As they gain experience, locksmiths can be promoted to positions with greater responsibility or move on to larger companies. Some locksmiths find success opening their own businesses.
How can I find a job as a locksmith?
If you are looking for your very first locksmithing job, you may have to start out as a trainee or apprentice. Approach established, licensed locksmiths in your area to find one who is willing to take on a trainee. If you show that you are willing to learn and work hard in all kinds of situations and conditions, you may be offered a position once your training period is over.
Locksmiths can look for work with established independent locksmiths, hardware stores, and security equipment manufacturers. Organizations with large facilities to maintain, like universities and hospitals, may also hire locksmiths and keep them on staff.
How can I learn more about becoming a locksmith?
You can learn more about becoming a locksmith by speaking to experienced locksmiths in your area. Because there is no one established path to becoming a locksmith, talk to a variety of people to see how they pursued their education and training. You can also learn more through the Associated Locksmiths website.
Few things are as important as your personal security. This goes beyond your front door, and effects every element of your life. Discover the key factors for ensuring a safe life for you and your family.
The MOST important thing YOU can do is CALL THE POLICE to report a CRIME or any SUSPICIOUS activity. You have to be the eyes of your neighborhood. And remember you can always remain a pair of anonymous eyes!
Light up your residence, lock your doors at all times, and call the Police when you see something suspicious.
For additional crime prevention tips or to arrange for a crime prevention specialist to conduct a neighborhood association or group meeting contact the UK Police Crime Prevention Unit at: 999 .
Don't Tempt a Thief:
Locks…Get the Best:
Targeting the Outside:
If Your Home Is Broken Into:
If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:
Other precautions you should take:
You may think that all locks are the same, but they aren’t. And no one knows this better than professional burglars. That’s why making sure you choose only high quality locks to protect your personal items is of utmost importance.
Restricted keys form the foundation of most Master Key systems. A key can be restricted either by patent or registered design. This prevents the manufacture of key blanks by anyone other than the original manufacturer.An even higher level of security is where the locksmith has a unique or exclusive restricted key. This means that key blanks for that particular key are not available from anyone other than the specific locksmith. This provides the ultimate in security against unapproved key duplication.
Access Control Systems
Not all Access systems are the same and London Emergency Locksmith have carefully chosen supply partners who not only provide quality and reliable products but also are configurable to our customers needs.Our experienced technical advisors work with you to establish your system criteria before matching those with the product which provides the greatest benefit. Stand-alone, electronic or mechanical locks, hard-wired or battery operated the combinations are many and varied and London Emergency Locksmith will find the right solution for you.
Anti Snap Locks
Many of our customers are concerned about the increased risk of "lock-snapping", a common method used by thieves to enter a home that has uPVC doors fitted with euro cylinders.
Don't put your home and property at risk - call our expert local locksmith engineers and fit an anti snap lock today!
Five-lever mortice deadlock
A mortice deadlock is one that requires a pocket, known as the mortice, to be cut into the door or wall into which the lock is to be fitted. The more levers a mortice lock has, the more secure it is.
Multi-point locking system
A multi-point locking system has a minimum of three locking points that all lock simultaneously by the turn of a key.
Multi-point locks are most common on uPVC doors and, if they are a main entrance, then for insurance purposes you will need a lock cylinder with at least five pins.
Rather than being morticed into a door, a nightlatch is actually mounted onto the door.
These are much less secure than mortice locks, but can be used as an additional security measure. Double-locking nightlatches are the most secure type of nightlatch as they have a keyhole on the handle inside the door so that the latch can be deadlocked from inside.
Always look for a nightlatch which conforms to British Standards to ensure a high level of security.
Euro profile locks, an example of a cylinder lock. These are commonly found on uPVC doors and commercial buildings where re-keying doors is common.
Commonly pin tumbler locks are found in a cylinder that can be easily unscrewed by a locksmith to facilitate rekeying. The first main advantage to a cylinder lock, also known as a profile cylinder lock or euro, is that the cylinder can be changed without altering the boltwork hardware. Removing the cylinder typically requires only loosening a set screw, then sliding the cylinder from the boltwork. The second is that it is usually possible to obtain, from various lock manufacturers, cylinders in different formats that can all be used with the same type of key. This allows the user to have keyed-alike, and master-keyed systems that incorporate a wide variety of different types of lock, such as nightlatches, deadbolts and roller door locks.
Typically, commercial padlocks can also be included, although these rarely have removable cylinders. Standardised types of cylinder include:
Rim mounted (also known as night latch cylinders)
Ingersoll format cylinders
There are also standardised cross-sectional profiles for lock cylinders that may vary in length - for example to suit different door thicknesses. These profiles include the europrofile (or DIN standard), the British oval profile and the Swiss profile
Some types of cylinder lock are vulnerable to an attack called lock snapping.
An electronic / digital cylinder is a locking device which operates by means of electric current. Electric locks are sometimes stand-alone with an electronic control assembly mounted directly to the lock. More often electric locks are connected to an access control system.: The advantages of an electric lock connected to an access control system include: key control, where keys can be added and removed without re-keying the lock cylinder; fine access control, where time and place are factors; and transaction logging, where activity is recorded.
Two doorknobs that can be locked from both the inside and the outside.
One type locks from the inside by turning or depressing a small button, while a key must unlock the outside knob.
Some models must be locked with a key on both the inside and outside.
In other models, only the inside knob can lock or unlock both sides of the set.
A medium security entrance-door lock.
A quality feature on entry locksets is a deadlatch.
A dead bolt, deadbolt or dead lock is a locking mechanism distinct from a spring bolt lock because a deadbolt cannot be moved to the open position except by rotating the lock cylinder with the key. The more common spring bolt lock uses a spring to hold the bolt in place, allowing retraction by applying force to the bolt itself. A deadbolt can therefore make a door more resistant to entry without the correct key .
A deadbolt is often used to complement a spring-bolt lock on an entry door to a building.
A deadlock, if it is cylinder operated, may be either single cylinder or double cylinder. A single cylinder deadlock will accept a key on one side of the lock, but is operated by a twist knob on the other side. Double cylinder locks will accept a key on both sides and therefore do not require (and often do not have) any twist knob. This prevents unwanted unlocking of the door by forced access to the interior twist knob (via a nearby window, for example). Double cylinder locks are sometimes banned from areas because they can be difficult to open from the inside and violate fire safety regulations. Some lock manufacturers also have a "lockable" knob: a key is always needed on one side (usually external), and a twist knob can be used on the other (internal), unless a button has been pressed, in which case a key is also needed on the internal side.
A variant of the standard deadbolt is the vertical deadbolt, invented. Vertical deadbolts resist jimmying, in which an intruder inserts a pry bar between the door and the jamb and attempts to pry the bolt out of the door.
Other types of deadbolts include:
Classroom Function (thumb-turn only unlocks door)
Exit Only Function (no external cylinder)
Push-button Deadbolt (mechanical or electrical)
Single Cylinder with removable thumb-turn
The double cylinder design raises a safety issue. In the event of a fire, occupants will be prevented from escaping through double-cylinder locked doors unless the correct key is used. This is often an avoidable cause of death in house fires. The risk can be mitigated by locking the deadlock only when there are no occupants inside the building, or leaving the key near the keyhole. Some fire departments suggest putting the key on a small nail or screw near the door at floor level, since the cleanest air is at floor level and you may be crawling to get to the exit, thus placing the key where it is easiest to find.
Note that single cylinder dead locks (with an unlocked twist mechanism on the inside of the door) do not have this problem, and therefore are most commonly used on fire exits. Some areas have fire safety codes that do not allow a locked exit.
Provides maximum security on a door.
Called “dead” because there are no springs to operate the bolt. It is only operated manually with a key or a thumb turn from the inside.
The bolt locks the door to the frame and helps prevent someone from prying the door open.
The throw is the length the bolt is extended from the lock housing. The industry standard is a 1” throw.
Locks are designed to fit specific size holes and backsets. Backset refers to the distance between the edge of the door and the center of the handle.
A single-cylinder deadbolt is operated with a key from the outside and with a turn button on the inside. It is used mostly with solid metal or wood doors.
A double-cylinder deadbolt is operated with a key on both the inside and outside. It is best used on a door with glass in or around them as the style prevents someone from breaking the glass, reaching in and unlocking the door.
Double-cylinder deadbolts can pose a danger during an emergency. If the key is missing or not readily available, people could be trapped inside a locked house. In some areas, codes may not permit this style of deadbolt.
Mortice (Mortise) locks
Consists of a flat, rectangular box that fits into a recess in the door from its edge. Also includes two faceplates that include the knobs and keyholes.
Available in right- or left-handed styles.
Has a pin tumbler locking mechanism in a cylinder.
Latch operates from either side except when the outside knob is locked.
Deadbolt operates by a turn of the inside knob.
A key from the outside operates both the deadbolt and latchbolt.
Used on many types of doors, from heavy entrance doors to apartment buildings and residential doors.
Mortise locks may include a non-locking sprung latch operated by a door handle. Such a lock is termed a sash lock. A simpler form without a handle or latch is termed a 'dead lock'. Dead locks are commonly used as a secure backup to a sprung non-deadlocking latch, usually a pin tumbler rim lock.
Mortice locks have historically, and still commonly do, use lever locks as a mechanism. Older locks may have used warded locks . This has led to a popular confusion between the two; the term 'mortice lock' is widely known and used, but usually in reference to lever keys. In recent years the Euro cylinder lock has become common, using a pin tumbler lock in a mortice housing.
The parts included in the typical mortise lock installation are the lock body (the part installed inside the mortise cut-out in the door); the lock trim (which may be selected from any number of designs of doorknobs , levers , handle sets and pulls); a strike plate , or a box keep, which lines the hole in the frame into which the bolt fits; and the keyed cylinder which operates the locking/unlocking function of the lock body. However, in the United Kingdom, and most other countries, mortise locks on dwellings do not use cylinders, but have lever mechanisms.
The installation of a mortise lock cannot generally be undertaken by the average homeowner since it is labor-intensive and requires a working knowledge of basic woodworking tools and methods. Many installation specialists use a mortising jig which makes precise cutting of the pocket a simple operation, but the subsequent installation of the external trim can still prove problematic if the installer is inexperienced.
Although the installation of a mortise lock actually weakens the structure of the typical timber door, it is stronger and more versatile than a bored cylindrical lock , both in external trim, and functionality. Whereas the latter mechanism lacks the architecture required for ornate and solid-cast knobs and levers, the mortise lock can accommodate a heavier return spring and a more solid internal mechanism, making its use possible. Furthermore, a mortise lock typically accepts a wide range of other manufacturers' cylinders and accessories, allowing architectural conformity with lock hardware already on site.
Mortise lock standards
There are several different standards for mortice locks in use. The most common are:
British Standard (small)
Faceplate length: 152.5mm (6 inches)
Backset:44.5mm (1¾ inches)
C/C(lever lock): 57mm (2¼ inches).
C/C(bathroom mortise lock): 57mm(2¼ inches).
Used in internal doors.
British standard (large), BS3621
Faceplate length: 176mm (7 inches).
Backset: 57mm (2¼ inches).
C/C(lever lock): 57mm (2¼ inches).
C/C(cylinder lock): 45mm (≈ 1¾ inches).
Used in entrance doors.
Note: Many insurance policies require homes to install a BS3621 lock because its 5 lever deadbolt is believed to provide increased security.
An interior lockset used inside the home in hallways or closets between rooms where privacy is not important.
Has two, non-locking knobs, one on each side of the door. Some models use levers instead of knobs.
Available in a wide variety of styles and finishes.
A lockset (alternatively lock set) is the hardware and components that make up the locking or latching mechanism that can usually be found on a door or other hinged object but can also include sliding doors and dividers. The components of a lockset can include (but are not limited to) the door handles (commonly both inside and outside), latchbolt , dead bolt , face plate, strike plate , escutcheon , thumbturn, push button, turn button, and other trim. The lockset and associated hardware typically defines a door's function and how a user could (or could not) access the two adjacent spaces defined by the opening associated with the lockset.
Three standard grades
The grade specified according to the standards indicate the security and durability of the lockset.
Commercial, highest grade security and durability.
Residential, with excellent security and durability.
Residential, minimum acceptable grade.
Two lockset mechanisms
The lockset's latching (resp., locking) mechanism may be of the mortise or cylindrical type. The mortise mechanism resides in a (usually metal) box, requiring for installation a rectangular cavity mortised into the door. The cylindrical mechanism is typically installed into the door via a cavity that can be simply bored into the door, say with a hole saw .
A lockset may be fitted with a keyable lock on inside, on outside, or not at all, the latter being known as a non-keyed lockset. If the lockset has a single keyed side, it is called a keyed, single-cylinder lockset, if both, a keyed, double-cylinder lockeset. In this aspect, the word "cylinder" refers to any type of keyed cylinder lock , rather than to the type of mechanism of the lockset.
Usually an entry set that combines a lockset with a deadbolt, the deadbolt is located just above the knob or handle. Can be a one- or two-piece unit.
Available with both single- and double-cylinder deadbolts. Styles of locksets also will vary widely.
Available in a variety of styles and finishes
Keyless Entry System
A keyless entry system is an electronic lock that controls access to a building or vehicle without using a traditional mechanical key . The term keyless entry system originally meant a lock controlled by a keypad located at or near the driver's door, that required pressing a predetermined (or self-programmed) numeric code for entry. These systems, having evolved into a hidden touch-activated keypad, are still available on certain Ford or Lincoln models.
The term remote keyless system , also called keyless entry or remote central locking, refers to a lock that uses an electronic remote control as a key which is activated by a handheld device or automatically by proximity.
Widely used in automobiles, an RKS performs the functions of a standard car key without physical contact. When within a few yards of the car, pressing a button on the remote can lock or unlock the doors, and may perform other functions. A remote keyless system can include both a remote keyless entry system , which unlocks the doors, and a remote keyless ignition system , which starts the engine.
A "dummy" knob is just a doorknob that fastens on the surface of a door or cabinet but has no internal mechanism inside the door to latch or lock it. They are typically used on cabinets or closets that you just want to open and shut and don't need to latch but that you want to have look the same as the regular doors in the room. So, you would not want to use them in a bathroom (unless you put a hook and eye lock or something inside for privacy.) A regular or "non-privacy" door lock set will just open and close and NOT lock. If you want the internal lock and pin release, you want what is called a "privacy" knob set.
A master keyed lock is a variation of the pin tumbler lock that allows the lock to be opened with two (or more) different keys. This type is often used for doorlocks in commercial buildings with multiple tenants, such as office buildings, hotels, and storage facilities. Each tenant is given a key that only unlocks his own door, called the change key, but the second key is the master key, which unlocks all the doors, and is usually kept by the building manager, so he can enter any room in the building.
In a master keyed lock, some or all of the pin stacks in the lock have three pins in them instead of two. Between the driver pin and the key pin is a third pin called the spacer pin. Thus each pin line has two shear points, one where the driver and spacer pins meet, and one where the spacer and key pins meet. So the lock will open with two keys; one aligns the first set of shear points and the other aligns the second set of shear points. The locks are manufactured so one set of shear points is unique to each lock, while the second set is identical in all the locks. A more secure type of mechanism has two separate tumblers, each opened by one key.
More complicated master-key lock systems are also made, with two or more levels of master keying, so there can be subordinate master keys that open only certain subsets of the locks, and a top-level master key that opens all the locks.
Individually keyed system
With an individually keyed system, each cylinder can be opened by its unique key.
This system allows for a number of cylinders to be operated by the same key. It is ideally suited to residential and commercial applications such as front and back doors.
A master-keyed system involves each lock having its own individual key which will not operate any other lock in the system, but where all locks can be operated by a single master-key. This is usually applied in commercial environments.
Grand master keyed
This is an extension of the master-keyed system where each lock has its own individual key and the locks are divided into 2 or more groups. Each lock group is operated by a master-key and the entire system is operated by one grand master-key. This is ideally utilized in complex commercial systems.
Common entrance suite / Maison keying
This system is widely used in apartments, office blocks and hotels. Each apartment (for example) has its own individual key which will not open the doors to any other apartments, but will open common entrance doors and communal service areas. It is often combined with a master-keyed system in which said key is kept by the landlord.