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Home arrow News/Info arrow News arrow Layman's Guide to some common Locksmithing & Security Terms:
Layman's Guide to some common Locksmithing & Security Terms:

Blade of Key
- The blade of a key is that portion of the key that inserts into the keyhole, the part that sometimes breaks off inside the lock.  Locksmiths can usually remove the broken part and reconstruct the key.

Bow of Key
- The bow of a key is that portion of the key that does not insert into the keyhole, the part that is held onto and which often has identifying information on it.  Sometimes a code number is stamped on the bow of a key.  A Security Professional can make a key from the code number.  Therefore, it's a good practice to keep a written record of the information on the bows of your keys, especially car keys.  If you lost your car keys you could present the code number to a Locksmith.  Upon properly verifying your ownership of the car (usually requiring registration papers and drivers license), the Locksmith could make you a key from the code number.

Codes, Keys by
- Often times keys can be made by a Locksmith from the code number of a lock.  This is common with vehicles, padlocks, filing cabinets, etc.  Requiring proof of ownership before cutting a key by code is a standard procedure used by Security Professionals to safeguard security.  Additional requirements for car ignition keys may be mandated by State law (registration, driver's license, etc.).

Combination
- A sequence of numbers, along with corresponding directions of rotation (clockwise, counter-clockwise) and iterations (frequency with which each number of the sequence is dialed).  If you have the sequence of numbers for a combination but have forgotten the pattern of rotations and iterations, you can contact your local Security Professional for directions.  Requiring proof of ownership before dispensing these directions is a standard procedure used to safeguard security.

Combination Lock
- A lock which is operated by dialing (rotating a numbered dial) the correct combination.  Digital locks, where a sequence of numbers on a keypad are pressed are also considered combination locks.

Garage Door Remote Control Units
- Never leave garage door remotes in auto!!!! Thieves love to break into cars, particularly at movie theater lots, steal the remote and vehicle registration, go to the home, back a van up to the garage, then spend the next two hours emptying the valuables from the house.  Additionally, a quality deadlock and deadbolt are strongly recommended for the door leading from the garage into the house.

Key Lock
- A lock which requires a key to operate, as contrasted to a combination lock.

Keyed Alike
- Locks are said to be keyed-alike (KA) when one and only one key operates all of them.  This is in contrast to locks that are keyed-different (KD) and not the same as locks that are Master-Keyed.

Keyed Different
- Locks in a group of locks that are "keyed-different" each require their own individual keys to operate.  No individual key will operate more than one lock in the group.

Keyway
- The configuration of grooves, millings, along the blade of a key.  Just as you "can't put a square peg in a round hole", neither can you put any old key into any lock.  The keyway of the key must coincide with the keyway of the lock.  Since a Master-key must enter all the locks of a Master-keyed group of locks, all the locks in the group must have keyways compatible with the Master-key.

Lost Keys
- Lost keys are one of those facts of life that make things, well - interesting.  If the keys were lost near your residence or automobile, or if there was identifying information on your key-ring, then you should definitely have your locks ReKeyed by a Security Professional.  If those were the last existing copies of your keys, then, after properly pounding your head against the wall and asking yourself, why you put off getting duplicates of those keys made, relax.  Your local Security Professional can generate new keys for you out of thin air, and Re-key your locks at the same time if necessary.It is not necessary to buy new locks.

Master Key
- A Master Key is a key that is designed to operate all the locks in a specific group of locks.  It is a myth that there exists a particular Master Key that will open all locks.  In order to Master-key a group of locks the locks must all be made by the same manufacturer or at least have interchangeable Keyways.

Master
- Keyed - In a group of locks that are Master-keyed (MK) each lock is operable by both its own individual key and the Master-Key.  Each individual key operates its own lock only.  The Master-Key operates all the locks in the group.  This is the simplest type of Master-Keyed set-up.  Other intricate systems are also possible using sub-Masters, Grand-Masters, etc. 

Padlock
- Combinations - If you've forgotten the combination of a combination-type padlock you can contact your local Locksmith.  Most Locksmiths have code books and for a nominal charge will provide you with the combination.  Requiring proof of ownership before providing the combination is a standard procedure used by Locksmiths to safeguard security.  If your padlock has the code number on it, make a written record of it and then obliterate the code markings.  This prevents someone else from obtaining the combination to your lock or from making a key, if your padlock is of the type that uses a key.

Rekeying a lock
- Rekeying (changing) a lock is the process of replacing the tumblers (pins, pin tumblers) of a lock cylinder with other tumblers of different sizes.  The lock will then require a different key to operate.  The new key will coincide with the new tumblers and the old key will no longer work.  In other words, it is not necessary to buy new locks. Re-keying locks is something that should be done if you have moved into a new residence or lost a set of keys.  It is a good practice NOT to have any identifying information on your key ring, especially your address or phone number.

Automobile locks can be Re-keyed as well as regular door locks.  Re-keying locks is usually significantly less expensive than replacing locks.

Skeleton Key
- An old-fashioned key used in warded locks.  While it is true that 3 or 4 basic configurations will operate a large number of warded type locks, there is none the less a great variety of this type of key.  Some warded locks are very intricate and are used in institutional facilities.  It is a myth that there exists a particular skeleton key that will open all locks. 

Tumblers
- are those parts inside a lock (key lock or safe lock) that have to be aligned to precise positions in order for the lock to operate.  With a key lock, the tumblers are aligned by using the correct key.  In a safe lock the tumblers are aligned by dialing the correct combination.

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