Among their many tasks, another thing that locksmiths are highly useful for is cutting keys. This is a very beneficial service that you are likely to find yourself often needing and that can have a range of uses.
For example, it's common to use a locksmith in order to make replacement keys for those you've lost. In order to prevent yourself from being trapped outside for long periods, it's always a good idea to have at least one or two spare keys and so you should get your locksmith to copy these if you don't have them.
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Then it can be useful when you want to give someone a key, which is a great gift and a genuine sign of love and trust. But how does someone go about cutting keys, and how did locksmiths begin this practice?
Key cutting as it is known comes from the metalworking term 'cutting' which refers to 'shaping material by removing parts'. Here the same thing is done with a piece of metal to create the shape of the key by removing excess metal around the edges. This is the main form of copying keys and is something many locksmiths still provide.
To cut a key there will be two keys inserted into vices in a key cutting device. Of these keys one will be the original key that needs copying, while the other will be a 'blank' key, meaning that the blade has no grooves or indentations which are used to remove the pins inside. Instead, they will just have a blade coming out of the handle with a completely flat end.
These two keys will be held opposite each other and the correct key will be used as a guide in order to perfectly guide the mechanized movement of the cutting device (a large sharp wheel) in order to remove the excess metal from around the edge of the blade to ensure it perfectly fits the lock.