When you think of a locksmith, you probably imagine a master craftsman with an intimate knowledge of locks and keys. But the job of a locksmith is much more than that; it’s an art that requires solid mechanical skills, troubleshooting skills, and the ability to think on your feet. Locksmithing is quite an extensive profession because it covers so many different things. Locksmiths might focus on residential locks or commercial locks instead. They could specialize in safes and vault locks or lockpicking instead. A locksmith’s work also involves many different tools and machines and different materials such as metal, wood, plastic, and more.
Tools of the Locksmithing Trade
There are many different tools used in locksmithing, and the number of different tools can be surprising. Some of these tools include
– Auto-Cutting Tools: used to open locks by inserting an auto-cutter into the keyhole and rotating the shaft of the tool to push the lock pins back. These tools are typically used to open car locks.
– Bolt Cutters: used to cut metal, especially padlocks and chain link fences. They can also be used to cut through metal beams and pipes.
– C-Clamp: used for holding metal when welding.
– Screwdrivers: used for removing screws, prying things open, and disassembling items. – Drill: used for drilling holes in wood, metal, concrete, and other materials.
– Electrical and Soldering Tools: used for wiring and connecting electrical components together. – Hand Saw: used for cutting wood, plastic, and metal.
– Hacksaw: used for cutting metal.
– Hammers: used for driving nails, prying things open, and removing metal pieces. Hammers can also be used as impact tools for driving screws into wood.
– Headlights: used for seeing in dark or cluttered environments.
– Levels: used for measuring and marking. They can be used for both vertical and horizontal measurements.
– Pliers: used for gripping, bending, cutting, and pulling. There are many different types of pliers, including needle nose pliers, regular pliers, diagonal pliers, and lineman’s pliers.
– Power Tools: used for cutting, sanding, drilling, and sawing.
– Screwdrivers: used to drive screws into wood, metal, and plastic.
– Telescopic Tools: used for reaching items that are up high.
– Wrenches: used for turning nuts and bolts. There are many different types of wrenches, including crescent wrenches, slip-joint wrenches, adjustable wrenches, and box wrenches.
Auto-Cutting tools are used for quickly and easily unlocking standard pin-and-tumbler locks. Essentially, these tools add an extra pin to the lock, tricking it into thinking it has already been unlocked. These tools are typically used for cars and other small, everyday locks. Auto-Cutting tools can be used for both residential and commercial locks, although commercial locks require a different type of auto-cutter. The auto-cutter is usually inserted into the keyhole and rotated, which pushes the extra pin inside the lock back, unlocking the door.
Lock picks are tools that are used to unlock locks that are either jammed or locked without a key, like padlocks or mailboxes. Whereas auto-cutters add an extra pin to the lock, lock picks to remove the existing pins inside the lock, making it easier to open. Lock picks are typically made up of a set of metal pieces that can be inserted into the lock to either push the existing pins back or remove them entirely. There is a wide variety of lock pick sets available, and they are generally used for residential locks. Commercial locks are usually too strong for pick sets.
Key Duplicating Machines
Key duplicating machines are used to copy keys. They are used for both residential and commercial locks and can be found in hardware stores, locksmith shops, and even online. The process for key duplication is very straightforward, and the machines are quite user-friendly. Key duplication machines can be manual or electric. Manual machines require a person to turn a wheel, pushing the bit that cuts the key. Electric machines eliminate the need to turn a wheel, allowing the user to simply press a button and receive the key.
Key Rotators and Extensions
Key rotators and extensions are used to turn a key that is broken off inside the lock, usually in a car door lock or the door of a commercial building. Key rotators work by attaching a screw that can be spun with a screwdriver, whereas key extensions are a solid piece of metal that is inserted into the lock and turned. The idea behind both is to push the broken-off key further into the lock to make it easier to remove.
Safes and Vaults
Safes are large metal cabinets that are used to store valuables or important documents. They can be found in residential and commercial settings, and they are equipped with an electronic lock that can be opened using a combination. Some safes also have digital keypads. Vaults are similar to safes but are more secure and typically used in banks and other financial institutions.
Get a Perspective
Locksmithing is quite an extensive profession because it covers so many different elements. Locksmiths might focus on residential locks or commercial locks instead. They could specialize in safes and vault locks or lockpicking instead. A locksmith’s work also involves many different tools and machines and different materials such as metal, wood, plastic, and more. Locksmiths need to be skilled in all aspects of the trade in order to be successful.