Key Cutting - My Key Will Not Work !!!!,
Been to a heal bar, had a key cut, got home and it don’t work!
‘All to common’ you may think, so whats goes wrong at the heal bar.
OK this is not a slate at the heal bar, in their defence, there is a lot of foreign keys and locks coming into the market, China, bless them, are trying their best to mimic and resell UK locks back to the UK, Probably the most common in the lower end of the market, James Gibbons Ironmongers based originally in the Wolverhampton area, made what we call the 3 lever gibbons lock, these are common place now in most internal doors, see picture attached of what a key would look like.
Quite possibly you may even have this key on your back or front door and if you do, then change it as they are now considered not secure enough. Anyway, digressing a little here, but because of the popularity of the locks profile it has been copied to death by every body. However, every one of the copies have slight difference in the blade/bit, and because of this, the original gibbons key blank, may just not fit. The manufactures of key blanks, have to make blanks knowing that they will sell in there masses and will not consider making blanks for a duplicate, unless they can see money in it.
Other problems are of course the use of the wrong key blank, Key Blanks have what we call in the trade, profiles, to the lay person the profile is the squiggly shape of the key, Have a look at the image below.
There us literally 1000’s if not 10’000’s of different shapes to keys. There are a few hundred very popular ones that would do 60% of a heal bars key cutting, but sometimes it can be very hard to get the right one. In an ideal world you would have the key and the lock. :-)
Then there is the cut on the key, this is the part along the blade and this is the part of the key cutting process the heal bar will do.
Lets assume the heal bars key machines are calibrated. Even then mistakes can still happen, firstly the key may not be put in the jaw correctly lined up to the shoulder of the key, secondly the blade has not been laid in the jaws straight. either one of these actions if not done correctly will result in the key not working.
If when you go home and the key will not even go in the lock, this this will tell you chances are that they have used the wrong key blank. If the key goes in and it will not turn, the chances would then be the key was not sitting correctly in the key cutting machines clamps/Jaw. If the key will turn but stiffly, the cut was to shallow and the key was not sitting correctly in the jaw. If the key bites but then spins very loosely, the cut is to deep.
The common problem, mostly, we find is the keys need to be pulled out slightly to work, this is commonly a fault of not ensuring the key was placed at the stop correctly. But could also mean the cut was to deep and by moving it back a little lifts the pins enough to open the lock.
I have been cutting keys for over 20 years and I still get it wrong sometimes. perhaps we are all a little fallible :-)
Head of the Tech Department
TRUST Security - Trust LocksOnline