What Goes Into Key Cutting?

Key cutting is a fundamental locksmithing service that involves the precision crafting of a duplicate key to match an existing one. This process is crucial in various situations, such as replacing lost keys, creating spare keys, or upgrading to a more secure lock system without changing the entire locking mechanism. The art of key cutting requires skill, precision, and specialized tools to ensure the new key fits seamlessly into the lock, allowing for smooth and secure operation.

Step 1:

The first step in key cutting is obtaining access to the original key. This can be the actual key or a digital representation stored in a key cutting machine. Traditional keys are often made of metal, but modern advancements have introduced electronic key systems that store information on chips or cards. The locksmith needs this information to replicate the unique pattern of the original key accurately.

Step 2:

Once the locksmith has the necessary information, they move on to the key cutting machine. These machines come in various types, each designed for specific key types and cutting methods. Manual key cutting machines require the locksmith to guide the cutting tool manually, while automatic machines are computerized and can create precise cuts based on digital data. The choice of machine depends on factors such as key type, quantity, and required precision.

Step 3:

The actual cutting process involves removing material from a blank key to match the specific pattern of the original key. The blank key is typically made from brass, steel, or nickel silver. The locksmith carefully places the blank into the key cutting machine, and the machine's cutting tool carves out the notches and indentations according to the specifications of the original key. Precision is key during this process, as even minor deviations can result in an ineffective duplicate key.

Step 4: 

Key cutting is not a one-size-fits-all process. Different types of keys exist, ranging from simple pin tumbler keys to more complex high-security keys with intricate patterns and features. Additionally, keys come in various shapes and sizes, each requiring a unique cutting approach. Locksmiths must have a thorough understanding of different key profiles and the corresponding cutting techniques to provide accurate and reliable key cutting services.

Step 5:

Accuracy is crucial in key cutting, and even a small discrepancy can render the duplicate key useless. The locksmith may need to make adjustments and fine-tune the key to ensure it aligns perfectly with the original. This meticulous process demands both skill and patience, making key cutting both an art and a science.

Step 6:

In addition to traditional key cutting, advancements in technology have introduced laser key cutting. This method uses laser technology to cut keys with unparalleled precision. Laser cutting is particularly effective for creating high-security keys that have complex designs and tight tolerances.


Key cutting is a specialized locksmithing service that involves duplicating keys with precision and accuracy. Whether using manual cutting machines or advanced laser technology, locksmiths play a crucial role in ensuring the security and functionality of locks by crafting duplicate keys that seamlessly fit into the locking mechanism.


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