In this blog post, we will discuss key blanks and master keying systems and some ways to use them. We will go over the different types of key blanks and how they affect a lock’s security rating before going into detail about the various master keying systems that are available.

We’ll look at how much you should invest in a master key system for your home or business. Some of these ideas will make a lot more sense if you have some knowledge about locks and keys, particularly pin tumblers and wafer tumblers which are the most common types of locks found on doors.

When choosing your locks for your home or business, it is important to know what type of system you need so you can ensure that it is both secure and convenient for you on a daily basis! This blog post should help with understanding these two topics in more depth so you can make an informed decision when buying new locks!


What Are Key Blanks?

Key blanks are the metal shapes that the teeth of a key are cut into.

These are metal pieces that have had slots cut out of their edge so they can fit different locks.

Different keys can be created by cutting notches and grooves into a blank key to match up with different types of pins and wards inside the lock. These pins and wards correspond to the shape of the final product, which is what is used to turn the lock.

Key blanks are extremely susceptible to picking and bumping, which means they can be opened quickly with no skill or finesse. The most common ways that key blanks are cut is with disk-type key cutting machines, pinning or warding machines, or by hand using a file (which is obviously the least efficient).


How are key blanks made?

All key blanks are universal unless they have been restricted by the manufacturer.

The process of making a full key is much longer and more complicated because it starts with a blank material, such as metal or plastic. After choosing what kind of material will be used, the manufacturer will cut out the shape of the teeth in that particular lock while leaving the shoulders, bow, and body intact.

Once the teeth are cut out of the blank material, they are measured to ensure that they can fit into any corresponding pin chambers in the lock it will be used on.  The shoulder will be filed down so it fits comfortably inside of the keyway where you insert the blade. The tail of the key is pointed and shaved down slightly so it can fit inside the bottom of the lock.

The bow (the part that is typically colored, such as gold or silver) is attached to the blade and both are filed down until they can fit flatly against each other. The body (also called the shell) will be placed around the blade and the bow.

After the key is made, it will be tested in a working lock to make sure that all of the measurements are accurate and that none of the teeth have been damaged during the manufacturing process. If any fingers of metal get broken off or if there are any imperfections at all, the key will be thrown away and a new one will be made.


Who Uses Key Blanks?

There are four types of key blanks that are commonly used for home or business use: These are, in order from weakest to strongest security, universal keys, restricted master keys, restricted keys, and full keys.


Types of Key Blanks


Universal Keys

They are the most common type of key blank because they can be used with a wide range of locks. This means they are versatile, but also less secure. They are best for people who don’t need to worry about security ratings of their locks or have trouble finding the right keys when they get locked out!

Universal keys can usually be used for all exterior doors, such as the front and back door, garage door, and so on…

They can also be used for padlocks since most padlocks are not made with high-security locks in mind.


Restricted Master Keys

They are the next step up; restricted master keys will open a smaller number of locks than universal keys, but they can open many models of locks. This type of key is the one you should use if your house has more than one entrance door since it will allow you to have copies of all those keys for trusted family members or house cleaners.

Restricted master keyed locks are also good if you have several padlocks that need to be opened regularly because it will allow you to share one set of keys between all of them. That way, everyone knows where a particular set of keys is and they can get into the area that the padlock guards.


Restricted Keys

This type of key opens only one lock, but it is a high-security lock so your security level will be much higher than if you were using a universal key or restricted master key. This kind of key is best for people who have very important locks that need to be extremely secure and can’t risk someone opening them with a universal key or restricted master key.


Full Keys

These types of keys open only one lock, but this is the highest security lock that your chosen manufacturer makes. These are for people who want the best possible locks on every door and will invest in high-security locks that can’t be compromised by opening them with any other type.


What is a master keying system?

A master keying system, or key, is a set of cuts in which you can create many different keys with just one blank. When someone makes a new lock for their front door they might decide to use an 8-cut key to give them access to making eight different keys without having to buy more blanks. But if they want sixteen different keys then they would need 16-cut keys and so on.

A master keyed system is a feature that allows for all of your locks to be opened with a single key, making it faster and easier to use one key instead of multiple. A master keyed system will have a different main key, also known as a master key, that can open all of your locks and a smaller number of secondary keys, also called subkeys, which cannot open any other locks. Most master keyed systems use pin tumbler cylinders in their door hardware.


Types of Master Keying Systems


Pin Tumbler

The most common type of master keying system is called pin tumbler because it relies on pins stacked within each other like cups in a column that must all be aligned before the plug will turn and open the lock.

If you have a house with more than one entry door, a pin tumbler system is a good choice because it will allow you to lock your doors without having to worry about which key goes where.

If the key has six cuts on it, for example, and the lock has six pins inside of it then each of those keys will turn the lock. The only time you need a different key is if there are seven or more cuts on your main key!

The downside of this kind of master keying system is that it can be difficult to make new keys because you have to match all of those pins inside of each other. It can take an experienced locksmith a few hours to complete a master key for a pin tumbler system.


Disc Tumbler

A different type of master keying system is called disc tumbler because it uses stacks of discs, one on top of the other, instead of pins that all need to be aligned in order to open the lock. This makes it much easier and faster to create a master key.

You can also have a disc tumbler system with multiple levels, which means you will get more keys from just one blank that has been cut for this kind of key. The only downside is that the discs inside this lock are not as secure as the pins in a pin tumbler system.

For this reason, you probably won’t want to use a disc tumbler key for your front door because it can be easy for someone to make a copy and get into your house that way. Instead, you should use the discs only on doors that need to be easily accessible by many different people such as garages, storage units, or tool sheds.


Have any questions? Give us a call today!

If you are in the market for a new key blank or master keying system, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

The good news is that there are many options available to suit your needs and budget. And we at King Locksmith & Doors, Inc., can certainly help you find out what will work best for you.

King Locksmith and Doors Inc. DC & Maryland