What Does Key Cutting Mean?

When you want a duplicate key or replacement key made the term that describes getting that done is “key cutting”.

How is Key Cutting Accomplished?

Obviously, to get a duplicate key made you will need to have an original one that you want a copy made from. Then you will need to find a Locksmith or hardware store that has a key cutting machine.

There are basically four types of key cutting machines:

  1. Automatic
  2. Code design
  3. Manual
  4. Laser

Typically, this machine has two vises. The original key goes in one and the key blank stock goes in the other.

Different key manufacturers use different key stock so it is important to get the right blank before cutting.

No matter which type of machine is used, the original is duplicated by making precise cuts, either manually or automatically,  in the blank until the original is matched.

Unfortunately, unless you have the lock with you, you cannot test the new key in the lock until you get back your home or office. To save time, you might consider taking your key to a local locksmith since their reputation depends of getting it right the first time, whereas key cutting is just a small part of a hardware store’s business.

How much does key cutting cost?

The cost depends on the key blank and type of cutting that needs to be done, i.e., how intricate the cuts are. The low end for a standard key is $1.99 and the high end for a high security key can be up to $12.50 each. Of course prices change due to inflation and external causes, but this gives you a ballpark figure. As you can see, pricing at a locksmith is actually lower than at the hardware store.