Master key systems can transform your one key lock into a multiple, different key lock in no time. Re-keying your cylinder to a master key system allows your locks to be opened by different level keys -i.e. if you have office locks that you want to be able to have access to and no one else, but you want to use the same key on locks that lower level employees have access to. This system allows the master key holder to access any lock while ensuring other people can access only the locks they need to be able to. This system is great for any office type, and we can do it the same day you call!

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Not every locksmith is able to create a master key system. It takes time, patience, and skill to perfect a master key re-keying, mainly due to the different levels of pins that are required. Inside the cylinder there are 5-6 pins, which would allow access to any key that was cut to those pins. In order to create a master key system, you need to put even smaller pins on top of the already set pins to allow a different key to still be able to access the lock. Our Portland locksmiths are experts when it comes to creating a master key system, and have the right know-how and tools to complete the service on the same day.

Why is Having a Master Key Interesting?

Master keys are popular because they are a way to bypass locked doors without having the door key. In a way, they turn us into a thief or master locksmith.
These days, some door locks are made to operate with two different keys from the start. One key (called the change key) opens one particular lock, while a master key will open both that lock and some others as well. In this lock group, several pins have one particular pin between them that enables the master key to open all of these doors. This special pin is called the spacer pin.
When “regular” pins and a “special” pin are operated with the master key, they open the locks.

Creating Master Keys and Re-keying

A good thing about locks that work with master keys is the fact that you can adapt them to work with both regular keys and with the master key. This is great because you can get new locks in your home or in the office without the need to change numerous keys all over again.
When you go about making the new key, i.e. when you go for a master re-key, you will have to slit several marks in the key in a way to raise every top pin above the trim line. Basically, you will get an impression that will adjust perfectly to the pins that are in your door lock. So, when you want to make a different lock or master re-key, you just have to do it the same way but with a different pattern. If your door lock(s) have the system of universal keying, then it will be a good idea to get a professional do it.

6-pin lock

When you look into a simple 6-pin lock, you will be able to easily see how a master re-keying operates. When you look at the cylinder shafts and get the outside of the lock, you will see that there are 6 helix and double the number of (12) small pins. The top pins are the same in size, while the other 6 pins can be of a different size (length) so that they string along with the key notches.

How to do a Master Re-key

Re-keying is actually a simple process. You will get all the pins from the lock cylinder. Taking several pins that will serve as replacements, getting them in different sizes, a locksmith will get new ones that will perfectly match the key notches. This will ensure that the new key will be able to align with the top and bottom pins just over the shear line, and enable free turning of the cylinder.