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Locksmithing began as the science and art of making and defeating locks. A lock is a mechanism that secures buildings, rooms, cabinets, food, or other storage facilities. A key is often used to open a lock. Means of opening a lock often include what you know (a combination), what you have (a key or keycard) or what and who you are (biometrics). Locksmithing is one of the earliest forms of security engineering. Lock picking was one of the first methods of cracking security systems.

Re-keying is the process of changing a lock’s internal pins and springs in order to make the initial key no longer function, and allow the lock to be used with a different key. Though often referred to as “changing a lock”, re-keying does not require replacement of the lock itself, but resetting the tumbler combination to fit a different key.

An Auto Locksmith is a locksmith that specializes in vehicle entry and transponder key programming. Lost car keys can be replaced by a specialist auto locksmith. A good auto locksmith will be able to cut a new car key, clone the transponder and reproduce a key fob that activates the vehicles central locking system.

A deadbolt or deadlock, is a special kind of locking mechanism, providing more security than an ordinary key-operated lock because the weight of the locking bar is usually sufficient to increase break-in time to 10 or 15 minutes. Unlike most spring-bolt locks, in which the bolt is held in place only by the pressure of a spring and can easily be retracted, a deadbolt lock cannot be opened except by rotating the lock cylinder. A variant of the standard deadbolt is the vertical deadbolt, which generally rests on top of a door. Vertical deadbolts resist jimmying (in which an intruder inserts a pry bar between the door and the frame and tries to pry the bolt out of the jamb).

Lock picking is the act of unlocking a lock by analyzing and manipulating the components of the lock device, without the original key. Although lock picking can be associated with criminal intent, it is an essential skill for a locksmith. Lock picking is the ideal way of opening a lock without the correct key (while not damaging the lock), allowing it to be rekeyed for later use, which is especially important with antique locks that would be impossible to replace if destructive entry methods are used. Usually it is possible to bypass a lock without picking it. Most common locks can be quickly and easily opened using a drill, bolt cutters, bump key, or a hydraulic jack. The hasp, door, or fixture they are attached to can be cut, broken, or otherwise removed. A lock that offers high resistance to picking does not necessarily make unauthorized access more difficult, but it will make surreptitious unauthorized access more difficult. They are often used in combination with alarms to provide layered security.

A cylinder lock is a lock constructed with a cylinder that a locksmith can easily unscrew to facilitate rekeying. The cylinder may contain any of a variety of locking mechanisms, including the pin tumbler lock, the wafer tumbler lock and the disc tumbler lock.

Individually Keyed System (KD)
With an individually keyed system, each cylinder can be opened by its individual key.

Keyed Alike (KA)
This system allows for a number of cylinders to be operated by the same key. It is ideally suited to residential applications such as front and back doors.

Master Keyed (MK)
A master-keyed system involves each lock having its own individual key which will not operate any other lock in the system, but where all locks can be operated by a single master-key.

An electronic lock (also known as a digital lock) is a locking device which uses some form of electronics to authenticate those accessing it, sometimes using two-factor authentication. Electronic locks are typically considered more secure than conventional mechanical locks and can include additional features like logging access attempts, group level access, time-based access and the incorporation of burglar or fire alarms.

A safe or a strongbox is a secure lockable box used for securing valuable objects against theft or damage. A safe is usually a hollow cuboid or cylinder, with one face removable or hinged to form a door. The body and door may be cast from metal (such as steel) or formed out of plastic through blow molding.

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