February 15 – 16 West Coast Lock Collectors Association 42nd Annual Antique Lock and Swap Meet (Hawthorne, CA)
Help support the industry by attending these events. A lot of planning and hard work goes into making these events a reality.
For more information on these events, visit our Events page. Additional information, including links, is included under each Event entry. To add an event, please Contact Us.
Over the last year, the focus of this website has shifted a bit. As we’ve tried stay true to our name (Lock/Locksmith Reference), certain early mainstays, such as the ‘Tyler’s Take’ editorial, have gone away. We’ve tried to get away from opinion and focus solely on facts, information, you know – reference material. Today is an exception though. The purpose of this ‘Tyler’s Take’ is to let other locksmiths around the world know about Locksmith Nation. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll see it’s value and join to take full advantage of all it has to offer.
What is Locksmith Nation?
Locksmith Nation, or LN for short, is a free Facebook Group comprised of nearly 2,000 locksmiths from across the world. If you are unfamiliar with Facebook groups, they’re essentially “community pages” where group members can write and respond to posts, share pictures and files, and communicate all within the privacy of that group. Due to the sensitive nature of the topics and discussion, new members are actively vetted by a group of other locksmiths to ensure that only legitimate locksmiths can join and remain members.
The Locksmith Nation Difference
Locksmith communities are nothing new. Some have come and gone, some have remained, but I don’t think any can beat the ease of access and participation of LN. Through the Facebook app, you can interact with the LN community in your shop with a computer or out in the field with your smartphone. This ease of use in turn encourages high-engagement and participation. In the last 28 days, for example, over 28,000 posts have been made on LN. Talk about an active community!
Because of the ease of use and participation, it doesn’t take long to get the answer(s) or input you’re searching for. Need help while you’re on a job site? Take pictures and ask the community. Trying to locate a part or supplier/distributor that carries it? Ask. Want feedback on a particular model or series? Again, just ask. Maybe you need input or an idea on a job you’re quoting? Provide some pictures and basic information and you’ll have plenty of input to, hopefully, steer you in the right direction.
Perhaps one of the greatest resources in this industry is having a peer provide guidance or an opinion when you need it. With LN, you have nearly 2,000 of those peers available to assist.
LN represents one of multiple tools that locksmiths now and in the future can benefit from. Others include this website as well as YouTube Channels, such as Wayne Winton’s or SE Lock and Key’s. Information is both plentiful and easily accessible thanks to advances in technology. Gone are the days where you are limited to what resources you had on hand or could hope to acquire. Whether you are just starting out or have decades of experience, there is value in these tools because, let’s face, we don’t know everything, it’s not possible. You may not have the information you’re looking for but, utilizing one of these tools, you’ll know where to get it.
Tools don’t have to be physical objects. If you already haven’t started putting together a “digital toolbox” then start today, it’s nearly always free. Bookmark this website if you already haven’t ($0), subscribe to the YouTube Channels ($0), and definitely join Locksmith Nation ($0). There is a lot of money to be made for yourself and/or company utilizing these tools properly. Don’t miss out.
We’ve added a 64-page hard copy version (PDF) of our Key Blank Cross Reference Tool. This document contains 190 of the most popular key blanks with OEM and aftermarket part numbers for the following manufactures: Axxess, Cole, Curtis, Dominion, ESP, Hillman, Ilco, Jet, JMA, Orion, Silca, Star, and Taylor.
We will soon be publishing regular updates to our Key Blank Cross Reference Tool to build it well beyond what it currently is.
We have updated the Door Closer Footprint Comparison Chart in the Tools Section. We’re now at version 3.0 with 40 manufacturers/brands, 34 unique footprints, 289 unique models represented in the chart. We have added an additional manufacturer and removed from hyperlinks from hyperlinks from unique models (there were too many issues with encoding). Instead, the locksmith is instructed to consult our Parallel, Regular, and Top-Jamb page in the Library to locate installation manuals, spec sheets, and related manufacturer literature.
As always, footprints are organized by horizontal center-to-center measurements, smallest to largest. If multiple footprints exist with the same horizontal center-to-center measurements, they are further organized by vertical center-to-center measurements, smallest to largest. Manufacturers/brands are organized alphabetically. Column A is freeze paned for the included footprints. Row 1 is freeze paned for the included manufacturer/brands. This means that as you narrow down a specific model/models or manufacturer/brands, this information stays locked in your screen. This allows you to quickly find information.
Later this month, we will launch our “Combination Lock Instructions” Tool. This tool will allow locksmiths to locate the programming instructions for mechanical and electronic combination locks. It will be optimized for both mobile and desktop platforms and sort combination locks into the following categories:
Combination Cam Locks
Electronic Combination Safe Locks
Mechanical Combination Safe Locks
Electronic Combination Door Locks
Mechanical Combination Door Locks
Each category will be launched separately, starting in two weeks with mechanical combination door locks. Each combination lock, regardless of the category, will be sorted by manufacturer. Furthermore, a manufacturer’s photograph of each respective lock will be included along it’s part/series name. This will allow locksmiths to locate known combination locks as well as unknown combination locks (sometimes the only information we have in front of us is the lock itself!).
Best of all, this tool will allow a locksmith, either in the shop or out in the field, to find the programming instructions for any combination lock, past or present, in 2 clicks or less. Talk about efficiency!
The Antique Lock Literature page is now available in the Tools section. This page will serve as a repository for lock literature that is at least 50 years old. This sort of information can be especially valuable in older, larger cities where some of this hardware is still in use. At launch, we over 25 PDFs. These PDFs include books, catalogs, price lists, and more from the following names:
Briggs & Stratton
Diebold Safe & Lock Co.
Eagle Lock Co.
Henry R. Towne
Linus Yale Jr.
Lockwood Hardware Manufacturing Co.
P&F Corbin Co.
Mosler Safe Co.
Russell & Erwin Manufacturing Co.
Sargent & Greenleaf Co.
Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co.
As with most things of this website, this Tool will be routinely updated with new (or should I say old?) content as it becomes available. If you have antique lock literature that you would like to share with us so that we may add it to this tool, please contact us.
The Sargent Degree key system is actually comprised of 3 sub-systems:
Degree Level 1
Degree Level 2
Degree Level 3
Degree Level 1, or DG1, utilizes a patented keyway with conical pins. If you are at all familiar with the Medeco3 BiLevel platform that is essentially what DG1 is. Degree Level 2, or DG2, utilizes a patented keyway with angled pins that then interface with a sidebar. Furthermore, each key features a “notch” to interface with slider that, again, interfaces with a sidebar. If you are at all familiar with the Medeco3 platform, that is essentially what DG2 is with one exception: there are only 3 labeled pin angles (Left, Center, or Right) and there are no fore/aft positions on the key.
An exploded view of a Sargent DG2 LFIC.
Degree Level 3, or DG3, is DG2 with a UL437 certification.
If you are at all curious of the influence of Medeco designs with the Degree key system, there is a good reason: the cylinders utilize existing Medeco patents (Sargent and Medeco are sister companies under the ASSA ABLOY umbrella).
Sargent sells two pin kits related to the Degree key systems:
437 DG1 Standard Pinning Kit
437 DGM Master Pinning Kit
The 437 DG1 Standard Pinning Kit services DG1 conventional cylinders and LFICs. The 437 DGM Master Pinning Kit allows you to service DG1, DG2, and DG3 conventional cylinders and LFICs. Replacement pins, springs, and covers are all available through Sargent distribution channels
Large Format Interchangeable Cores (LFICs)
Much like the traditional Sargent 6300 LFIC, Degree LFICs utilize two different stack height values: 10 for non-control chambers (chambers 1, 2, 5, 6) and 13 for control chambers (chambers 3 and 4).
Additionally, DG2 and DG3 key sub-systems must utilize a conical pin in the 6th position of LFICs. Due to the physical size limitations of the Degree LFIC, which is essentially the same form factor as the traditional Sargent 6300, there is not enough material left in the core to mill the indicator slot for angled pins. Do not attempt to force an angled pin into this position as it will eventually cause operational problems. This requirement does not impact keys, specifically what angles or depths to use in the 6th position, or vice versa.
Unlike the previously mentioned Medeco designs/systems, Sargent Degree conventional cylinders do not utilize top pins that match the numeric value of the deepest cut in each respective chamber. For example, in a Medeco Original cylinder with a 4 cut in the 1st chamber, the locksmith must utilize a 4 top pin. With Sargent Degree, the plug total must always equal 10 for conventional cylinders. So, if we have a 4 cut used in the 1st chamber of a Sargent Degree conventional cylinder, our top pin must be 6 (4+6 = 10). In master keyed cylinders and chambers, bottom and master pins (plug total) are added together and subtracted from 10 to determine the top pin. Here is a pinning chart example for a master keyed, Sargent Degree conventional cylinder:
Construction Master Keying
Construction master keying is available for all Degree platforms by using the “lost wafer” design. Similar to a “lost ball” design, a Sargent Degree plugs with the appropriate cylinder option contain a “donut” hole to the left and right of the 3rd chamber. This hole captures a special wafer through typical construction keying change/protocol. As you can see in the illustration below, this design is in place so that only these special wafers can become trapped in the plug.
Sargent Degree cylinders, except hotel function cylinders and LFICs, use the “21 -” option for construction master keying capabilities. LFICs use the “64-DG-” option.