Sometimes it seems Locksmiths have a language of their own. To “learn” a key or “hand” a door – it doesn’t sound correct at all, does it?!  Here are some of the common Locksmith words and terms to help you navigate your security research.

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Access Control System – A system of locks/ locking mechanism designed to control authorised entry and use of a premises.  Typically this refers to electronic systems.

Back Set – the distance from the side of the door to the middle of the lockset.

Barrel – the part of the cylinder the key slides into for turning (if it’s the right key!)

Blade – the part of a key that goes into and turns the lock.

Blank – a key before it is cut.

Cam – A straight blade fixed to the end of a barrel or latch

Cam Lock – A lock with a cam attached to the end of the barrel, used in mailboxes, cabinets, filing cabinets etc.

Clone Key – A battery-less key with a transponder – perfect for a spare key.

Cylinder – the container for the barrel and pins which make up the lock

Deadbolt – A solid, usually cylindrical lock bolt that goes through the door and has a bolt that projects into the door frame. A deadbolt is operated by a key on both sides or by an external key lock and internal snib.

Deadlatch – A lock fixed to the side of the door that self-locks when the door is pulled closed.  The bolt has a bevel on one side and is spring loaded to enable the closing of the door.  The deadlatch has an external key lock to open the door, with a turnsnib with or without a key lock on the inside.

Deadlock – A squarish lock attached to the side of the door.  The bolt locks into a flange strike which is attached to the door frame.  It is typically seen on sliding and some swing doors.   The deadlock has an external key lock to open the door, with a turnsnib with or without a key lock on the inside.

Door Morticing – The precise art of cutting a pocket into the side of a door in exactly the right place to insert a Mortice Lock.  This may also include additional work for wiring if needed.

Door Wrap – A piece of steel that wraps from one side of the lock to the other to strengthen the door and help prevent it being pried open.

Double Sided – A lock that can be key locked from either side of the door.

Dummy Set – A fixed handle set that is fixed to the side of a door with no locking mechanism whatsoever.  You’d find these typically on a pantry door, linen cupboard etc.

Escutcheon – A cover for the cylinder for a mortice lock.

Hand of a door – To “Hand a Door” is to work out which way it swings/ needs to swing in order to put on the right type of hinges, door furniture and door closers.

Hasp – A hinged metal strap that fits over a staple to be secured with a padlock.

Hasp and Staple – A two-part system for a door or box lid to be secured with a padlock.  The hasp is the hinged metal strap that fits down over the staple.  A padlock shackle is then put through the staple and then closed.

Indicator Bolt – A latch that is turned with a snib that locks a toilet door and shows if it is occupied or not.

Impressioning – A way of making a key for a lock without needing to take the lock apart.

Jamb – the internal vertical face of the door frame.

Key Code – A series of numbers that specifies/ references the unique cuts needed for a key to work in a lock.

Learn a Key

Lockset – The handles and hardware that make up a locking/ latching mechanism.

Master Key System – A specially designed hierarchy of keys and cylinders allowing customised access to authorised key holders.  This system allows for a key audit trail to track who has keys to the premises and help prevent unauthorised access.

Mortice Lock – A lock that is installed inside a pocket cut into the side of the door, not through the door directly.

Profile – A lock ‘profile’ is basically the shape of the lock barrel, that is, the part that you slide the key into.

Rekey a Lock – To change the pin combination inside the cylinder so that the existing keys no longer work.

Restricted Key – A unique key blank that is only available from the factory to authorised locksmiths.  Each key is cut, stamped and registered to the holder of the business.

Rimlock – A lock installed directly to the side of the door and wall.  This includes deadlatches and deadlocks.

Screen Guards – A piece of hard plastic installed behind a screen door lock to prevent people reaching in and unlatching the lock from the outside.

Single Sided – A lock that is key operated from just one side of the lock.

Snib or Turn Snib – A small fitting on the inside of a lock used to operate the lock with your thumb and fingers instead of a key.

Sniff – Where a technician captures information transferred between a working key and the car decrypting the information to allow a key to be cloned

Storeroom Set – A lockset that is key operated/ opened from the outside, in fact, the handle remains fixed while the inside handle is left free moving.

Strike – The metal plate installed in the wall that holds the tongue of the lock.

Strike Shield – A piece of steel installed over the strike to help prevent the door being pried open.

Transponder Key – A key with a small computer chip inside that talks to the vehicle to turn off the engine immobiliser.  It’s typically found in car models after 1996.




  • Workshop: 67 Pilkington Street, Garbutt, Townsville
  • Phone: 4755 2846
  • Fax: 4755 0577


  • Mon-Fri: 8:00am - 5pm


Jim Roberts Locksmiths