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Old 02-23-2016, 09:51 PM   #1
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Locksmith refused my blanks

When we left home in January for our snow bird adventure, we were about 100 miles down the road when the wife discovered she left her set of keys at the house. I figured I could get another set made in Florida.

I tried Home Depot who couldn't match the latch key but did make a deadbolt key; it didn't fit. I found a place online for Tri Mark keys and ordered 2 sets. When they arrived I looked for a locksmith and traveled to several places, many of them were just mailbox drops like UPS. These locksmiths worked out of their cars and vans. I finally found one with a brick and mortar store and drove there.

The shop was nice and the counter person was friendly. I gave him my two keys. He said he would have to look them up online. I told him that I had a set of Tri Mark key blanks like the originals. He said there wasn't even a need to take them out of my pocket. It was then I noticed a sign on the wall, "We will not cut keys from customers blanks".

He made two keys from a different brand blank and I went back to the trailer. The deadbolt fit, the latch key didn't; great. I would have been happy to pay him double to use my blanks and keep his but he wouldn't have any part of this.

We have at least the deadbolt key now so we can both leave the AS and not have to hide the only keyset in the TV. It just seems strange to me that a locksmith wouldn't use a customer's blanks, especially when they didn't have the right ones in their own inventory. I can understand a surcharge but not outright refusal to use them. Has anyone else run across this or happen to know a locksmith? I should have asked the guy but he seemed put out that I even had them. I'll ask at the next locksmith I find as we still want another set.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:02 PM   #2
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In my opinion, very poor business practice, especially since his blank would not work. But then, it is his business to live or die with and I suppose he has reasons for his way of conducting his work. I can imagine a few reasons.

I have an old line locksmith who cannot get the right blank for the deadbolt on my 2014, and when I got the blank from Airstream, he was happy to cut it for me.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:32 PM   #3
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There could be reasons other than what seem obvious.

Perhaps they have cut blanks only to have someone say they ruined the only blank known in existence, and then demanded compensation.

Or, perhaps there has been litigation about "do not duplicate" keys that were duplicated via an owner bringing in blanks....


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Old 02-24-2016, 12:54 AM   #4
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Hi, I also had a lock smith make me some keys with blanks that he had in stock; Two of the keys didn't work. I used to recode locks on Fords while working at the Ford dealers so I knew something about keys and tumblers. But I was still baffled because the keys that the lock smith cut looked exactly like my factory keys. [in cut depth and positions] I kept messing with these keys and finally figured it out. The shank on the factory keys were slightly smaller. If you look very closely you will see that the shank on the factory key goes slightly into the key slot, the after market keys did not. I was able to fix this by filing about .010" off of each side of the shank. Now all of my keys work.
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:39 AM   #5
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I found a traditional hardware store, with the old style key copy machine. They cut my keys for $1. If you are at the factory and buy a key blank, there is a hardware store in downtown Jackson Center that will cut it for free.
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:40 AM   #6
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We have four double blanks - we loose keys, don't ask. Each one of us carry's a set, we have one in the truck and another hidden on the trailer - outside.

The only places I've been able to get these keys cut is an Ace Hardware store. They at least ours still use the old style key cutters and not the new ones Lowes and HD use.

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Old 02-24-2016, 04:55 AM   #7
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I've run into a similar situation with a similar experience and also had a different experience once. Once, the HD was out of stock of the blanks I needed, so I went to the Walmart down the street. They had the blanks in inventory, but no one working that was "certified" to use the key cutter. They sold me the blanks and I took them to HD where someone could cut them for me. The big difference, I suppose, was that they should have had the blanks, but were out of stock and the keys were the same brand and use the same cutters.

On another occasion, the HD allowed me to cut my own keys with their machine. I had worked at another hardware store and had been taught how to use that key cutter, and the HD didn't have anyone available to help, so a manager "supervised" and said "If you can do it, be my guest." Definitely not the norm, but I was happy to get my keys and get on with my day.

It seems like customer service is becoming a lost art.
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Old 02-24-2016, 05:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, I also had a lock smith make me some keys with blanks that he had in stock; Two of the keys didn't work. I used to recode locks on Fords while working at the Ford dealers so I knew something about keys and tumblers. But I was still baffled because the keys that the lock smith cut looked exactly like my factory keys. [in cut depth and positions] I kept messing with these keys and finally figured it out. The shank on the factory keys were slightly smaller. If you look very closely you will see that the shank on the factory key goes slightly into the key slot, the after market keys did not. I was able to fix this by filing about .010" off of each side of the shank. Now all of my keys work.
Thus was my experience also. A little filing and all as well. I've also had keys made that I had to pull out ever so slightly to get them to work. Just the opposite of the original problem..
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Old 02-24-2016, 07:37 AM   #9
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When I wanted an extra set of keys for my Airstream, I had the same experience as many of you. Many efforts to have duplicate keys made with no success: either they couldn't match the AS keys, or they tried and their keys didn't work. Finally I got blanks from AS, and ordered a couple extra in case one got screwed up. Those worked. Never had anyone refuse to make keys from my blanks, but then the first shop I took them to was willing to make the replacement keys for me. As I recall, he did some tests on the blanks to make sure they weren't made out of hard metal that would ruin his grinding wheel. Maybe that is the reason?
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Old 02-24-2016, 07:54 AM   #10
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Call Trimark

I had problems with getting extra keys for my trailer. I ended up calling Trimark and gave them the number from my keys. They cut the correct keys at their factory and had 4 sets of both locks at my house within a week. I believe it cost me about $30 for the 4 sets, including shipping.
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Old 02-24-2016, 08:04 AM   #11
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My local ACE did it with my blanks and no problem at all.
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:13 AM   #12
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I got the blanks, but couldn't get it to work. I had to contact the dealer to order me two additional sets. I solved my problem with losing or forgetting keys for both my house and AS.

Here are two things I used and bolted on the A frame just behind the tanks on the door side.

Key Vault

Vault cover

Hope this helps in the future.
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:26 AM   #13
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I had keys made from Airstream blanks at a local Ace Hardware Store. They cut them at no charge because I brought my own blanks.
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:46 AM   #14
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Many locksmiths DO work out of trucks, simply because rent on a storefront is SO expensive and 50% or more of their business is opening locked cars which has to be done by going on the road. And don't even talk about dorm rooms, office buildings, etc.

Most of those people do have a trip charge - but if they're in a job keying out a new office building or strip mall they'll often fit you in at a reduced charge if you come to them - especially if you bring along your twinkie.

(Run answering service - have had locksmiths as clients.) MANY states have very little regulation on locksmiths - but others are very tight, and making a blank for a "do not duplicate" lock could be a felony in some areas.
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