Lesson 2: Tools, Locks, and Keys - Part 1

The Basic Tools Needed For A Beginner Locksmith

This section describes the tools you will need in order to be successful in the locksmith industry, as well as discusses the appropriate scenarios in which you may need to use them. The necessary locksmith tools can be divided into two sections. The basic tool kit should be carried with you to every job and should contain all the necessary tools required for the average job. A second kit, called the installation kit, will contain everything required to install or upgrade door hardware.


Multi-bit screwdriver Multi-bit screwdriver

The screwdriver will be the tool you use most often, thus it is important to have good quality screwdrivers. As a locksmith you will encounter every type of screw imaginable, and you should have a wide selection of screwdrivers at your disposal. A screwdriver with a ratcheting function will save your wrists and loads of time that you would otherwise spend cranking screws in and out.

Pin Kit Pin kit

The screwdriver will be the tool you use most often, thus it is important to have good quality screwdrivers. As a locksmith you will encounter every type of screw imaginable, and you should have a wide selection of screwdrivers at your disposal. A screwdriver with a ratcheting function will save your wrists and loads of time that you would otherwise spend cranking screws in and out.

Tweezers Tweezers

You will need tweezers when you are rekeying locks. They help you manipulate the pins, springs, and tumblers into place. When you are rekeying locks you are working with very tiny pieces which need to fit together. Working with tweezers increases the dexterity of your work and helps save you time and energy.

Follower Follower

The follower, or follow-through, is an important tool when you are rekeying locks. Its tube like shape makes it perfect for keeping top-pins in place by inserting it into the cylinder as you remove the core. Some locks have different sized cylinders or bevelling on the back of their core, so it is important to get several sizes of follower.

Coming Soon End – cap Removal Tool

The end cap removal tool is a metal rod designed to easily remove the end-caps of the most common cylinder locks. It has two bevelled ends, each with distinct teeth that correspond to the grooves on the end caps. The tool is depressed into the end cap. Turn the tool counter-clockwise until the end cap is removed. If your end-cap remover does not fit a specific lock, use an ice-pick to depress the set-pin while you twist the end cap counter clockwise with your fingers or a pair of pliers.

Alan Keys Alan Keys

You want to keep a variety of Alan Keys at your disposal for the same reason you want to keep a lot of screwdrivers available to you. Storefront hardware, high-security locks, and even some deadbolts use set pins that require an Alan Key. There is a lot of variability in the bolts. Be prepared to use any size Alan Key from Imperial and Metric systems.

Pliers Pliers

A good set of pliers is necessary for every locksmith to have. They will be with you for all your jobs, and can be particularly helpful when removing broken screws, shortening deadbolt tailpieces, or unscrewing end-caps.

Broken Key Extractors Broken Key Extractors

The broken key extractor is a little device which will save you hours of headaches and labour, and might just save your customers lock. A frequent job that locksmiths get is to remove broken keys from a front door lock. This little tool makes the whole process a breeze.

Bolt Cutters Bolt Cutters

We use bolt cutters to chop open broken padlocks. Padlocks that have been exposed to the elements for too long will eventually rust up and the key can’t work them anymore. You will need a high quality pair of bolt cutters able to cut through reinforced steel.

Snap Ring Pliers Snap Ring Pliers

Snap ring pliers will enable you to rekey the majority of door knob and lever handle locks. With these locks, the locking mechanism is held in place with a snap ring which clasps the cylinder to the lock shrouding. Removing this is essential to the rekey process. Without a pair of snap ring pliers you could easily fail to rekey the lock or even destroy the snap ring.

Ice Pick Ice Pick

An ice pick is a convenient tool to have in your kit. We in the business call it a ‘pokey’. Commonly you will use an ice pick to depress small springs in lever handles when you dismantle them, or to depress the set-pin in an end-cap when you don’t have an end-cap remover.

Pick And Tension Wrenches Pick and Tension Wrenches

If rekeying locks is the bread and potatoes of the locksmith industry, picking locks would be the meat and corn. Every locksmith needs to be a confident lock picker. You must have a variety of picks and tensions wrenches available to you, and they should be kept in a carrying case so as not to get lost or stolen.

Shims Shims

Shims slide between the cylinder core and the cylinder housing. It makes opening locked doors easy and fast. If you already have access to the back of the lock, considered shims as an alternative to picking.

Lubricant Lubricant

Lubricant will be necessary for any locksmith in the service industry. Unless you’re working with brand new locks, fresh out of the box, you should probably give it a squirt of lubricant. In the old days, locksmiths lubricated locks with powdered graphite, however, this was dirty and bad for the health. Today we have a variety of lubes available. WD-40 is a penetrating oil, the only lube recommended for picking. TriFlow is a wet Teflon based lube. Lock-Saver is a semi-dry lubricant. Note: Medeco recommends you use only dry lube when servicing their locks.


Drill Drills

You will need a good drill when installing deadbolts or additional door hardware. A cordless drill will let you drill open door locks for those emergency situations. A high-powered hammer-drill is good for installing on metal doors and in buildings with concrete frames. Many locksmiths have several drills. Some locksmiths even use handheld drills instead of screw-drivers.

Drill bits Drill bits

You will need a plethora of drill bits. When you are drilling out door locks, a drill bit can break fairly easily. You will need multiples of every size of drill bit. You will need spade bits and circular saw shaped bit to drill the latch and deadbolt holes when installing a deadbolt.

Hole saws Hole saws

Hole saws create the perfect shape for installing a deadbolt. It’s important that you keep your hole saws sharp. Keep a set for wood doors and a set for metal. Some doors have a thin metal external layer with wood internals so you might need to switch between them. The appropriate sizes you will need are 2 1/8”, 1 1/2”, and 1”.

Grinder Grinder

This bit will save you more time and energy then you would believe. This bit can make your deadbolt latch swing into the frame perfectly. Even those pesky catching doors can be solved with a simple grinding.

Installation kit door jig Installation kit door jig

This tool is used for installing new locks on doors. It wraps around the frame of the door, allowing for you to easily mark the holes for your cuts. This is the simplest way to ensure you drill clean and even holes when installing new door locks.

Faceplate markers Faceplate markers

Faceplate markers are used when installing deadbolt latches bolt guard strike plates. They are used in conjunction with a hammer to outline the region in which you need to chisel a space for the faceplate to be flush into the wood.

Chisel and hammer Chisel and hammer

Your set of chisels and hammers will be useful for installing deadbolts with a bolt faceplate, as well strike plate, and wrap around plates and other security upgrades. Having several sizes of chisel is essential, as is being skilled in their usage. Make sure your chisels are sharp. A professional chiselling can be the difference between a good job and an unsatisfied customer.