IMPRESSIONING

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Comments (16)

Drew in West Hills, California

86 months ago

How important is impressioning? I just finished a couple of locksmith correspondence courses and the only thing that is really frustrating me is impressioning. Is it something I should put a lot of time into learning or are there other ways around it? Is it a part of the job that is a must to know? Thanks for your time.

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Ricky in Orlando, Florida

85 months ago

Yes! Practice with smaller cam locks and work your way up to ignitions.

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Sven in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

85 months ago

Impressioning is a worthwhile locksmithing skill to develope.
Sometimes it may be necessary to progress the unknown cuts on a key that you may be fitting.

As far as practicing with cam locks....If they are wafer tumbler,Practice "reading" the tumblers rather than trying to impression them. This is another usefull skill that you need to learn.
Incidently, Obtain a good "impression"file which is round or if you like the style look into a "Pippin file" from one of the locksmith supply houses. These are "locksmith files" which make a nice fine cut.
If you want to fit your first key by impressioning I would suggest trying a used mortise cylinder. The tumblers are larger diameter than a pin tumbler cam lock and the cylinder will hold up to more abuse as you are practicing. you can clamp it in the vise nice and secure.
And if you wish you can dump out some of the tumblers to make it a little easier till you get the hang of it.

Newbies have a tendency to twist hard on the key blanks and break them off but you can always push them out from the back with a paperclip or pick. Pin tumbler cam locks are usually closed in back.
As far as using ignition cylinders.....stay away from all pin and wafer tumbler ignition switches for now.....

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Creston Riley in South River, New Jersey

83 months ago

Drew in West Hills, California said: How important is impressioning? I just finished a couple of locksmith correspondence courses and the only thing that is really frustrating me is impressioning. Is it something I should put a lot of time into learning or are there other ways around it? Is it a part of the job that is a must to know? Thanks for your time.

Another tip, try different spectrums of light; ex. yellow, white, natural... etc.

with wafer/disk tumblers try rocking the blank in a figure 8 rotation & always remember to keep a level bump when impressioning.
for some of the trickier combos *pin tumbler only* a short tap on the bottom of the key bow with a larger screwdriver always helps when reaching those "finishing marks" that almost bullet looking mark.

also remember to "reset" the lock, or giggle it so all pin tumblers drop back into the normal locked position.

remember to study the increments of whatever lock your trying to impression. it helps as to how much meat you have to shave off the blank until reaching the next shearline. *works best with newer locks*

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Darrell

80 months ago

Impressioning is fun and frustrating. So far I have done cam locks, standard pin door locks, 10 cut ford and volkswagons, even bit and barrels on old cradenzas and cloke cabinets. It is like picking a lock, some are easy and some well, you just have to chew some gum

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Stan in Denver, Colorado

78 months ago

what is the difference between ford 10 cut and ford 8 cut , what do these numbers mean

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Sven in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

78 months ago

The quantity of tumblers used for the particular lock series.

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chopper in New York, New York

76 months ago

Stan in Denver, Colorado said: what is the difference between ford 10 cut and ford 8 cut , what do these numbers mean

the 10 cut has 10 cuts in the key (or 10 tumblers in the lock). the 8 cut has 8 cuts (or 8 tumblers).

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Ron Ayers in Simpsonville, South Carolina

73 months ago

I run a car lot that specializes in vintage and collectible automobiles, I would like to purchase a set of master keys for fords and GM cars form the 50's to the 70's. Many years ago, I borrowed a set of Ford master keys from a locksmith to unlock a Ford that I had, I do not remember what. This set of keys had one cut on one side and another cut on the other side. I would like to find a set of these and a set of GM Master keys also if there is any such thing out there.
Thanks a million for anyone's help

Ron Ayers
www.classiccarsofsc.com

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bobk in Auburn, Washington

68 months ago

Ron Ayers in Simpsonville, South Carolina said: I run a car lot that specializes in vintage and collectible automobiles, I would like to purchase a set of master keys for fords and GM cars form the 50's to the 70's. Many years ago, I borrowed a set of Ford master keys from a locksmith to unlock a Ford that I had, I do not remember what. This set of keys had one cut on one side and another cut on the other side. I would like to find a set of these and a set of GM Master keys also if there is any such thing out there.
Thanks a million for anyone's help

Ron Ayers
www.classiccarsofsc.com

There is really no such thing. There are keys known as jiggle keys but they don't always work. I see too many small car lots that find a key thats "close" with a little wiggling and they pass that on to thier customer. Eventually those type of keys quit working and a good copy cannot be made. Do your customers a favor and do the right thing. Have a good locksmith make keys for your cars or take the locks out and take them to a locksmith.

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bobk in Auburn, Washington

68 months ago

Drew in West Hills, California said: How important is impressioning? I just finished a couple of locksmith correspondence courses and the only thing that is really frustrating me is impressioning. Is it something I should put a lot of time into learning or are there other ways around it? Is it a part of the job that is a must to know? Thanks for your time.

Impressioning is a skill. It's also an art. Learning to impression properly can save time. But too many so called locksmiths learn to impression and stop there. Always remember there are several ways to fit a key to a lock. Some of those methods are quicker, easier, and more accurate. A true locksmith knows this and with experience learns which methods work best for different types of locks.

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Sven in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

68 months ago

Take the time to learn the skill. There are some locks out there that are not feasible to be taken apart.
No one method you learn will cover all of the variations of locks.
I see a lot of wannabe locksmiths try to substitute a useless expensive gadget to take the place of a skill.
If you want to be a locksmith....... Learn the skills.

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Sven in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

68 months ago

The keys for the vintage GM cars you are referring to were known as "tryout" keys. These keys were cut in between the normal B&S depths for General Motors.
These keys were never meant to be duplicated for the customer to use. They gave the locksmith a way to unlock the cylinder to remove it from the housing or to give a starting point for decoding a proper key.
You could also buy Chrysler "tryout" keys.
Years ago we didn't need Ford "giggle" keys because we could pick the cylinders or impression the ignition locks.

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mikerichardson@operamail.com in Pinellas Park, Florida

68 months ago

Drew in West Hills, California said: How important is impressioning? I just finished a couple of locksmith correspondence courses and the only thing that is really frustrating me is impressioning. Is it something I should put a lot of time into learning or are there other ways around it? Is it a part of the job that is a must to know? Thanks for your time.

I have been a locksmith in florida for 10 years and I will tell you impressioning is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the key making process and is absolutly essencial,And is easy if shown how.I have made lots of keys on cars that other locksmiths said could not be done.I could problably tell you how to do this easily.

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Creston Riley in South River, New Jersey

59 months ago

Ron Ayers in Simpsonville, South Carolina said: I run a car lot that specializes in vintage and collectible automobiles, I would like to purchase a set of master keys for fords and GM cars form the 50's to the 70's. Many years ago, I borrowed a set of Ford master keys from a locksmith to unlock a Ford that I had, I do not remember what. This set of keys had one cut on one side and another cut on the other side. I would like to find a set of these and a set of GM Master keys also if there is any such thing out there.
Thanks a million for anyone's help

Ron Ayers
www.classiccarsofsc.com

what your looking for is tryout keys (GM: 25 per box, with 5 boxes *if i remember right... i do not think that ford makes them.)
i do not know off hand if they still sell them. but you might be able to find them at which ever lock distributer is closest to you. or old lock shops maybe looking to rid themselves of their old boxes. good luck buddy.

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Creston Riley in South River, New Jersey

59 months ago

Sven in Milwaukee, Wisconsin said: The keys for the vintage GM cars you are referring to were known as "tryout" keys. These keys were cut in between the normal B&S depths for General Motors.
These keys were never meant to be duplicated for the customer to use. They gave the locksmith a way to unlock the cylinder to remove it from the housing or to give a starting point for decoding a proper key.
You could also buy Chrysler "tryout" keys.
Years ago we didn't need Ford "giggle" keys because we could pick the cylinders or impression the ignition locks.

haha i guess i should've read a little farther down the page before i replied to ron...

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