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“I’ve lost my key. Can you make a key just from the barrel?” We get this question quite a lot, and most people walk away disappointed.

Still, the question is too broad for a simple yes/no answer. See, it depends on two things: (1) the barrel in question, and (2) the size of your wallet.

Easy solutions

In some cases it’s very easy to make a key from a barrel, because the barrel will have obvious clues on. For instance, most lockers and office furniture locks have key numbers written on. This code number is enough for us to make keys from.

In rare cases, door cylinders will have key codes stamped on. This is most often the case with ASSA and Ruko locks.

Unlike the office furniture locks, door lock codes are usually marked on the side of the barrel. This means that, to see the code (if there is one), you would have to take the lock out of the door, something that’s not normally possible without a key…

Without a code number, making a key to suit the barrel is tricky business.

Tricky, but still possible?

There are so many different types of lock out there that it’s not possible to be able to make a key for each lock universally. Still, there are plenty basic locks out there where, yes, it’s technically possible to make keys from the barrel.

But here’s the thing: normally only a so-called ‘bench locksmith’ would do that. That’s a locksmith with access to a workshop in which he can do what it takes to make the key.

For the bench lockie to get to work, he’d need to take the lock out of the door, something that, as I mentioned earlier, isn’t usually possible without a key.

What’s the bottom line?

But let’s suppose you managed to convince a bench locksmith to come out to your door with all his tools. He’s willing to do the job to get your cylinder working. And let’s also suppose that your cylinder is ‘doable’, i.e. it’s not a fancy cylinder with preventative measures built in.

He would spend much more time than it’s worth messing around with a cylinder that ought simply to be drilled or picked open and replaced.

In certain economies it’s always cheaper to have a human being spend hours of their life working as opposed to buying a single fix. In twenty-first century Britain, it’s without a doubt cheaper to get the new barrel in.

I think people ask us often if we can make a key from just the barrel because they’re hoping it’s cheaper than getting a locksmith out. Sadly, that’s not the case. You’re pretty much always cheaper off getting the locksmith to replace the lock.

Use Metrolocks for all you locksmith needs!

We’re a London-wide locksmith firm with over 25 years’ experience, ready to step in at short notice.