Ever wonder if a master key system would be an effective solution for your home or business? While it may sound a bit complicated, there are effective DIY solutions for creating a master key system. Knowing these solutions is valuable even if you don’t plan to use them. So, what is a master key? And how does a master key work? It’s a pretty straightforward concept that we will explore in more depth below.

A master key is a key that unlocks two or more different locks. Just to be clear, different locks in this case mean locks that would normally require different keys. A master key is helpful because it allows supervisors or property managers to access more than one lock without carrying a pocket full of keys. (AndersonLocks)

On the surface, it sounds like creating master keys is as simple as getting special keys that fit more than one lock on your property. Unfortunately–or fortunately, for security reasons–creating master keys is a little more complicated than that. (HowStuffWorks)

So, how does a master key work? Can you make a master key yourself? Let’s talk about that.

How to Make a Master Key System

In order to implement a master key system, you will need to do more than simply get “master keys” cut. Although, getting new master keys cut is definitely part of the process.

The first thing you will need to do is determine how you want to implement your master key system. Do you want keys that open only a few doors? Most of the doors? Or one or two keys that open every single door on your property?

No matter how many levels of security you intend to implement, you’ll need to go through the following process in order to create an effective master key system.

key - how does a master key work

Re-keying Your Locks

How does a master key work? In order to implement a master key system without the help of a locksmith, you will need to re-key all the locks on your property. If you want to do that by re-keying yourself, here is an overview on how you can do that: (Hunker)

  1. Take meticulous measurements of the keys for the existing locks.
  2. Figure out the smallest value for all the key measurements.
  3. Now you need to start creating the specifications for your master key. You will need to subtract the measurements of the already existing key from the height you want the master key to have.
  4. Put the key in the existing lock and turn to the 3 o’clock position.
  5. At this stage, you will need a kit that will enable you to re-key a lock. Kwikset produces a re-keying kit you can get from retailers. Use this kit to make the proper measurements necessary for designing the changes to both the lock and the key.
  6. After measuring the key, remove the key from the lock.
  7. Use the retaining key from the kit to keep the tumblers in the lock in the unlocked position.
  8. Remove the key carefully, leaving behind the impression of the key.
  9. Reset the pins according to the template you’ve just created.

Now that you have a template that you can use, you will need to do the following-

First, you will have to re-key every lock with a small extra slip of medium within several important tumblers in the lock. Note: There are several tumblers in every lock where you can insert what’s called master wafers. (AimLockandSafe) After adjusting these tumblers with master wafers, it’s now possible to create templates that you can take to a key-smith. From that template, a key-smith can create master keys that will fit your re-keyed locks.

That’s a very brief step-by-step process of re-keying a set of locks on your property. It’s definitely possible to set up a master key locking system yourself. It takes some work and you’ll need to be able to master at least a handful of technical industry tools.

If re-keying your own locks feels like a daunting process, don’t worry. There are plenty of professionals who can do this for you at an affordable price.

Crown Locksmith and Master Key Systems

Crown Locksmith is an Atlanta-based locksmith proudly boasting a 4.8 business rating. Our mobile locksmiths are on call and ready to assess your security system needs. Contact us today if you want to assess what it would take to implement a master key system for your commercial or residential property. We can help you understand how a master key works so that you are comfortable with the process. Our mobile locksmiths will assess your security needs and determine the most effective way to implement a master key system on your property. If you’re looking for a reliable Atlanta locksmith, Crown Locksmith is at your service.