West Coast Locksmith Blog

Can a Locksmith Make a Key Without the Original?

by | Apr 3, 2023 | Info Articles

A professional locksmith can make a key without an original key. They use a technique known as “impressioning” to create keys in situations where the original key is lost. West Coast Locksmith features a team of experienced locksmiths who know how to perform key-maker services, including impressioning. We have the tools and equipment needed to make keys, duplicate keys and provide a full spectrum of lock and key-related services. If you need a skilled locksmith in Los Angeles, CA, to make a key from scratch without an original, or if you’re looking for any other type of locksmith service, you can count on us for our proven expertise and fair pricing.

How Can a Locksmith Make a Key Without the Original Key?

As mentioned, trained locksmiths usually rely on a technique known as impressioning to make a key without an original to copy. Certainly, having an original key makes it easier to generate additional keys for multiple types of locks, but original keys can go missing for one reason or another. There are additional methods for producing keys without an original that we’ll explore here.


To fashion a new key from impressioning, locksmiths use a key blank that they’ll cut and file using the appropriate tools and equipment. The locksmith takes the key blank and places it in the lock, turns the pins located in the lock’s cylinder, and creates an ‘impression’ or, rather, the pins create the impression. Then, the locksmith removes the key blank and is able to see what sections of the key require filing. Impressioning generally requires multiple key blank insertions for the locksmith to refine the key and make precise cuts. As you might imagine, the process requires a skilled professional. Imperfect cuts will render the key blank useless. A professional locksmith undergoes training to perform this method of key creation.

Lock Disassembling

Sometimes a lock is simply too complicated for the impressioning technique to work. Fortunately, there are other options for a locksmith to make a key without the original. If the lock is a complicated one or impressioning techniques aren’t working, your locksmith will likely opt to disassemble the lock. Once the lock is disassembled, the locksmith can reverse the pins and cut a key blank to the new configuration of the pins. This technique also requires professional locksmith skills. It’s very easy to damage the pins or locks, so always employ an experienced locksmith like West Coast Locksmith for lock disassembling.

Key Cutting by Code

In some cases, lock manufacturers feature codes for locks and keys. If your lock is stamped with a code, a locksmith can use it to create a key without an original. Key codes can sometimes also be found in lock manuals. The process requires a code-cutting machine and the proper type of key blank.

How Much Does It Cost for a Locksmith to Make a Key Without the Original?

The cost of key-maker service varies depending on how involved the process is to create the key without an original. Making a key by code is not an involved process, so expect the rate to be affordable. Pricing often starts around $35. For a more complicated job, your locksmith will let you know what’s involved and what to expect in terms of cost. Fortunately, making a key without an original is much cheaper than replacing the lock.

For West Coast Locksmith, making keys without original keys to copy is generally a convenient and fast process. Even if you have a complex lock, our locksmith pros can tackle it with consummate skill. Contact us to learn more.

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