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«A DICTIONARY OF LOCKSMITHING By KEITH MAYERS Keith A. Mayers San Diego, CA A Dictionary of Locksmithing ii. NOTE: The user will find information ...»

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SIDEBAR CYLINDER – A disc tumbler cylinder with a springloaded V-shaped metal bar along its side which falls into notches in the disc tumblers, when the correct key lines them up, to allow the plug to turn. Sidebar cylinders are used extensively on General Motors automobiles. A spring-loaded sidebar is also used on some pin tumbler cylinders, such as the high security Medeco cylinder, to add an extra resistance to picking.

SIDEBAR TUMBLER – A disc tumbler with its gate on the side to accept a bar, called a sidebar, which blocks the shear line.

SIDE MILLING CUTTER – A thin key machine cutting wheel with cutting edges on both the bottom and the side edges, for cutting cylinder keys and flat steel keys. Also called a side mill slotter. See also milling cutter, rotary file cutter and slotting cutter.

SIDE MILL SLOTTER – See side milling cutter.

A Dictionary of Locksmithing SILL – The bottom horizontal member of a door or a window frame.

SIMPLEX KEY SECTION – A individual key section which is not part of a multiple key section system.

SINGLE ACTING TUMBLER – A very inexpensive lever tumbler which need only be lifted high enough to free the lock bolt and which can be lifted too high without resecuring the bolt. See also double acting tumbler.

SINGLE-BITTED KEY – A standard key with key cuts along only one edge of the key blade to work a single set of tumblers. See also double-bitted key.

SINGLE BOLT LOCK – A lock with one bolt, usually a deadbolt.

SINGLE D PUNCH AND DIE SET – A punch and die set for cutting D-shaped holes to accept cam locks which are round except for a single flat area on their circumference. The flat prevents rotation of the lock housing. See also double D punch and die set.

SINGLE HORN LOCK – A lever tumbler safe deposit lock with one keyway tube, called a horn, projecting out the front of the lock, to accept both the renter’s key and the guard’s key.

SINGLE THROW LOCK – A lock for which one complete turn fully extends its bolt.

SKELETON KEY – A key for warded locks with as much of the bit as possible cut away so that the key will clear the wards in several locks and yet still retain enough of its metal to lift the tumblers and move the bolts. Also called a pass key.

SLAPPER – Another name for a body puller.

SLEEVE – That part of a key micrometer which is attached to the frame and which has a scale in divisions of twenty-five thousandths of an inch. See also anvil, spindle and thimble. Also, a thin metal ring, with a thicker section which forms a locking lug and which has chambers to hold pins. The sleeve encircles the plug of an interchangeable core, forming a second, separate shear line called the control shear line. See also interchangeable core cylinder. Also, a knob shank.

A Dictionary of Locksmithing 63 SLIDE – Another name for the sleeve of an interchangeable core cylinder.

SLIDE BOLT – Another name for a surface bolt.

SLIDER – A lever which slides, either between or on guides, instead of swinging on a pivot. The lever has a notch which the key engages, and lifts, and a slotted post hole which allows the lever to move horizontally. Also called a sliding lever or a slider lever.

SLIDING LEVER – Another name for a slider.

SLOPE – The side of a cylinder key keycut which is angled to permit easy entry and exit of the key into and out of its keyway.

SLOPE ANGLE – The number of degrees which the slope of a cylinder key keycut departs from a line perpendicular to the edge of the key blade and drawn through the center of the key cut. Standard slope angle is fifty degrees. The included angle is 100 degrees.

SLOTTER – A key machine equipped with a slotting cutter to make rectangular key cuts in flat steel keys for lever tumbler locks. Also, the cutting wheel for such a key machine. See also slotting cutter.

SLOTTING CUTTER – A thin key machine cutting wheel which cuts straight into the metal of a key like the blade of a circular saw and makes rectangular cuts on flat steel keys. Also called a slotter.

See also milling cutter, rotary file cutter and side milling cutter.

SNAP RING – A circular mechanical fastener with a small gap to allow it to spread apart and slip onto a shaft, and then spring back to its original shape to stay in place. Also called a split ring.

SOCKET – The lock fitting which is fixed to a door frame or mortised into a floor to receive the extended section of a bolt. Also called a floor socket.

SOLID CASE PADLOCK – A padlock with a body made from a single piece of metal machined to accept the moving parts.

SOLID WARD – A type of bridge ward with a combination of wards made of solid metal and fixed to the bridge.

SPACER – A thin disc, shaped like a lever tumbler, placed between each changeable lever tumbler to prevent any jamming from the posA Dictionary of Locksmithing sible separation of detents and sweeps. Also called separator disc or spacing washer.

SPACER KEY – See depth key.

SPACING – The location of each cut along the blade of a key, measured from the shoulder or, more rarely, from the tip of a key. The spacing is determined by the location of each tumbler in a lock. Also, the distance between the center of a lock’s keyhole and the center of its spindle hole.

SPACING CHART – See depth and spacing guide chart.

SPACING COLLAR – Another name for cylinder collar.

SPADE DRILL BIT – A wing-shaped, flat drill bit with a pointed tip used in an electric drill for cutting medium sized holes in wood and other soft materials.

SPANNER WRENCH – A wrench used with round nuts and other nuts which a standard wrench will not grip. Spanner wrenches are usually made out of two pieces of steel, pivoted at one end for adjustment, with pins at the other end of each arm which fit into holes in the nut to permit tightening and loosening. Spanner wrenches are sometimes a single piece of steel shaped like a half circle with a hook bent into one end to catch a notch in the nut and a handle shaped out of the other end.

SPINDLE – The usually square shaft which fits through the hub in a lockset to work the latch and on which the handles or knobs are fitted. Also, the threaded rod which connects the dial and the drive cam of a combination lock. Also, that part of a key micrometer which is attached to the thimble and which screws into the frame.

SPINDLE SPLINE – A piece of metal fitted lengthwise into a spindle and projecting beyond the circumference of the spindle to prevent independent rotation of the spindle and of the various parts which fit on it, such as the dial.

SPIROLOX WASHER – A type of retaining washer for a combination lock formed into a spiral like a coil spring.

SPLINE KEY – A metal insert which prevents independent rotation A Dictionary of Locksmithing 65 of the drive wheel and the dial on a combination lock by keeping the drive wheel from unscrewing from the dial spindle.

SPLIT HUB – A two-piece hub for separate inside and outside control of certain lock functions and of the knobs of a mortise lockset.

SPLIT PIN MASTER KEYING – The standard method of pinning the cylinders in a master key system by using small master split pins to allow the various change and master keys to work in their appropriate cylinders.

SPLIT RING – See snap ring.

SPLIT SPINDLE – A special spindle used in mortise locksets with one knob and an entrance handle.

SPOOL DRIVER – A top pin shaped like a spool, used in place of a regular top pin in a high security pin tumbler lock to hinder picking.

The inside edge of the spool rim is prone to become trapped at the shear line preventing the plug from turning. Also called a mushroom driver, a mushroom pin or a mushroom tumbler.

SPRINGBOLT – A bolt which is driven out of its retracted position by a compressed spring as soon as its handle or key is released.

Also called a latch, a latchbolt or a beveled bolt, SOMETIMES a springlatch.

SPRING LOCK – A lock which opens with a key but closes automatically as soon as the key is withdrawn.

SPRING RETAINER – A piece of metal used to hold the tumbler springs in their chambers in a pin tumbler lock. Spring retainers take a number of different shapes depending on the maker of the lock.

SPRING STEEL – A variety of steel with more carbon than ordinary mild steel to allow hardening and extra springiness when heat treated or cold drawn.

SPY-PROOF DIAL AND RING – A special combination lock dial with a dial ring which covers all but a small portion of the dial so that no one but the operator can see the dial.

STACK – See pin stack.

STAINLESS STEEL – An alloy of iron, chromium and nickel A Dictionary of Locksmithing which, in addition to being rust resistant, is harder than ordinary mild steel.

STAKING – A technique for holding a spring retainer in place by slightly deforming the surrounding metal of the shell. Many spring retainers are designed so that they do not have to be staked.


STAPLE – A box-like strike for the bolt and latch of a rim lock.

Also, the U-shaped link over which the slotted portion of a hinged hasp fits. Also, any wire or rod bent to a U shape.

STEEL – An alloy primarily of iron and carbon which comes in hundreds of varieties depending upon the proportions of its various ingredients.

STEERING WHEEL PULLER – A tool for easy removal of automobile steering wheels, similar in function and design to a gear puller.

STEM – Another name for the post of a bit key.

STEP – A key cut on the outer edge of the bit of a lever lock bit key STILE – A vertical member of a paneled door.

STILEMAKER WRENCH – A type of spanner wrench used for removing a screw-in rose when taking apart certain cylindrical locksets.

STOP – The button on a lock which either deadlocks the latch, holds the latch in or prevents the outside handle from withdrawing the latch. On a mortise lock the stop consists of two buttons recessed into the face plate below the latch, called control buttons. On a night latch the stop is next to the thumb turn. Also, a key stop.

STOP GROOVE – The groove in a paracentric key cut to match the keyway ward which stops the bottom pins from dropping lower than the tip of the key.

STOP PIN – A pin in a padlock which holds the heel of the shackle in place when the padlock is open.

STOP WORKS – The stop buttons, also called control buttons, together with the mechanism of a lock, which deadlock the latch to A Dictionary of Locksmithing 67 keep the outside handle or knob from retracting it.

STOREROOM FUNCTION LOCK – A lockset in which both knobs work latchbolt; outside key or inside turnpiece work deadbolt.

STRIKE – A metal piece secured to a door jamb to accept a lock bolt. The common strike has a bent lip to guide the bolt of the closing door, is mortised into the door jamb, and has a hole punched in it and a deeper mortise behind the bolt hole to make room for the bolt. Also called a striking plate or a keeper.

STRIKE BOX – A box either pressed out of metal and mortised into a door behind the strike or formed as part of a strike behind the bolt hole to enclose the bolt.

STRIKE LOCATOR – A template for accurately marking the position of a strike.

STRIKE REINFORCING – A plate or tab for extra strength to which a strike is attached in a door frame or in the inactive door of a pair of double doors.

STUMP – A post fastened to a lock perpendicular to the case back.

One type of stump is more commonly called a fence.

SUB-MASTER KEY – A low level master key which controls sixteen or fewer cylinders in a large master key system.

SUFFOLK LATCH – A keyless door fastener with a pivoted lever latch lifted by a thumbpiece, often used as a gate latch. See also keep.

SURFACE BOLT – A sliding bolt, pushed by hand, mounted on the surface of a door. Also called a slide bolt.

SWEEP – The lower lever of a safe deposit lock changeable tumbler with a lift radius to ease the turning of the key. See also detent.

SWING – Another name for hand, as in handing of doors. See handing of doors.

SWINGING LATCHBOLT – See anti-friction latch.

SWISS PATTERN FILE – A finishing file with very fine, precise teeth which comes in many shapes and sizes. The American pattern file has coarser teeth and is made to less exacting standards than A Dictionary of Locksmithing the Swiss pattern file. Swiss pattern files are essential for efficient impressioning of keys.

SWIVEL SPINDLE – Two lengths of spindle joined in the middle so that one end can be rigid while the other end is free to turn.

SYMBOL – One of the sets of letters and numbers used on keys and cylinders in master key systems to tell the user the exact function of the key or cylinder in the system. Also called a key symbol.

See key set. For example, M - master, GM - grand master, GGM

- great grand master. Master keys often carry two letters, one to identify their grand master, the other to identify their series of locks.

The symbol A is often used for a grand master key, with AA, AB, AC, etc., representing master keys controlled by A. Change keys would then be AAI, AA2, etc., and ABI, AB2, etc., and so on. Another grand master key in the same system would be designated B, a third would be C, and so on. The prefix X on a cylinder indicates crosskeying. Some other symbols are SKD–single keyed different (not opened by master keys), KA–keyed alike.

SYMMETRICAL DOUBLE WING KEY – A double wing key with both bits identical so that the key is reversible.

TAIL – See bolt tail.

TAILPIECE – The bar at the rear of a rim cylinder to transmit the turning motion of the key to the locking mechanism. Also called the connecting bar.

TALON – The notch in the bolt tail which the key or other rotating member engages to move the bolt.

TANG – The section of a file without teeth which fits into a handle.

TAP – A tool with external cutting threads to cut internal threads in a hole.

TAPER PIN – A pin made from cold-drawn steel drill rod and press fitted into holes which have been drilled for access in safes and safe deposit box doors. As the name implies, a taper pin has a large diameter at one end than at the other end.

A Dictionary of Locksmithing 69 TEETH – File teeth. Also, the angular projections along the blade of a saw whose edges are sharpened for cutting.

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