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Old 02-16-2017, 09:58 AM
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Default KEYS: how to find out what they go to?



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So, my hubby never threw anything anyway.

I have a pile of keys that I'm trying to figure out what they go to. Some I recognize as padlocks we used to use; some I recognize as house or garage keys - from YEARS ago.

Some LOOK like they might be for safes, or tool cabinets.

I've already done one run through of actually trying keys in different things and labelling them. This batch is the left-overs.

Is there anything online that would let me search for what the key might've BEEN for?

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Old 02-16-2017, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacajawea View Post
So, my hubby never threw anything anyway.

I have a pile of keys that I'm trying to figure out what they go to. Some I recognize as padlocks we used to use; some I recognize as house or garage keys - from YEARS ago.

Some LOOK like they might be for safes, or tool cabinets.

I've already done one run through of actually trying keys in different things and labelling them. This batch is the left-overs.

Is there anything online that would let me search for what the key might've BEEN for?

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There is one sure way to find out.

Throw them away. Destroy them. Sell them for scrap metal.

No sooner than you do this, you are certain to find a lock that - if you only hadn't gotten rid of them - one of those keys would have fit. Something you didn't think of, like Grandpa's hunting cabin, or Aunt Ethel's garage. But you'll look at that lock and just KNOW that one of those keys would have fit it.

Don't ask me how I know...
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacajawea View Post
Is there anything online that would let me search for what the key might've BEEN for?
You could try looking at key blanks that match and what they are used for, brand stamps on the keys etc.

http://www.hykokeys.com/uploads/file...nt_catalog.pdf,

Really though, . . . . probably not.
 
Old 02-16-2017, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grotius View Post
there is one sure way to find out.

Throw them away. Destroy them. Sell them for scrap metal.

No sooner than you do this, you are certain to find a lock that - if you only hadn't gotten rid of them - one of those keys would have fit. Something you didn't think of, like grandpa's hunting cabin, or aunt ethel's garage. But you'll look at that lock and just know that one of those keys would have fit it.

Don't ask me how i know...
^^^^^ This.
Old 02-16-2017, 10:07 AM
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https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...70&FORM=IDBQDM

All this will do is help id the manufacturer.

From there you will have to figure out if the manufacturer makes certain locks...
bad example, but KwikSet does NOT make safe deposit boxes.

You have a tough job of trial and error ahead of you and the best you can do is narrow the solutions... a little.

I would keep all NON duplicatable keys just incase someday it hits you what it may go to.

Good Luck.

Perhaps takem to a friendly local locksmith.

Last edited by Walter Tyler; 02-16-2017 at 10:08 AM.. Reason: damn fast typers...
Old 02-16-2017, 04:39 PM
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Grotius, this is exactly why I still have the keys. However, I'm OVER having a bunch of keys that may/may not go to something I still have.
Old 02-16-2017, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Sacajawea View Post
Grotius, this is exactly why I still have the keys. However, I'm OVER having a bunch of keys that may/may not go to something I still have.
Well, there is always bolt cutters, pry bars and cutoff wheels if you find something in need of a key.

Take up lock sports ( recreational/ competitive picking )
Hers one of the threads
http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...t=lock+picking
Old 02-16-2017, 09:12 PM
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if its a original key, either the brand name, Master lock, Brinks, ect will be on the key with a number. key copies, not so much trial and error. If you have some of those all Brass US locks, all it takes to open those is 2 3/4 wrenches back to back. pops the side right out. works on cheaper cast locks as well.

the real important keys, usually have a serial number and and DO NOT DUPLICATE stamped on them., think that brand name was MEDECO they are hardcore locks. coke machine keys, (round toothed) are usually storage cabinets,gun cabinets , ect. second level security.
Old 02-17-2017, 01:52 AM
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Well I'd say consult a locksmith, but that's kind of pricy just to figure out a handful of keys. Locksmiths learn fairly young what KIND of keyway that key fits. My husband can't pass a non-standard lock without peering down its throat, so to say. He stopped to look at the lock on a sliding door at a jewelry store in the mall and the next thing you know security guys are hovering.

First, look at the manufacturer name. Some, like Kwikset and Schlage are almost always common door keys, key-in-the-knob, or dead bolt. The question is WHICH door. The key alone can't tell you that. Car keys almost always say Ford or whichever on it.

Most, if they do not fit any locks you currently have around, I'd toss em. They'll just drive you nuts.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:05 AM
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Lock all those keys in a small box and then hide that key some where you know you'll find it in a few years and not not know where it goes.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:08 AM
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I have the same problem Sacajawea....I'm just putting them in a box for a couple of years. Then I'm throwing them out. I can't believe how many darn keys he had
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:10 AM
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The reason I keep keys is that I find locks they work in (legally) other people comment about needing to open a lock I go get the ring ( it's an 8" diameter ring made of 1/8" brass rod ) and we start trying keys if we find one I give it to them, I've opened several things that way and started one car.
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Old 02-17-2017, 08:37 AM
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My DH never threw anything away, nor did his parents. In addition to 2 homes, I inherited 6 garages/barns/outbuildings packed full of stuff (mostly junk).

I have boxes of keys dating back to the early 40's and some perhaps even prior to that. They hung onto them all these years "just in case" they might need them. At this point I'm certain all the vehicles, file cabinets, file boxes, gun cabinets, padlocks, etc. have all gone to their final resting place. I picked out the older, interesting locks (some of which probably fit the interior doors in the 110 yr old farmhouse) just because I like old stuff. I am going to frame them.

The rest were tossed.
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamppapa View Post
The reason I keep keys is that I find locks they work in (legally) other people comment about needing to open a lock I go get the ring ( it's an 8" diameter ring made of 1/8" brass rod ) and we start trying keys if we find one I give it to them, I've opened several things that way and started one car.
Thats a awfully heavy set of bumps and jigglers.



or you can use a cordless toothbrush and a paperclip.
Old 02-17-2017, 10:22 AM
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Thats a awfully heavy set of bumps and jigglers.



or you can use a cordless toothbrush and a paperclip.
People tend to get paranoid and remember me when I rake or pick even though anyone can do it Like I told a buddy of mine " it's like a super power it's good to have but people get weird when they know you have it." After his daughter picked his cabinet in front of him.

This way I can hand them a key and they feel in control of their lives....again
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:41 AM
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post some pics. I bet we could id lots of them.

I'm not a locksmith but do have a key cutter and worked at a store cutting keys a lot back in the day.

house locks are pretty common styles, same with padlocks. tool cabinets are shorter, PO boxes and others that say do not duplicate are easy to spot. most car keys I could id pretty quickly as well.

I've got some guides that show blanks I can look at as well.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacajawea View Post
...I have a pile of keys that I'm trying to figure out what they go to...
Is there anything online that would let me search for what the key might've BEEN for?
I'd post pics of them somewhere like Imgur, both sides of the keys. But before taking pics maybe cover part of the bitting (jagged part of the key) with a bit of masking tape. No sense in giving up some of your security, as people can be tracked down online sometimes just from vague pics that they posted online. Don't cover it all the way though, sometimes the length of the key and the keyway shape can help identify what the key goes to. The keyway is the shape of the keyhole, which can be determined by looking at the grooves that go down the length of the key on both sides.

There are a couple of forums I know full of hobbyists and professionals who spend an awful lot of their spare time (and work time) playing with, picking, collecting and fixing locks and keys. I've seen them track down even rather obscure stuff.

One is www.lockpicking101.com and the other I'm a half owner of so I won't post a link there as it would be gratuitous self-promotion. But the guys at that link above can probably help a lot.

Some keys are VERY common and it could be for any one of several dozen different types of locks, but others can be very specific. We won't know until we see pics.

Whatever you decide, good luck.
Old 02-17-2017, 06:13 PM
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If she doesn't know where they go and she tried them in all her locks then there's no loss of security. But whatever works for her.
Old 02-17-2017, 07:10 PM
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After about the third time in my life of searching high and low to see what a key fits, not finding it, then getting rid of the key only to later find out what lock it goes to... now I just save all those old keys on a big spare key ring. That way when I find a desk lock, padlock, diary or wooden chest that needs a key, I have a place I can go to start looking.
Old 02-17-2017, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBI View Post
After about the third time in my life of searching high and low to see what a key fits, not finding it, then getting rid of the key only to later find out what lock it goes to... now I just save all those old keys on a big spare key ring. That way when I find a desk lock, padlock, diary or wooden chest that needs a key, I have a place I can go to start looking.
I passed the ring point long ago, im up to multiple cigar boxes full of keys.
Just in case not that long ago i did find a key out of it that fit a python cable lock, that i picked up in a parts lot with no key. key that fit it was from a old silage lock........
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