Locksmith Terminology Buster
Technical Locks and Locksmith Terminology Buster
Whether you are locked out, require your locks to be changed or need another Locksmith service, when calling a local Locksmith you want to be sure that you understand the lock terminology used by the Engineer to avoid any miscommunication.
Generally, the majority of Locksmiths will ask you a few questions about the door and the lock itself whether it’s an emergency or non-emergency situation.
We have put together the following Locksmith terminology buster to ensure you fully understand the terms used by Locksmiths. So when you do require a Locksmith, whether they talk about door lock parts terminology or lock picking terminology, you can be confident that you understand exactly what is being done onsite.
Parts of a Lock
Cylinder Housing – The main body of the cylinder when all of the other components are removed.
Forend – The part of the lock or latch from which the bolts jut, and where the lock is fixed to the door.
Keyhole / Keyway – The hole in which a key is entered to operate a locking mechanism. It is often referred to as a keyway for a cylinder mechanism.
Lever – A flat movable component that is usually moved by the key to operate the lock.
Lever Handle – A part of the lock or latch to operate the spring bolt, often the alternative to a knob.
Lock – A device operated usually with a key which has one or more bolts to fasten and secure.
Lockable Bolt – A bolt that can be shot and locked into position using a removable key.
Locking Latch – A latch with a spring bolt which can be locked and secured by a key.
Lockset – A lock complete with all necessary components.
Mortice – A hole cut into the thickness of a door to receive a mortice lock or latch.
Pin Tumbler Mechanism – The mechanism that operates a cylinder or cylinder pin tumbler lock. It consists of a series of pins differing in length that when the corresponding key is inserted the pins line up to allow for the lock to be operated.
Plug – The housing for the pins of a pin tumbler cylinder.
Wards – Fixed obstacles inside a lock case to stop the use of the wrong key.
Parts of a Key
Blank Key / Key Blank – A incomplete key which has been purposely shaped to enter the keyhole of certain type of lock or latch but cannot operate the lock.
Bow of a key – The part of the key that is held when using the key to operate the lock or latch.
Bit of a key / Key Bit – The part of the key which is specifically designed and shaped to operate the mechanism of a particular lock or latch.
Key – A small device used to operate a locking mechanism.
Mortice Key – A key that operates a lever lock.
Shank of a key – The part on the key that connects the Bow and the Bit.
Skeleton Key – A key designed to fit many different locks by having the interior of the bit hollowed.
Door Lock Terminology
Bolt / Deadbolt – A solid piece of metal that protrudes from the Forend of the lock into the ‘keep’ fitted on the frame.
British Standard / BS3621 – The BS3621 signifies that a lock has been tested by the British Standards Institute and has met all the relevant standards. It is widely recognised by the public and most UK insurers as a sign of quality.
Cylinder – The key operated part of most locking systems. Available in many formats, for example Euro profile, Rim type, Oval.
Double Locking – A function that offers an extra locking facility on top of the standard operation.
Furniture – Any hardware fitted to a door other than the lock itself. Handles, door knocker etc.
Hinge Bolts – Small round bolts that are drilled into the hinge side of a door. They keep the door in the frame when the door is closed. Designed to prevent a door being lifted from its hinges and removed unless open.
Hook Bolts – Similar in principle to dead bolts, although for added security hook bolts pivot out of the case and swing up or down into the frame.
Jamb – The vertical member of a door or window frame.
Latch – Usually found used in conjunction with several other locking points (such as deadbolts).
Master Key – A key that is designed to be able to open more than one lock.
Spindle – A square bar that runs between two handles, passing through the lock body itself to allow the latch to be retracted when a handle is operated.
Suite (Locks) – More than one lock manufactured in sequence or to a specific non-random pattern.
Thumb Turn – A euro profile cylinder in place of the internal Key way to allow easy or quick egress.
Back Plate – A plate that fits directly to the door to provide a solid fastening for the hardware to be fitted to.
Cam Lock – A cylinder type lock that operates a tail to engage with the locking mechanism. Commonly fitted to furniture or basic safes.
Combination / Digital Locks – A keyless lock that uses a chosen combination of numbers or letters to release the lock.
Escutcheon – The plate or guard normally fixed over the keyway of a lock to protect it from the elements and offer an aesthetically pleasing finish.
Face Plate – A plate fitted to the front profile of the lock to provide an aesthetically pleasing finish and information about the lock behind it.
Mortice Lock – A lock that is fitted within a pocket cut into the door. When the door is closed the only visible parts are the keyways from both sides of the door.
Night Latch – A lock operated by a rim style cylinder. The lock is fitted to the back of the door and is operable by use of a handle from the inside. Available in many different sizes and security ratings.
Rim Cylinder – A cylinder used to operate a Night latch.
Sash Lock – Most commonly a mortice style lock that also utilises a latch operated by a handle.
Spring bolt – A bolt which can be pushed back into the lock case manually and will return to the extended position without mechanical assistance.
Snib – The small button or sliding button fitted most commonly to Night latches to allow the latch to be held in position.
Striking Plate – A flat, shaped metal plate that is fixed to the door frame or jamb with multiple bolt holes for which the bolts shoot.
Anti-Snap Cylinder – A cylinder specifically designed to help prevent cylinder or lock snapping. The ABS High Security Euro Cylinder is the only security cylinder currently on the market which has a TS007 3 star rating, SS312 Sold Secure Diamond Accredited and Secured by Design Accreditation combined. Check out our guide on How to Change a uPVC Door Lock Cylinder here!
Lever Mechanism – A lock mechanism consisting of one or more levers. Check out our guide on Fixing a Broken uPVC Door Lock Mechanism here.
Anti-thrust bolt – A type of spring bolt, predominantly found on a Night Latch, that cannot be forcefully pushed back once it has been deployed. It can be withdrawn using a knob or key
Anti-thrust plate – An overlapping metal plate that is fitted to outward opening doors to restrict access to the locking bolts.
Burglar Bars – Steel bars cut to length and fitted to internally to window frames.
Birmingham Bar – A steel bar fitted onto the internal hinged side of the door frame.
Shackle – The metal ‘loop’ at the top of the Padlock that fits through the eye of a hasp.
Closed Shackle Padlock – A padlock which has been manufactured with the shackle (the locking ‘loop’) largely encased within the main body.
Deadlock – A lock that has a square-ended deadbolt that is operated from either one or both sides by a key or internally by a thumb turn.
Door viewer – A device that allows the person inside of a property to view the person on the outside of the property through the door.
Door Closer – A device that closes a door or gate automatically after opening.
Door Chains and Limiters – A small chain that is attached to the door frame which attaches to a track on the door to prevent any unwanted visitors from entering a house after the door has been opened.
Flush Bolt – A door bolt which is flush into the edge or on the face of the door.
Hasp and Staple – A security feature in two parts that secures a door or box. It is the components to which a padlock is attached.
Hasp – The hinged component that is fitted to a door or a box that closes over the staple.
Staple – A looped component in which a padlock it attached to restrict the movement of the hasp therefore securing a door or box.
Shoot Bolt – A bolt designed to bridge the gap between the door and the frame, widely used as extra security.
Sash Jammer – A small piece of metal with a pivoting arm that bridges the gap between the frame and sash of a door or window. This is fitted to help prevent doors/windows from being jimmied open.
Key Safe – A strong mechanical box usually with a digital pad that is fitted externally to a home which is used to secure keys for an external door.
Need a Local Locksmith?
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When using Keytek® local mobile Locksmiths as a customer or business you can expect to receive a 365-day service, 1 hour emergency response time*, friendly DBS checked Engineers, full parts guarantee and a highly trained team to handle your call.