What is a locksmith?

A “smith” of any type is one who shapes metal pieces, often using a forge or mould, into useful objects. Locksmithing, as its name implies, is the assembly and designing of locks and their respective keys.
Historically, locksmiths made the entire lock, working for hours hand cutting screws and doing much file-work. Today, the rise of cheap mass production means that this is no longer true and the vast majority of locks are repaired by swapping parts or are upgraded to modern mass-production items.
The majority of locksmiths also work on any existing door hardware, not just locking mechanisms. This includes door closers, door hinges, electric strikes, frame repairs, spy holes, letterboxes and other door hardware.
Although fitting of keys to replace lost keys to automobiles and homes and the changing of keys for homes and businesses to maintain security are still an important part of locksmithing, locksmiths today are primarily involved in the installation of higher quality lock-sets and the design, implementation and management of keying and key control systems.
In terms of physical security, a locksmith’s work frequently involves making a determination of the level of risk to an individual or institution and then recommending and implementing appropriate combinations of equipment and policies to create “security layers” which exceed the reasonable gain to an intruder or attacker. The more different security layers that are implemented, the more the requirement for additional skills and knowledge and tools to defeat them all. But because each layer comes at an expense to the customer, the application of appropriate levels without exceeding reasonable costs to the customer is often very important and requires a skilled and knowledgeable locksmith to determine.

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