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Locksmithing/Non-Standard Size Pins


Hi James,
Your advice has been extremely helpful and I've now accomplished my task of pinning every lock in the house the same and using the high quality deadbolts and door locks.  My last task was to replace the garage locks and I put on a set of Ilco cylinders which work perfectly.  So now I don't really need advice, but I have a question.

Prior to putting on the Ilco cylinders that you recommended, I had a similar cylinder from C. R. Laurance with a Type C keyway.  I noticed that when I took the pins out (for grins, if you remember me I'm just a curious hobbyist) and measured them with my digital caliper and the pins were not standard Schlage sizes!  I've measured enough pins to know that the tolarance is usually only about +/- .001".  These pins were so odd that they were about half way between the standard sizes.

I know this reinforces your advice to buy quality products, but I'm baffled as to why someone would sell a product with a Schlage Type C keyway with non-Schlage pins.

Hello Chuck,

After market locks use their own tolerances and set their own size requirements. Even though it may be a standard Schlage keyway (C, E, F, etc.), the distance from the shear line to the bottom of the cut may vary depending upon the manufacturer of the lock, not Schlage and definitely not their tolerances.

Schlage pins only work correctly in a Schlage brand lock unless you modify the keys to match the difference between what the lock manufacturer used and standard Schlage. This applies to every brand and keyway of lock.

This is why locksmiths use universal pinning kits. They have pin sizes with .003" or .005" (I only use .003 kits) increments so we can move up or down on the pin to match not only the key but also the cylinder and its possible variations for making the key work properly. We also only use pins manufactured by LAB because they are the best. In fact, LAB makes the majority of lock pins for a number of manufacturers like Schlage, Kwikset, Corbin, Sargent and the like. LAB pioneered the most accurate and efficient way to manufacture lock pins which is why so many locksmiths and lock manufacturers rely on their pins.

Incidentally, lock manufactures were the original Locksmiths. In fact the term Locksmith means one who manufactures locks. I do, however, think that the majority of lock manufacturers have forgotten this and most of the time leave us, the Locksmiths that work on their products, in the realm of the forgotten because they don't seem to care what we think.



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I do not answer Safe or automotive questions. Period. I am knowledgeable in almost every area of Locksmithing. This includes locks, keys, lost keys, residential and commercial lockouts, rekeying, masterkeying, high security locks, access control, electric locks, security cameras and home safety. I have been running an online business since 2004 where I sell all types of lock and security hardware to everyone from apartment renters to business owners to the US government. Before that I started a locksmith service in 1999. I deal with many types of security equipment including high security safe locks, heavy duty padlocks, exit devices, biometric readers, electric strikes, magnetic locks, full surface hinges and I only sell what I personally stand behind 100%. The online business has given me a more in-depth look at the locksmithing industry, helping me to learn more about each and every product that I offer, as well as products I don't have but end up finding for customers to solve any issues they have with security or door hardware.

Please don't submit any automotive or safe questions as these aren't areas that I can help in.


I have been Locksmithing since 1999 and own my own Locksmithing business. I have many years of hands-on experience through the many services I have performed for my customers. I've run my business the way I wanted, treating everyone as I would like to be treated and knowing that any customer could be my last if I didn't perform my locksmithing duties as I had promised.

I have a diploma in Masterkeying, Advanced Locksmithing & Locksmithing from Foley-Belsaw.

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