How to find replacement skeleton keys for old locks?
May 3, 2008 8:56 AM   Subscribe

How would I find skeleton keys for all of the old locks in my house?

We recently purchased a 100 year-old home in Philadelphia and there are dozens of doors (bedrooms, closets, cabinets) with skeleton-key locks. Of course there are no keys, just locks. Having keys for some of these doors would be handy, but I have no idea where to start (other than calling a locksmith). Any suggestions (besides just buying a ton of old keys and hoping to get lucky)?
posted by scblackman to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Almost all old-house skeleton keys are the same, or close enough to work. You don't need to get as lucky as you might think.

Try an antique or junk store. You should be able to get a few for fifty cents or a dollar, or for that matter make a deal with the store to bring back all the ones that don't work.
posted by rokusan at 9:13 AM on May 3, 2008

Here you go.

God, I love VanDykes catalog.
posted by jeanmari at 9:23 AM on May 3, 2008

I tried random keys in mine a few years ago, it didn't work. I took the lock out and brought it to a locksmith. They charged $10 to make a key.
posted by lee at 10:13 AM on May 3, 2008

Most hardware stores or even big home improvement stores likely sell replacement keys. We have an old house too and a few years back the Truevalue hardware down the street had 2 packs of skeleton type keys, two different styles, that both worked in all our locks.
posted by Captain_Science at 11:13 AM on May 3, 2008

If I were to hazard a guess most of them will be the standard sizes (a big and a small) and then there is an in between size. There will be notches and things you'll have to file in but you can do it yourself. You have to be able to take the lock off (Carefully!!).
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 10:04 PM on May 3, 2008

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