Crossing paths
with the law

What if thieves were able to procure spare keys to your home? Can they simply walk up to a keysmith and have them duplicate a set of keys, to leave no trace of their presence?

In the tricky profession of a keysmith, the maker always keeps a full record of paperwork for the keys he has made. “I will always verify the documentation from my clients, and only then make keys for them,” said Sashi Kumar, a keysmith in Bengaluru. Having learnt this skill from his father, Sashi has been making keys for the last 18 years. He currently has a small shop in the city with three assistants working for him. The walls of the shop are lined with his wares, each of a different make and shape. From large, old and rusted ones to smaller, newly-made keys that shine when they catch the light—the shop decor serves as a catalogue that a client can choose from, if they desire a simple design.

The job of a keysmith requires a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve excellence, said Sashi. A single wrong dent in the key can lay hours of work to waste, forcing the smiths to begin from scratch. “This profession is really made for someone who is very focused and interested in this kind of work. Some people master the skill in one year and for some, it takes more time,” he explained.

Sashi said that he usually makes keys based on two situations—when a client requires a spare copy or when they have lost their key altogether.

In the first case, he begins by making a detailed study of the key that his client brings to him. He then duplicates the key using his machine. Sashi added that with the introduction of machines in the market, the accuracy of key-making has improved drastically—which is also a promising way to attract new customers.

In case a client has lost their key, they must take their lock to Sashi, who will find or make a key that fits it. The process is similar to the first situation, except, in this case, a detailed study of the lock is required.

Having been in the key-making business for some time now, there have been many instances when Sashi has been approached by the police during their investigation of a new robbery in the area. In that case, Sashi usually shows his paperwork to the police officials, maintaining complete transparency in his work. “This is the most I can do, to be honest. Till now, there has not been a formal way to authenticate the paperwork given by the clients. But there is only so much I can do from my side.”


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