Keyboard Organization

Posted by Roger Weitzenkamp, CML - Dolores, CO - USA - Blackhawk Products on January 10, 2002 at 08:29:14:

General guidelines on organizing a keyboard:

Divide the keys into various groups. Some groups may be large and some may be small. You want them to have no overlap. When you see a key, you should almost always know immediately which group it's in. For example:

Residential / Commercial
High Security
Bit and barrel
Flat steel

Residential/Commercial should be grouped alphabetically by manufacturer --- Abus, Best, Chicago, Corbin, etc. Within each manufacturer's group there will usually be a modest number of blanks and you can arrange them any way you want. When there are many blanks by the same manufacturer you can further group them according to wafer- and pin-tumbler classes. Also put the 5-pin above or next to the 6-pin of the same keyway. (If you have many sectional blanks, these can go in a separate Commercial section.)

Put originals adjacent to substitutes, such as 35-100-C next to 1145.

Leave some space after each manufacturer's group for expansion later. You will have to rearrange your board every now and then, but don't want to have to do it too often.

Automotive: It's a slightly different game here. Use logical groups instead of alphabetic --- GM, Chrysler, Ford/Lincoln/Mercury, Nissan/Subaru, Acura/Honda, Toyota, British, and so on.

Rule #1: Keep keyways together. This is very important for saving time, since once you've narrowed down the blank, you can then find any others with different bows, blade lengths, shank lengths, and so on nearby. You might want to add something to mark each distinct group on the same keyway, such as a loop of yarn around the backs of the hooks.

Rule #2: Don't put the same blank on hooks in different locations. You'll just wind up thinking you're out of a blank when you're not, or reordering too soon. Instead, for something like British Leyland, you might put a hook and label for X51 that refers you to the Honda section where you'll find the hook with X51 keys on it. This way each manufacturer's group has a hook for each type of key you'll ever need there, but also all like keys stay together.

Rule #3: Don't arrange blanks according to manufacturer's numbers. They are generally issued in order of date of first manufacture and have little relation to how we need to locate them. Taylor X180 and X186 are almost alike and (if you choose to stock them both) you should have them adjacent. They are unrelated to X181 through X185.

Rule #4: Use a tag at the back of each hook. This tag should include the part number of your favorite source plus other common part numbers. It may include other information, such as a code for price grouping, a referral to another hook, or a reorder point.

Rule #5: Plan the physical layout so that special key machines are near the keys that are cut on them. This will apply mostly to keys such as flat steel, bit and barrel, tubular, high-security commercial, and high-security auto.

Roger Weitzenkamp
Blackhawk Products
"Software that Works for Locksmiths"