The Abus Rekeyable Padlock
Many padlock manufacturers offer padlocks that can be keyed like regular door locks. That means you can have a padlock that opens with the same key that opens your house. The Abus model 83/45 is a good quality, modestly priced padlock that offers this feature.
How I Rekey a Padlock
Today a friend needed such a padlock keyed like the door to their shed, so I volunteered to help them out.
First I got out my keying kit. Mine is made by the LAB company. It is what they call a .003 increment pin kit. Pin kits made for use in the United States use pins that are measured in inches. ".003" refers to the difference between each pin size, that is, three-thousandths of an inch.
Using a Phillips screwdriver, I removed the cylinder from the padlock. Although the cylinder has a retaining clip on the back, it needn't be disassembled to be rekeyed, which is a nice feature. Turning the plug about a quarter turn lines the pins up with a slot conveniently cut in the side of the cylinder called a "pinning window."
To allow the plug to turn in the direction necessary to expose the pinning window, the pin that normally keeps the plug from turning in that direction must be gently depressed with the key inserted in the cylinder.
With the retaining pin depressed, turn the key in the direction that will bring the pins in line with the window without allowing the bottom of the plug to pass the 12 o'clock position on the cylinder. At the 12 o'clock position, the top pins will drop into the slot on the bottom of the plug and make what should have been an easy job much more difficult.
The padlock I worked with was shipped with an 0-bitted cylinder. It had a key with no cuts, or what we call a key blank, and all the pins were the same size, size "zero," hence the term "0-bitted." Shown below right is the cylinder with the original pins lined up with the pinning window. Notice they are all even with the surface of the plug. After it is rekeyed it must be that way, too.
To rekey the lock, I dumped the original pins and replaced them with new pins to match the cuts on the key for the shed. When all the pins are inserted, the shed key will also work the padlock. We will be able to say that the padlock and the lock on the shed are keyed alike.
To demonstrate the principle of keying, in the pictorial above I have illustrated the difference between a pin that matches the cut on the key and a pin that does not match the cut on the key. If the pin sinks down below the surface of the plug or sticks up out of the plug, the plug will not turn, and the key will not work. The pins must all be as precisely even with the surface of the plug as possible.
Caution: it is quite easy to ruin a cylinder while rekeying.
For example, if you do not have all the pins inserted and decide to test it to see if it works, the top pins (not shown) will drop into the pin shafts where there are no pins inserted, and you will be unable to get your key out without a fight. If you use pin sizes that are not quite right, the same thing could happen.
Keying is a skill that is acquired through practice and experience, and it's usually best done by a qualified professional.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: How do I rekey an LSDA 1000 padlock?
Answer: I have no experience with LSDA padlocks, and there is little information on their site. Still, there must be directions somewhere. They do have a contact page on their website. Perhaps if you send them an email, they will email you back instructions.
© 2011 Tom rubenoff
I shouldnt play... on January 27, 2017:
Came across this website and thought I would ask a question although I might already know the answer ... so I was playing around with my Abus 83/53 and removed the core (I am not a locksmith nor have I claimed to be (I just like taking things apart)), so long story short... I was able to figure out how to turn the key and expose the ball bearings (ha didnt know they were there) and the pins...
long story short, i lost one ball bearing and a spring but without putting any thought into what I was doing, I turned the key to the lock position ... click!
Is it toast now?
Thanks (and you can stop laughing now!)
Tom rubenoff (author) from United States on January 09, 2014:
Be careful. Locksmithing can be addicting. :)
Thank you very much, Bldmtnman.
bldrmtnman on January 08, 2014:
I wanted to say thanks for helping me rekey about 10 of the Abus locks. These articles
really helped me out a lot. Thanks for putting down on paper your experience, in such a way that a neophyte can understand and execute.
Tom rubenoff (author) from United States on March 27, 2013:
Good luck and please do stop back and let us know about your experience. All the best.
Roknsaw on March 26, 2013:
Thanks Tom. I think I'll try and find a cutaway drawing of this lock or talk to a locksmith.
Tom rubenoff (author) from United States on March 26, 2013:
Best padlock cylinders are figure-8-shaped interchangeable cores. Interchangeable cores are usually part of a master key system and are removed with a special key called a Control Key. The control key causes a lug to retract, allowing the core to be removed. The owner of the master key system to which this padlock belongs would have the control key. In the absence of a control key, it is possible, but difficult, to pick an interchangeable core to the control key combination and remove the core. Alternatively one can use other simple entry methods to destroy the core without harming the padlock. Extraction of the core without harming the housing is a challenging task for most professionals. Your best bet would be to take the padlock to a very good locksmith.
Roknsaw on March 25, 2013:
I have an old Best Padlock 20-30 years. It is unlocked but without a key. How can I rekey it. I can't figure out how to remove the cylinder.
Tom rubenoff (author) from United States on March 24, 2013:
Thank you so much. One of the greatest accomplishments of any writer is to to be told that they helped someone. Thanks again.
Roknsaw on March 23, 2013:
I purchased an Abus 83/45 Rekeyable Padlock on the web. It came without directions. So being eager to rekey it, I went ahead anyway. I alowed the spring loded pin into one of the holes which stoped the process. Thank you so much for the clear directions and photos you have posted. I was able to release the pin by drilling a small hole opposet and releasing it with the back of the same drill bit used as pusher. All ended Well. Thanks again.
Tom rubenoff (author) from United States on February 27, 2013:
Thanks, Brisbanelocksmith! Abus offers the 83/45 in 15 popular keyways. Yale Para keyway is first on the list in the U.S. and Schlage C is third. I chose the Schlage because I needed to key it alike some existing locks. Thanks again!
John Magee from Brisbane, Qld, Australia on February 25, 2013:
They come standard with a Schlage key? in Australia they come standard on a Lockwood style key as it is most common key-way here. Nice info!