Sargent Key Cutting By Locksmith Unlimited

Ted Gula is a locksmith in Wilmington, Delaware, who discovered a problem and set his sights on developing a solution. The problem in this case involved origination of Sargent sectional keys. Sargent uses a special 78-degree angle of cut. In order to operate smoothly, both cut spacing and depth dimensions must be made accurately. When on service calls, Ted Gula wanted a way to originate Sargent keys quickly. He finally decided to develop specialized parts of his own design for the Pro-Lok Blue Punch machine.

The challenges that Ted Gula has overcome during the last few years may be a good lesson for any other locksmith who is considering obtaining a patent for an invention. Costs first involved a patent attorney and several presentations to the patent office before final approval of his idea. Additional costs involved machinists who made specialized parts according to Gula’s plans. Once the patent and machine were finalized, Gula had to demonstrate the usefulness of the device to Sargent and Pro-Lok. Ted Gula has overcome every obstacle.

The Gula patent includes his specialized parts which use the top shoulder of the key for space alignment. Since the top shoulder of the Sargent key positively stops against the surface of every lock plug when inserted, the dimension between the top shoulder of the key and center of the first cut must be precise. Official Sargent dimensioning from shoulder to first cut is .215 +/- .001 and cut-to-cut spacing is .156. Sargent sectional keyways use depth increments of .020. The official Sargent depth for a “1” cut is .330 +/- .002. Some printed material for locksmiths may have a different “1” depth, but according to Ted Gula, .330 is the official Sargent number. The Sargent Blue Punch machine is accurately set for originating keys using the official Sargent measurements.

Sargent sectional keyways consist of standard types such as “L” series & “R” series, Open series such as “H” and “C” plus restricted series. All of these series use the same depth and space setting featured on the Sargent Blue Punch machine. The jaw is not special, so any sectional keyway can be held for originating.

An interesting feature of the Blue Punch key machine is the automatic space positioning. As the handle is pressed downward and released during each cutting stroke, the key vise is automatically moved forward to center the blank at the next space to be cut. This speeds up and simplifies the cutting procedure.

There are three main operating components to the machine: the die carriage which contains the cutting die, the code bar and the cutting handle.

Key punching is most successful when a flat section of the key blank can be in contact with a flat surface often called an anvil. Then, as the die is moved through the key blank, the anvil prevents surrounding areas on the blank from deforming. Sargent sectional key blanks contain a flat surface in the cutting area and are a perfect candidate for key punch origination. However, the flat surface can be on either one side or the other. depending on the Sargent key section. The Blue Punch machine solves this by allowing “L” sectional keys to be inserted on the left side of the machine and “R” sectional keys to be inserted on the right side of the machine.



Move the code bar to a “9” depth. Manually push the die carriage to the left until it stops. The machine is now ready for the installation of an “L” sectional key blank. Install an “L” blank on the left side of the jaw and move the key blank top shoulder against the stop. Press downward on the blank to be sure that it is parallel in the vise jaw, then tighten the blank in place.

The blank is automatically set to the first space on the key. Slide the code bar to the depth number required, then firmly press and release the cutting handle. The key is automatically moved to the next space. Slide the code bar to the next depth number required and repeat the operation. Up to seven spaces can be cut.



Move the code bar to a “9” depth. Depress the cutting handle a number of times until it is as far to the right as possible. The machine is now ready for the installation of an “R” sectional key blank. Install an “R” blank on the right side of the jaw and move the key blank top shoulder against the stop. Press downward on the blank to be sure that it is parallel in the vise jaw, then tighten the blank in place.

“R” sectional keys must be cut from tip to bow. After following the “R” steps above, the key blank is at the seventh space. If the key blank has six spaces, move the code bar to a “1” depth, then press and release the cutting handle once to set the die cutter to the sixth position on the key blank. Originate the key cuts tip to bow. Example: if the code cuts are 112233, then make the cuts 332211. Each time the “R” sectional key is cut, the die carriage will be automatically moved one space closer to the shoulder.

The maximum adjacent cut for Sargent sectional locks is 7. The Sargent depth numbering system extends from 1-10 (0). This means that cuts of 29, 92, 30 & 03 may possibly be found on original Sargent sectional keys. Ted Gula has a display board used at conventions to show how his machine can easily cut keys Sargent keys to the maximum adjacent cuts of 7 allowed by Sargent dimensions.

Sargent sectional keys are almost always used for large master key systems. In order to develop the largest amount of combinations in a key system, wide cut variations from cut-to-cut are often required. Accurate originating of these Sargent sectional keys was a prerequisite when Ted Gula designed the Sargent key punch.



A new Sargent pinning kit has been added to the Locksmithing Unlimited line. Correct Sargent pin lengths are not always available in standard pinning kits. This dedicated Sargent pinning kit by Locksmithing Unlimited contains all necessary pins and springs for rekeying Sargent sectional lock cylinders. Added bins are set aside for Signature bottom pins and hollow drivers for 3rd and 4th positions in Sargent IC core cylinders. Bins for extra parts such as tail piece retainers are also included. The sturdy steel carrying case is designed to keep every pin in its place.

Ted Gula calls his machine the BP201-SGT-L. It is rugged enough to withstand years of key cutting, small enough to carry with you on any job, and simple enough for anyone to use after minimum instruction. Ted Gula knows the locksmith business and he can answer any Sargent key cutting question you may have. Contact Ted Gula at Locksmithing Unlimited: 302-575-0993 or