Blue Dog Keys, the Odd Key Source

Dec. 1, 2006
If you need a common, an unusual, an odd or hard to find foreign or domestic key, do you know where to start the search?

Do you need one key, five keys, 10 keys or more? Do you need an acorn, a bluegrass, a camel, a dorey, an eagle or a fury key? How about a genie, hyster, invincible, linda-vista, mobella, rex, spice or a wright key? Do you need a paracentric, bit, barrel, tubular, half-round, round, dimple, square, flat-bladed, four-bladed, triangular or a rectangular key? Do you need a gold key, a nickel-silver, brass, steel or iron key? If you need a common, an unusual, an odd or hard-to-find foreign or domestic key, do you know where to start the search?

The answer may be Blue Dog Keys, located in Altamonte Springs, Fla., on the web at, telephone 800-667-1106 or Fax 1-407-774-6054.

Liam Gribben, President and CEO of Blue Dog Keys, has been in the key business for over 25 years. He began by selling keys out of a car to locksmiths and key cutters in New England. Today, Liam oversees a service that specializes in selling the unusual or the hard-to-find key that major suppliers may not have in stock.

Blue Dog Keys claims to have every key in the ILCO key catalog in stock. They also carry a large assortment of golf cart, outdoor commercial construction equipment, electric switch, boat, freezer, and United Kingdom castle like keys, almost too many different types of keys to describe. Many of the keys may be seen at the Blue Dog Keys website.

Blue Dog Keys has contacts throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. If Blue Dog Keys does not have a needed key in stock, but it is available from a domestic source, don’t be surprised if you are directed to that source. It is this co-operation between sources which keeps locksmiths throughout the country supplied with the keys they need, when they need them.

If Blue Dog Keys has the key in stock, then it is usually en-route to you within 24 hours. If Blue Dog has to order a key from a local source, then it may take a week for the key to get to you. If the source is in Europe, then it might take 10 days to two weeks for the key to arrive. If the key must be obtained from Asia, then it may take two months for the key to be ordered, obtained and sent on to you. The reasons for this long delay are partly due to the distance involved and partly due to our cultural differences. Finally, if all sources are exhausted, Blue Dog Keys has custom manufacturing sources that can manufacture key from an existing sample or precise measurements.

The beauty of using Blue Dog Keys for your unusual or hard-to-find key blank order is that they speak the language of key and will work doggedly with you to find the correct blank and get to you as soon as possible. The folks you talk to at the big distributors are not all experts in the art of identifying odd key blanks. They often do not have time to do the research necessary to identify the unusual key or they are not interested in the single digit key order.

If you are a new customer to Blue Dog Keys, you will have to establish your credentials. You must be a locksmith to initiate an order. If you are calling from a state which has licensing (Texas, California, North Carolina and Illinois) then you have to fax a copy of your state license number along with a sales tax number and a business letter head. For new customers from non-licensing states, fax your sales tax number and a business letterhead.

Blue Dog Keys strongly recommends that you do not use a telephone call to initiate a search for an odd, unknown or unusual key. This is because everyone’s way of describing a sought after key is different. Here the old cliché about a picture being worth a thousand words could not be truer.

Blue Dog requests you start the search by faxing a drawing of the key. Trace the key in black ink on a white piece of paper. Do both sides of paracentric keys. Sketch in the grooves, both sides if they are different. Include an enlarged cross-section of the key. Identify whether the cross section is looking at the key straight on or looking toward the keyway. To help determine a key’s profile or cross-section, you might try using a key gauge or inserting the key into a cuttle fish. Include any names, letters, numbers and description of logos on the key. For bit, barrel and other unusual or large keys, include dimensions, such as length, width, thickness, etc., anything to help narrow the search. For bit or barrel or tubular keys don’t forget to include the dimension and shape of the inside hole. If you have the capability to digitally photograph the key, send it to [email protected]. Include a ruler or some other type of measuring or scale indicating device in the photograph so the size of the key can be gauged.

Liam visits Europe frequently, attending locksmith and security trade shows, always on the lookout for both new and old keys. Does he feel threatened by the increasing use of electronics to secure places and things? He says, “No, I’m not that in that kind of business. Many of the locks I sell keys for are rare or unusual.” Likewise, he is not bothered by the increasing use of patented, high security keys. He says, “There are many sources for these keys. The manufacturers are selective, and rightly so for security reasons, in choosing their distributors, so I have not sought access to these markets. Furthermore, I believe their prices are usually sensitive to market forces, you know, supply and demand. I deal in the odd and the unusual key, the hard-to-find key.”

Blue Dog Keys does not sell key machines or tools. Blue Dog sells keys and some key catalogs. The basic Blue Dog Key catalog is for sale. It contains ordering instructions, over 30 pages of key pictures and a faxable order form. Contact the Blue Dog at any of the previously given sources or write to: Blue Dog Keys, PO Box 160-006, Altamonte Springs, FL 32717-0006.

Blue Dog Keys is a unique key source run by a unique staff. They claim to have the world’s greatest expertise on keys. So, the next time you are stumped, puzzled or perplexed by a customer’s key problem, contact the key detectives and keep that customer happy and coming back to you. Learn and earn.