FAQ Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Where is your shop? What are your hours?


A: 1229 W 7th Ave in Eugene, on the left between Polk and Tyler. Normal business hours are 9:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday and 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday.


Q: Are you open 24 hours?


A: Emergency service is available 24 hours, but it will cost more. Please don't call outside normal business hours unless it is an emergency.


Q: Do you take checks? Do you take credit cards?


A: Yes we take checks; they are very convenient for us. Yes we can process credit cards on site, but the bank charges fees for that and we don't get the money for a few days. We also accept payment through PayPal, which is very secure but not as convenient. An internet connection is required. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use the service, but the website will ask you for your email, name, address, phone number, credit card number.


Q: What is a "service call"?


A: When we come to your house or your car, that's a service call and it costs money just to show up. The fee is often called a "trip charge". You might think of it as a fee for renting the van and a driver for the time it takes to drive to your house and back. Most jobs consist of three parts: the service call, the parts, and the labor.


Q: How much does a service call cost?


A: During normal business hours, the trip charge is $50 for most of Eugene and Springfield. Other locations cost more depending on the distance. All service calls are more expensive after hours and on weekends. In many cases, the trip charge is more than the labor. For example, rekeying one deadbolt costs $50 for the service call, $12 for the labor, and $2 for the key.


Q: Do I really have to pay the trip charge? Can't you just stop by when you're in the neighborhood?


A: It really isn't fair for us to charge your neighbor for a service call and then give you a free one. You have the option to bring your locks into our storefront at 1229 W 7th Ave so you don't have to pay for a service call, but then you spend your own time and gas money and you have to do the work of taking the locks off the doors.


Q: What does rekeying mean?


A: Most pin tumbler locks have five or six pairs of tumblers in each cylinder. Rekeying is a process of replacing or rearranging the tumblers so the old key won't work anymore. This is a good idea when someone has a copy of your key who shouldn't, like a former employee.


Q: Can any two locks be rekeyed so they use the same key?


A: Usually only if the locks are the same brand. A good rule of thumb is this: if eachkey will go into the other key's lock (but won't turn), the locks can probably be keyed alike.


Q: Didn't you used to have a shop on River Road?


A: No, that was Emerald Safe and Lock, which is no longer in business because the owner died in 2006.


Q: Are you Ruiz's Lock & Key with a new name?


A: No. Ruiz's Lock & Key, Inc and Emerald City Locksmith have always been two separate business, with different CCB numbers, different phone numbers, and (until August, 2010) different addresses. On August 16, 2010, Ruiz's Lock & Key, Inc went out of business and Emerald City Locksmith moved in to their former location on 7th Avenue.


Q: How can I reach the previous tenant of 1229 W 7th Ave?


A: You can search for Brett Rodine on and find him that way.


Q: I had a key copied at the hardware store and it doesn't work. Why not?


A: Hardware stores often have machines which aren't properly calibrated, operated by people who have very little training. It's not surprising that the results are frequently inaccurate. Most locks have a tolerance of up to 5 or 10 thousandths of an inch. If your original key was accurate and the copy is off by 7 thousandths, it will probably work. The problem may not show up until you try to make a copy of the copy, and find that it is now off by 14 thousandths. You get better results copying from the original and having your keys cut by a professional locksmith.


Q: I don't have an original key; all I have are copies and most of them don't work. What can be done?


A: It may be possible to determine what your original key looked like and create a new one using what's called a code machine. Rekeying the lock may be another option.


Q: What's a "master"?


A: I know at least 5 correct uses of that word in locksmithing, plus 2 incorrect uses.:


Master is a brand name. The Master Lock Company makes several types of locks, but they are famous for padlocks.

Several different locks may be combinated to operate by their own individual keys plus a master key.

The situation described in #2 is called a master key system, and the process itself is called master keying.

Many automobiles come brand new from the factory with two keys: a valet key, which will open the front doors and start the car but will NOT open the trunk or glove box, and a master key which will operate all the locks on the vehicle.

A master locksmith is a locksmith who has wide-ranging knowledge in many areas of locksmithing, has many years of experience, and is prepared to teach apprentice locksmiths. To earn the title of Certified Master Locksmith from ALOA requires passing scores in the 10 mandatory categories plus 23 electives. As of July 1st 2010, there are only four Certified Master Locksmiths in the state of Oregon. One of them is the owner of Emerald City Locksmith.

Customers often distinguish original keys from copies by calling the original the master. This is incorrect. The correct term is original key.

A key which operates several locks might be called incorrectly called a master key when, in fact, the locks are simply keyed alike.


Emerald City Locksmith at 1229 W7th Ave, Eugene, OR, 97402.