The first key-copy shop turned me away.
“We don’t do keys like this,” the wiry, balding man in a crisp blue canvas apron said as he turned my key over in his hand. “But if you go down the street toward the station, there’s a shop that might be able to copy it.”
The second shop smelled of cut metal when I pushed open the door. Behind the counter, an entire wall of blank keys hung ready for cutting.
“Irrashaimase,” a well-dressed man in front of the counter greeted me. He was looking at some keys on the counter in front of him. I thought he was a customer. Maybe he was the owner. He extended his hand palm up to accept my key.
The man behind the counter, dressed in a faded blue uniform jacket and matching pants, didn’t stir from the order book he was reading. To a man who looks like he’s been cutting keys for forty years, a foreign woman with a key to copy doesn’t merit a glance.
When my key passed across the counter, he closed his book, stood up, walked to the end of the wall and turned a brass handle to reveal a section of hidden storage. More keys!
It took him five minutes just to find the right blank.
Half a dozen options were silently and carefully reviewed, the choices narrowed to two, then one. Even then, the blank had to be adjusted with four passes through a saw to create a wider ward down the side.
Calipers confirmed the size. The man’s tarnished fingers ran over the edge to feel for imperfections. He turned the keys end-on. Something wasn’t right; he returned the blank key to the saw for another adjustment.
Then it was a quick pass through the copier to cut the tumblers. He snipped off the too-long end of the blank and smoothed the burrs on a rotating buffer.
2500 yen.Posted by kuri at October 26, 2004 09:31 AM