Lately I have decided to upskill more regularly & get my hands dirty by attending more workshops.

My latest adventure was to Abbotsford Convent to attend a lock making workshop with Aaron Smith of Key Hole Surgeon. His appropriate last name is reassuring that he has this specialised trade in his genes – he is able to open, pick & crack anything that requires a key whether it is an vintage heirloom, antique safe or a stubborn lock. I did ask him if he had assisted in any heists but he remained mum about it!

In this day-long class (that fell on the same day as the fabulous markets in the grounds of the convent) we learnt how to make our very own brass 4 lever padlock and hand cut a key. The parts are from the oldest Australian lock manufacturer, Jacksons and we worked with a dismantled lock consisting of font & back plate, shackle, pin, 4 bank levers & a blank key. We scored, measured, drilled & filed & filed to create a working mechanism unique to each of us.

I have had a longstanding love affair with locks but now knowing the secret inside mechanism of a lock my appreciation of this age old device deepened. I will never again turn a key in quite the same way.

My friends & I enjoyed this so much we have started a Workshop Club. Next one will be Botanical Drawing – stay tuned!

See for the incredible history and continued manufacturing of locks in Australia.
Follow Aaron @keyholesurgeon and find out about his workshops via

Written by Adam TSI Byron — October 28, 2019

Warehouse 3.02 75 Mary Street St Peters 2044
Monday - Saturday 10am-4pm