Pulp Fiction: Zed's Keys


Active Member

But, I got his keys!

I picked up the "Z" fob from BMF Wallets a while ago and decided that having screen accurate keys to go with it would be a fun and simple project. As most research projects start, I gathered some screen caps and started Googling. I found some eBay auctions for some of the keys, but kept searching for the others. After a while, I had to call my local Key Master, the RPF's Nexus6, to track down the rest. Here's the end result. Note: the "Z" fob in the pictures as scratch built by Nexus6.
Nexus6 Keys 1.jpgNexus6 Keys 2.jpg

If you look at the screen caps, there are at least two versions. Most don't show the Harley key, but clearly it's a part of the set.
Screen Cap 1.jpgScreen Cap 2.jpgDetail 1.jpg

We identified the 5 keys we wanted to find.
  1. Harley
  2. House
  3. Small Master Lock
  4. Small bronze
  5. Barrel

The Harley key is an older model, but quickly found. It was harder getting a good price than finding the correct model.

The house key looks like a standard Kwikset model with a single opening for the key ring. This was the most troublesome key to find, especially after looking at the high-res screen cap. It's a Kwikset look-alike and Nexus6 got really lucking finding them.
Detail 2.jpg

The small Master lock key was found in multiple eBay auctions. There are a few models of the key that are close, but we feel this one matches the best. Of course, being already cut, we had to accept whatever we could find. Oh the agony of having to compromise! :)

The small bronze key is actually oval or so we think. It's the easiest key to find online, but we had no luck locally.

The barrel key was also troublesome in that most of the auctions we found either didn't have the correct handle pattern or were completely plated. After multiple auctions, we only found two keys that were screen accurate. They were already cut, but barrel key patterns aren't as obvious as standard keys so close enough was more than acceptable.

Except for the barrel and Master lock keys, the rest were purchased uncut. Nexus6 used the screen caps to hand cut a template key and took the rest to the locksmith to be professionally cut.

In the end, this was far more complicated than I thought it would be, especially for a small prop. However, once Nexus6 got going, pride was on the line!

Nexus6 Keys 1.jpg

Screen Cap 1.jpg

Screen Cap 2.jpg

Detail 2.jpg

Nexus6 Keys 2.jpg

Detail 1.jpg
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This was an awesome & [mentally] EXHAUSTING project. The first time I really paid attention to the actual keys in a film, was for 'Tron: Legacy', when I decided to try & replicate the exact keys that appeared on Alan's 'FLYNN'S' key-fob (& later completed a successful JunkYard run, offering a partial set of the keys, with identification for for the non-included pieces). Since then, I haven't been able to NOT notice the keys in a given film. So, I was hella-excited when DRBJR approached me about this "Zed Keys" project.

By the time I got involved, he had already completed A LOT of the foot-work in ID'ing/sourcing the keys. He found the vintage Master® lock key, the small brass key, & the barrel key. I just helped confirm the exact model# for the barrel key. A buddy of ours (who is a long-time Harley® enthusiast) put us on the right track for the correct model motorcycle key.

As DRBJR said, the MOST elusive key to find was the Kwikset-style ("House") key. I searched FOR. EVER. for that thing. I even bought a set of metal punches to try & replicate the visible text on a reasonable facsimile of the key (which was a total fail, cuz I could never get the letters/numbers/spacing even *remotely* straight, no matter what I tried).

Then one day, I was roaming through an antique store, & saw a vintage key-cutting machine for sale. Included was an old key-blank carousel with several dozen sets of old key-blanks. Just because, I searched through every key-blank, & my heart almost stopped when I came across TWO of the exact model, screen-accurate key. I asked the owner if I could purchase the two keys, but he declined, stating that the keys were included with purchase of the machine (~$400). IDIOT. Whoever bought that machine would NEVER have missed those two keys, & I had searched for SO long, I'd have paid $20 for the pair (I actually considered stealing them at that point, but I'm all honorable & stuff, so instead, I took photos of the keys & left the store).

A couple of days later, I found an old, decrepit locksmith shop in a nearby town, & just for grins, I went in & showed him the photos I took. He said he would look through his stock & call me if he found anything. I wasn't hopeful, but the next day, he called me & said he'd found a BOX of those keys in an old filing cabinet the back-room. (OMG) I remarked about what a hard time I'd had finding the key, he stated that was likely due to the abundance of other available Kwikset-style keys, & that this particular key had not been manufactured for about 25-years. After more than a year of searching, I felt like I'd completed some kind of [ridiculous] "quest" or something.

So, after cutting the screen-accurate teeth, & putting the sets together, I couldn't have been happier with our results. Sorry for the long read, I'll post some additional beauty-shots of my set this evening. Until then, I reckon "Grace" will be all right, parked out-front...
Did you ever think to make some resin copies of the last 2 elusive keys? It may not be the same, but it could work for someone wanting a set of keys
Thanks! I didn't even think it would be RPF-worthy, but given how hard they were to find, we figured we'd share.

In related news...

I just heard back from BMFWALLETS on Etsy and he said he'll have the "Z" fobs back on his website soon: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BMFWALLET.

Aside from the keys we're offering in the Junkyard, the only other key is an Ilco X102. The cheapest I've seen a single key is $5 in eBay auctions.
Keys received. Very nice indeed! Went ahead and ordered an Ilco x102 key off of eBay to round out the set.

It's funny how cool the smallest prop/prop replicas can be. Excellent work DRBJR!
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