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Expert Master-Locksmiths in Scotland: Claymore Lock & Safe Co

We’re always on the lookout to talk to locksmiths about their businesses and find out about their rather interesting lives and career paths. We spoke to Graeme MacDonald of Claymore Lock & Safe Co, proud to be one of the few expert master-locksmiths in Scotland.

The business has premises in Haddington, near Edinburgh, and looks after a popular retail chain, maintaining their masterkey system in over 300 sites in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Graeme explains how he gained a lot of his masterkey experience while working in Kazakhstan, well before the famous Borat movie, but nowadays he focuses on passing his knowledge on to his team of four.

How did this all start?

Graeme explained, “I did my locksmith training with Caledonian Lock & Safe Company and worked at Duncan McLaren’s for three years, before deciding to work for myself.

I applied for a grant through the Prince’s Trust in 1989 that was open to the under 25s. I used the grant to buy a van and worked from a shop in Edinburgh until 1994. I then worked in Kazakhstan until 1997, then I joined forces with a friend who did alarm systems that naturally went hand-in-hand and we opened a premises in 1998. In 2014, we went our separate ways and I continued to trade from my own premises and called my business ‘Claymore Locks & Safe Company’. Although Claymore Alarms is now a separate company, we have a good relationship and share job leads between us.”

The Calling of Kazakhstan

What a strange place to end up, Kazakhstan! Graeme explained, “Kazakhstan is one of the top 10 largest countries in the world, it is known for its architectural marvels, the Caspian Sea, and the wild horses. I was in my shop in Edinburgh and took a call from the head of site security in Kazakstan, who actually lived in Fife. He purchased 12 digital locks and then came back and asked me about masterkey systems. Then we met he offered me a job opportunity working 28 days on in Kazakhstan, followed by 28 days off. I worked for an American oil company and brought an oil field under control through masterkeying over 38,000 locks spread over 6-7 sites. We used the Evva system at the time, and the project took three years to complete.”

Love & Hate

So, what do you love and hate about being a locksmith? Graeme laughed-out-loud and commented, “I love the variety of work is brings. So, one day you could be asked to supply a dog-tag, then the next day a masterkey system, or a safe or have a full-on emergency situation. Last week I was called to rebuild a door after the fire brigade had knocked the door down.

The worst thing is the quality of the products is poor; I’ve seen a real decline in past five years. The problem is that products are made in different countries nowadays, the quality gets worse and the price keeps going up. Finding good quality products is quite a challenge. We specialise in Union, Yale, Assa, Schlage, ABS, ATK, and ERA locks and keys. Door closers and fire exit push bars are the worst for quality issues, I am careful what I buy and I stick to reliable brands.”

Competitive Edge

So, how do you stand out? Graeme explained “I have great passion for the locksmith trade and my 42 years of experience gives us the competitive edge; the amount of knowledge I have gained during my time is invaluable, it just cannot be learned overnight. In today’s times anyone can create a website and claim to be the best in the area, but experience is what really matters.”

Looking forward

When asked about plans for Claymore Lock & Safe Graeme said, “I’m not getting any younger, I want to develop my employees to put them in the position of carrying on the company. I have two on the road.”

Claymore Lock & Safe Co Ltd are experienced locksmiths based in East Lothian serving the whole of the Lothians and surrounding areas. For more information on their locksmith services contact Graeme on 07721 556 653 or email:

More information

Claymore Lock and Safe Co are Master locksmiths based in Haddington covering East Lothian including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife etc.

They offer a range of services including UPVC repairskey cutting, lock outs and emergency 24 hour locksmith. Servicing both domestic and commercial sectors, they specialise in Union, Yale, Assa, Schlage, ABS, ATK, and Era locks & keys.