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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Thursday, 17 February 2011
Back to basics Locksmithing - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs
Had to open up an antique chest today and make a key for the lock. Very simple warded lock open in about 30 seconds with a well shaped wire.

I love this kind of work, back to basics, locksmithing at its best, working on a handmade lock that some long dead craftsman probably knocked up in his garden workshop. There looks to be a name scratched on the back but i can only make out the letter 'A'

lock restoration

restoring old locks

antique locks

antique locksmith

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:56 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:34 PM GMT
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Sunday, 13 February 2011
Magnetic attacks - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

So as of late, the latest must have tool for your locksmith toolbag is the large neodymium magnet.

Marc Tobias has just released an official document regarding the missing C-clip on certain models of the Kaba simplex combination locks. (a good summary can be found here)

Its an attack that has been known about for quite some time but was most commonly conducted via a small hole in the left hand side of the lock case to allow a pulling wire in and pull the plate manually.

With the increasing availability of high powered magnets almost anyone can perform the ultimate NDE bypass on these locks throwing this vulnerability into the spotlight and will undoubtedly cost the makers a considerable sum of money if not cripple them financially.

Locksmiths: Make sure you order the largest magnet you can afford, I tried using a 50x50x25mm magnet which was not sufficient to pull the plate on the larger unican models, but was fine for the smaller 7000 series.

Other locks worth mentioning here would be the Avocet ABS, currently being heavilly marketed throughout the UK which incorporates a magnetic pin of which is easilly overcome using a small magnet (I use a piece of rubbery fridge magnet) inserted into the keyway above the pinstack or using a magnetised pick blade.

magnetic locks

There are many good sites out there to buy high quality magnets. There are two that i will recommend, as are both cheap and ship quickly:



So, happy experimenting folks and let me know if you discover anything interesting, its a new dimension to lock manipulation and im sure theres plenty of new lock vulnerabilities that remain undiscovered.

ps: Watch your fingers!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:48 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:35 PM GMT
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Friday, 4 February 2011
Sorry its been a while - Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Im sorry its been a long time since i updated the blog iv been incredibly busy both working and optimising my locksmith site to get even more work.

So im routing through my photobucket account to see what iv been upto lately, i forget myself sometimes...

A few weeks ago i had a clearout of all the old locks i had knocking around, i really didnt realise that id saved up so many and have been flogging them on LP101 10 for £12 (free postage),theres still a fair few left if anyone fancies some cheap locks to pick.

I havent done much hobby picking at all lately the last lock i picked was an AZBE cylinder sent to me by Mike at Sheffield Locksmiths, which turned out to be an easy one, i had this lock open in under 60 seconds.

The lock was very sloppy and poorly manufactured making for a very simple pick with little opposition other than the tight keyway of the cylinder.

azbe lock cylinders

Going back even further i managed to pick a DOM (of some description) sent to me by Femurat of LP101. Again not much trouble at all once id worked out where the active side pin was hiding.

dom euro cylinder locks

It might be worth mentioning that iv recently purchased  a load of MT5 padlock corescomplete with reg cards and the plastic retainer which should be a direct replacement for the old classic style padlock. Contact me if you would like one ;-)

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:31 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:36 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Testing the Cyberlock - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

Im sorry it has been a while since i updated my locksmith blog.... My new home and DIY have been keeping me busy.


I recently met with a UK Videx distributor for a demonstration of the Cyberlock.

Im always wary of new technology and the claims made by their sales representitives, however im happy to report that i was quite impressed with what i was shown.


Encrypted lock technology is definately the way forward and is on offer by various companies in different forms; Kaba Locks for example should be a serious competitor offering similar management capabilities with their range of access control products.

Basically these systems now allow the real time management of access to doors/locks/whatever.

The cyberlock is the only product i have seen so far that retrofits existing hardware, making it especially appealing.

videx cyberlock

As with all new technology price is an issue and systems can be very pricey, although could be cost effective for large business customers with massive key collections and management issues.

Its certainly a system id be interested in installing and i hope to deal with the supplier in the future.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:46 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:38 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Multipoint locks flaw - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

I still find it hard to believe that multipoint lock manufacturers still havent effectively dealt with the hole bypass problem that these locks suffer from.

It seems all that is required to unlock the doors is a small hole and a bent wire to act as the cam. (shown here on a Winkhaus lock case)

winkhaus lock case

It seems all that is required to prevent such an attack is a hardplate escutcheon around the vunerable area.

Most of the new range of euro-deadlock lock cases are now supplied with a hardplate escutcheon for this very reason and locks such as the chubb viper deadlock come with considerable protection to prevent this easy bypass.

Others such as the London Line deadlock have a non manipulatable mechanism that can only be unlocked with a tight fitting cylinder. (in fact my cam turner wont even budge them).

Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:10 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:39 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Lock Buying Guide - Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
A new addition to my locksmith wolverhampton website is the 'Buying a lock guide' aimed at customers looking for information on choosing the best lock for their door at the right price.

Feel free to take a look at the site (currently under construction) and i would be greatful for any feedback or ideas to improve what i hope will become a popular resource.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:58 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 20 January 2013 10:26 AM GMT
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Friday, 10 September 2010
Random Experiments - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Lock picking

I have always struggled with the picking of the 7 pin Garrison locks so have been experimenting with various new ideas to open them.

Im pretty sure after my last post its fair to say they will be shimmable like the mt5 was.

Secondly was impressioning.
I had a crude attempt at making up an impressioning key that used a plasticine face in which to sink the pins. I made this by sinking each cut to full depth (and a bit more).

I then filled the rest of the key with soft plasticine and carved the profile back in.


The main problem would be getting the key in the lock unscathed. My method was to stick the key in the freezer for 10 minutes although in a real situation it would be better to use a gas aerosol or similar.

Anyhow once the key was in the lock i left a few minutes to thaw and began the self impressioning wiggling.

I managed to get the lock to false set on 3 attempts meaning there were pins oversetting. The problem with garrisons is there always seems to be high and low pins situated alongside one another making impressioning tough. (this is why i didnt go for foil)

Although i didn't get a 100% result here it displayed some positive results and with a few modifications i think il be able to get this to work.

and Thirdly the rake key.

Using a Garrison bump key i machined away a mm of the edge of the key so that i could insert a tension wrench in with the bump key. The idea being you can hold light tension while concentrating on the raking as oppose to trying both with one hand movement.

Rake key

Again some success. I managed yet again the false set, however it was then impossible to remove the key to pick the remaning pins by hand. So all in all not much use... just like the bump key 

 Rick | West Midlands locksmiths

Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:57 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:40 PM GMT
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Sunday, 5 September 2010
Opening an MT5 - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

I recently aquired a small box of mul-t-lock euros of various types including a few MT5 cylinders.

snapped locks

mt5 lock

Having never encountered these before i naturally spent a short time picking the lock which i found to be pretty challenging. The telescopic pins lacked the sloppy feel of the classic style lock.

In defeat i decided to open her up and see what I was up against.

Each driver pin is a self contained spring and inner pin as usual but of smaller diameter and inner driver slightly serrated on the end.

Main pins consist of inner and outer pins again of smaller diameter than the classic.

pin stacks in lock

The sixth pin in the back of the lock is a special shape with a protruding conjoined piece that  sits out of line with the other pins and is located at the rear right hand side of the keyway.

mt5 pin

The particular model of MT5 i have i assume is not the plus (+) model incorporating the sidebar as no sidebar was present and the plug does not look machined to take any finger pins.

mt5 plug

I really needed a way to defeat this lock without drilling should i ever encounter one. (Note the MT5 has the usual halfmoon hardened drillplates that sit under the plug and hardened pins so drilling could be awkward).

You may remember a few weeks back i toyed with the idea of frontal shimming. As the MT5 has such a thin plug face and no aparent protection against this attack i decided to give it a shot.

So i hacked away with a junior hacksaw right to the hardplate in the lock which was sufficient to expose the locks sheer line.

bypassing locks

...and slowly worked the shim through the lock by overlifting the pins one at a time to progress deeper with the shim, it was a little fiddly as the serration on the inner driver tends to catch but reversing up a fraction and then manipulating the center pin easilly overcomes this.

shimming a lock

 You will be able to shim the first five pins in the lock but the special 6th pin didnt seem to want to know so instead i used a tension wrench and just picked it. It is located at the back right hand side of the keyway.

Picking locks

Hey presto one open lock.

Ok, its techinically a semi-destructive method but works a treat and is something i would definately use in a real world situation as oppose to trying to pick this lock which would take considerably longer in my opinion.

Im sure the MT5+ will be a different story but i cant really comment til i get my hands on one.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 4:55 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:41 PM GMT
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Friday, 3 September 2010
Sub-contracting, Is it worth the hassle? - Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
In the UK most locksmiths have either worked for or definately heard of the main contractors; Keytek, Reactfast, Lockaid, Able Group; that supply work all over the country to self employed locksmiths like you and I and pay you a cut of the money, typically 40-60% minus your CIS deductions.

These companies charge heavilly and often encourage a huge markup on parts. As the subcontractor you are deployed to complete the work and deliver the bad news (the bill). Its often an uncomfortable position to be put as a lot of your customers tend to be poor or elderly folk, easilly mislead and manipulated over the phone.

Its rare you find a lockie that enjoys working for these companies, however as a new start up its an essential stepping stone in gaining experience and meeting new customers.

I myself knocked two contracts on the head after a few months, mainly because I wasnt tough enough to rob from the poor to give to the rich... I often found myself charging as little as possible so that the customers didnt go away and hang themselves afterwards.

Secondly, when it came to pay day getting your money was usually an ordeal. As most of you know all monies generated are to be sent to the contractor on job completion and then you are paid your share and reimbursed for your expenses at the end of the week/month.

Payment rarely arrived on time and i often found myself out of pocket the end of the month and chasing my money. Able Group and Reactfast were particularly skilled at delaying payment and i eventually resorted to threats of removing locks I had installed.

Initially Lockaid werent too sloppy on the paying up side until I began negotiating a higher percentage for work further afield. Needless to say im still awaiting payment to this day for that work....
I have also been asked to perform underhand tactics such as 'go back and see if you can charge a bit more on the parts' and to perform work without receipts. Lockaid are indeed a very shady company to the extent i cant publish some of my suspicions.....
and that was the last bit of sub-contracting i did.

My accounts are just the tip of the iceburg, iv heard stories of big lockies being shafted for thousands by non paying contractors thats seem to turn on the subbing locksmith for no apparent  reason.

It will always be a risky area to work in and undoubtedly an uncomfortable one. It all boils down to how badly you want the work, unfortunately for the newcomer its pretty much essential to get the ball rolling and to meet new customers.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:04 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2016 8:10 AM BST
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Thursday, 2 September 2010
Finally Back Online - Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Aghh, moving house was far more stressful than i imagined but im now finally back online and back in business.

Had a wonderful 2 weeks in the Maldives and was suprised to see an interesting lock in use on our apartment door. (My wife was delighted to see me wasting our cameras memory snapping locks...)

Made by Fontaine, Paris is appears to be a crude tubular style lock with a big brass key. Unfortunately i didnt have my tools with me (under threat of death from my wife)

I cannot find much info on the lock to link to other than a youtube video. A translation would be appreciated from any of my overseas subscribers :-)

fontaine locks

brass tubular lock key

Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:20 AM BST
Updated: Sunday, 5 September 2010 5:39 PM BST
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Friday, 23 July 2010
Lock For Alcoholics - Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
One final post before the internet provider cuts me off...

I stumbled across this amusing lock design whilst searching on the internet.

The alcoholic's groove ensures no drunkard ever misses the keyhole and gets home safely...

Whether its a real design or just a joke, im not sure.

Il let you decide :-D

alcoholics lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:28 AM BST
Updated: Sunday, 5 September 2010 5:38 PM BST
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Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Moving - Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Things may be quiet here for a few weeks as im about to get married and move house all in one go. It will take a while to get unpacked and get the internet back up and running. No doubt i will have plenty more to post when im back.

Happy picking and il be back soon

union euro profile cylinder lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:52 PM BST
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Monday, 19 July 2010
Lever Lock Bible - Locksmith blog
Topic: Bypassing
For those with a particular interest in lever locks click here (You will need powerpoint).

Theres not everything in there, but most of the five lever locks i ever encounter.

Note: this is something i created for my own personal use and id prefer it not to be distributed outside of this site as intended solely for hobbiest/locksmith reference.

If you have no understanding of lever locks id strongly suggest you dont risk drilling a lock!

Measurements taken from top center of keyway and for lever picking only.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:35 AM BST
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Saturday, 17 July 2010
Amusing Destructive Entry - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing
Heres another old video worth sharing:

This was supposed to be a plug puller demo for a local locksmith training course... but didnt end as planned.

You couldnt make this stuff up!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:13 AM BST
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Friday, 16 July 2010
Securefast Decoder - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Lock picking

If you deal with any particulat lever lock on a regular basis it may be worth investing some money in a decoder / make up key kit for that lock.

They are fairly exspensive but can save a lot of time when compared to picking or drilling open the locks.

These decoder kits can read the levers in the lock.

The decoder for the securefast locks reads the levers by the height which they are lifted which then corresponds to a cut depth.

Here is a demonstration by a local locksmith in Middlesbrough that encounters securefast 5 lever locks on a regular basis.

 Important things to note:

- Make sure to place the pins in the correct slots in the blank.

- When no pin is required remember to leave that part of your blank empty and not insert the next pin into that hole.

- When cutting a key from the make up key remember to reverse the cuts for the rest of the key.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:37 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:43 PM GMT
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Alternative DE Methods - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

Looking through some of my old pictures I came across a few i took whilst experimenting with drilling certain locks.


A method you can use to open the Kaba dimple cylinders:

The Kaba cylinders consist of a self contained unit housed in the lock body. This is held in by a hard steel grub screw. (This is usually sealed over with a resin)

Once that is removed the whole unit will turn, regardless of being picked or not.

gemini lock

kaba gemini

As you can see above, the grub screw in a traditional shaped cylinder is located at approx 45 degrees clockwise. In a euro/oval profile the grub screw is directly beneath the plug.

You will need a hard plate drill or two to break the grub screw as its hard grade steel, drill using slow drill speed with plenty of force!

drilling a gemini

Once the grub screw is out of the picture the lock can be opened with a flat blade screwdriver. It may take a little force as the end of the grub screw may remain in tact but will fall loose quite easilly.

Proof that it works: A jammed/broken key situation, it required a little drilling in the keyway just to make room for the screwdriver blade

broken key in lock



A relative; a locksmith for a large gaming firm gave me a few abloy knockoff cam locks a while back to see if there was a better way to open them quickly, without running a huge drill down the center and ripping out the guts.

As most rear tensioning disk detainers these little locks were almost impossible to pick so a neat destructive bypass technique was needed.

I decided the best method would be to locate the sidebar position, drill a small 1/8th hole and remove from the lock.

After dismantling the lock i located the sidebar:


11mm down from center of the ‘0’, 5mm right

With the assumption the lock is fitted upright.

I assembled the lock and tested the method with great results!

disk detainer

drilled lock
Do not drill toofar into the lock, you only want to penetrate the housing. If you are slightly out with your measurements you will be able to line the sidebar by turning the cylinder slightly with a screwdriver as they tend to be a bit sloppy and allow some movement.

Once your sidebar is aligned, spray a little WD40 in the hole to remove any thick grease that will hold the bar in and then tap gently with the end of your screwdriver or bump hammer to free the sidebar, it should literally fall out!

Of course this method will only work on the cheap disk detainer locks. More expensive counterparts will have an L shaped sidebar to prevent such an attack and also come with hard steel fronts to prevent an easy drilling attack.

Rick | Walsall Locksmith

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:40 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:45 PM GMT
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Thursday, 15 July 2010
Ajam curtain picks - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

Iv always been a bit wary about buying expensive curtain picks. I just cannot justify shelling out hundreds of pounds for a few pieces of machined stainless.

Im sure im not the only one, therefore im happy to share another alternative:

A local locksmith that runs a training course nearby took the time to design some simple picks and have them machined at a local engineering firm.

These picks are cheap and simple, made from toughened steel they will never break or round off at the ends.

lock picks

I have used these picks since he started producing them i even have a couple of the early prototypes in my toolbag and use them frequently when opening lever locks.

The set i own has five, six and seven gauge tools complete with standard and low bellied picks for reaching under the low hanging levers. All comes in a leather pouch.

curtain pick lever locks

Heres a few old locks i picked with the set a while back whilst testing the tools:

era lock

legge locks

securefast lever lock

chubb 3k75 lock

The whole set comes in at just over one hundred pounds!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:19 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:46 PM GMT
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Friday, 9 July 2010
Safe Tamper Bolt - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Locksmith Jobs

I took a quick picture of the inside of an old chubb safe i worked on just to show how the tamper mechanism works.

Older safes were prone to a destructive attack whereby the lock was hammered away from the face of the safe..

In this case a bracket is affixed to the back of the lock which holds a large ball bearing in recess.

Hooped around this Ball bearing is a wire attatched to a spring loaded deadbolt. (pictured bottom left)

chubb safe lock

When the lock is forced backwards the ball bearing is dislocated and allows the spring loaded bolt to engage, securing the safe.

This mechanism can also be triggered in old safes that have never been serviced and parts may have come loose.

A customer will usually describe the 'PING' of the ball bearing landing in the cup below it when calling a locksmith regarding their safe failure.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:07 AM BST
Updated: Friday, 9 July 2010 11:26 AM BST
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Sunday, 4 July 2010
Worn Lever Lock Opening - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing


Sifting through some old videos I have and i came across this one i filmed for a local locksmith training school.

This is a locksmith called Shane teaching students how to open lever locks suffering from long term wear and tear.

Bumping a lever lock!?

Watch the video for an excellent demonstration of this handy little trick that can save you a lot of time!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:11 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 4 July 2010 3:19 PM BST
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Friday, 2 July 2010
Digital lock Permutations - Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

There are many forms of the mechanical digital lock. Although a lot of them are quite vunerable to manipulation techniques such as button feeling. This Guide for example shows how to manipulate the combo dial padlocks by Master.

Most locksmiths carry around a list of permutations (linked below) for the xyz digital locks, it can take a while but it will work providing the lock isn't faulty.

However i discovered a nice little web-tool that allows you to calculate all the permutations for other variations of  mechanical locks. (Or any other mathematical problem)

If you encounter a lock that has no distinguishing button marks you can write next to them in pencil for reference

...and just for your info heres the list for the xyz locks, remember to prefix with a C

Another alternative is the xyz tool but from experience i have found it awkward to use and can make a mess of the door being so sharp round the edges.

xyz lock

What i have noticed when dismantling and code changing is that 90% of the time you have three active buttons on the right set of digits and two on the left (When looking from the rear of the lock). This means our code list could be optimised with those combinations first in our list to save time! However i havent found the time to re-arrange the list yet so you'l have to wait for that one.

Im also working on a list for the simplex codes but as there are so many permutations im re-ordering that in order of most likely first. Its going to take a while but will be well worth it.

NOTE: This has been abandoned upon discovering alternative bypass techniques!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:53 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:47 PM GMT
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