Locksmith Education, Guidance, and Reviews

October 9, 2009

Types of locks, and Picking them – I

In this blog at various times we mentioned about lock picking, and we also put up a couple of articles about lock picking tools. In case you missed it, there was a video about picking locks, and you can search for that in the archives – it is real exciting!

This two part series is a basic run down on how one can pick basic locks of different kinds.

By definition, lock picking is the process of manipulating the interiors of a lock without spoiling or breaking them. Even since locks were invented, lock picking has been around, and even the most complex of locks can be picked. Contrary to what people think, the best locksmiths can even pick the modern locking marvels – provided they have the right information, the right tools, and the right information.

Let’s start our lock picking sojourn with a simple dead bolt.

You need a thin flat piece of metal and a lock picking tool to pick a simple dead bolt. If you have a torsion tool which bends to 90 degrees, that should be fine. Else, take the thin piece of metal and bend it to 90 degrees. Now, insert it into the lowest part of the keyhole and rake over the lock pins in the locking system. Raking over them makes them a bit loose and easier to pick. Slide the tool into the bottom of the keyhole and turn it as if you were turning a key in the lock. Apply constant pressure on it and insert the pick tool into the top the keyhole. When you are applying pressure with the torque tool, use the pick tool on top to rake each of the pins of the deadbolt lock. When the pressure on each pin is right, you will notice the pins moving up to their right positions. Let each pin come to their correct position, and you will notice the lock pop open.

If you are wondering if it is truly that easy, it is! Just that you need to get a hang of the process. Applying the right kind of pressure on the torsion tool is the key here, and each pin needs to be pushed up just right, so it pops open. The right position of all the pins is known as ‘Sheer Alignment’ and once that is reached, the lock will pop open. With time, you will be able to open the deadbolt faster.

There are some kinds of bolts however, which have an added level of a lock inside, and for those you need to work extra hard. If you are on the inside of a home, you will naturally turn an additional knob on top to keep it safe, and that is the way to go! From the outside, when you need to crack the door open, and you find that there is an additional bolt lock inside, you will need to repeat the whole procedure once again with the other set too. Here is a video which will help you open the door easily.

Video courtesy – Monkey See


October 8, 2009

Lock Diagram

Filed under: Lock Picking,Locks — locksmithing @ 10:29 am
Tags: , , ,

When we mentioned about lock picking in one of our earlier articles, we used a few terms like striking plate and deadlock. A few people wrote in if we could get them a picture showing which part of the lock was which, and we said we’ll oblige.

Here is a clear lock diagram showing the different parts. Pay attention to this, and our next article will be about lock picking.


October 6, 2009

Get trained as a Locksmith sitting at home!

0095435001 Distance education is one of the biggest things happening in the world of learning today, and you will be surprised at the kind of courses which can be learnt online. Ranging from an engineering degree to the theoretical part of becoming a doctor, everything can be done now sitting at home – as long as you have access to the right kind of an online education forum.

Some of the most in demand courses of the recent times have been those which launch people off into trades that they like. Courses ranging from Plumbing to Carpentry to Locksmithing can now be learnt online. Since we are on a Locksmithing blog, that is what we will focus on; and if you are not sure about the courses online for locksmiths, allow us to tell you that they are out in full flow!

The best online locksmithing courses have a complete locksmithing training course for home study, and getting in does not require any pre-requisites. Unlike many of the other local places where one can get trained to become a locksmith, there is no limit to the amount of knowledge one can acquire sitting at home. Made as a combination of text and video files, the whole package is couriered home and there are exams conducted at the end of term. Since we said that there are no qualifications to get into a course like this one, the language used in the course is quite easy and anyone can understand it. One program that we found even had loads of information about each of the different brand of locks available in the market today. There is one-on-one lock information, including how each of them can be cracked, and we were quite surprised to see the comprehensiveness of the research in the program. Since we now have access to the internet on which there are quite a few hobby clubs that post lock picking videos, we can actually see how the theory in the books can be used practically.

At the end of the program, there is a certificate, which will allow people to get started in a career as a locksmith. If the certification is from a reputed company, it can be used to get into a professional locksmithing company and that is a good step in the right direction.

You can get more information from searching the net, but see that you don’t get fooled into a nonsense program run from some remote corner of the world by a person who knows nothing about locks.

October 3, 2009

The future of the Locksmithing Industry

hi-tech-security We have been talking about the next generation of locksmiths in bits and pieces across the different articles on this blog, but then we realized that the future of the locksmithing industry warrants a separate article by itself, and here it is.

Gone are the days when locksmiths used to come in with a file and a chisel and try to open up locks whose keys are missing, or rescue a stranded passenger after he loses the car keys. Of course, those also are done by locksmiths, but the real big uses are quite different.

One of the biggest reasons people call for a locksmith today is to gauge the security of a home or an office. Every security company will have on its rolls a few locksmiths, and they are trained in the different modern adaptations of the profession. Ranging from installation of ultra modern equipment like radars and sensors, to their maintenance and upgradation, everything is handled by today’s locksmiths. Some of the best locksmithing companies in the country specialize in auditing office and industry premises, to find out whether the security systems in place are sufficient for the organization or something more needs to be added. With multiple levels of security now becoming the industry standard, it is but obvious that there be something of the sort which is done on a regular basis. Many of the modern organizations today have not just multiple levels of security but in multiple layers. While a key card could be enough for the administrative areas and the back areas, there could be a need for bio-metric sensors and pass codes to get into the high sensitive areas. While doing a security audit, the locksmith needs to get into the security statement of the organization and then audit and see which systems go where.

After we say all this, it is not fair to call the person who does all of this as a locksmith, right? That is the reason a lot of locksmithing companies now call their staff as security experts or even security engineers. In an earlier article, we spoke about institutions which have courses certifying locksmiths professionally. There are trade certificates and then there are even engineering degrees which are given to people who take these courses online.

Coming back to where we were, it is a professional locksmith who does the security audit for an organization at regular intervals. With technology becoming more and more dependant on networks, a modern locksmith needs to have a complete knowledge of how the systems operate. Sometimes, like Murphy’s Laws say, even the most stable things go awry, and all the technology that goes into our security systems can conk off. In a situation like that, it is again the humble locksmith (albeit the modern one) who needs to get into the groove and open them up. And yes, the companies which manufacture these advanced security systems train the companies’ locksmiths in ways to open them in case of an emergency. Even the most advanced security system will have some lacuna put in wontedly, and it is taught to the locksmiths of the organization. There was an article in the news recently about the world’s most advanced safe in Las Vegas being cracked open by a locksmith – and yes, that’s possible too!

The real beauty of all this is that locksmiths are among the world’s most trustworthy people, and the profession is trust personified. Very rarely do we see a locksmith who has gone against his profession and turned bad. Even modern locksmiths hold their profession in very high stead, and that is why a good locksmith inspires confidence in the customers.

The future of the locksmithing industry is specialties. Locksmiths already are moving in that direction, and it is no longer strange to see a hoarding advertising a locksmith who specializes in automobiles and one who specializes in electronics. The future will move more in that direction, and locksmiths will qualify in those areas of business, and start their professional lives in that direction. The security systems in use today are going to become more and more complex, and the need for a locksmith is only going to rise.

Stay tuned and we’ll bring more information on how the profession is changing.

October 1, 2009

An engineering degree in Locksmithing!


We have been speaking a lot about locks and locksmithing in the recent months on this blog.

Apart from bringing you information on various kinds of locks and ways to break them, we have also been speaking a lot about the profession in general.

This article is to do with that genre, and has a very unique premise. You would be knowing that there is a lot of knowledge flowing around in the locksmithing community – especially with the modern breakthroughs in the field including electronic locks and other security systems. There have been a lot of informal locksmith schools across the country where some well-informed locksmith trains a few people looking to get into the profession; but like we said, it is quite informal and cannot be recognized by an institution.

For precisely that purpose, there are courses now available which certify a person in locksmithing, and the best qualification in the genre is an engineering degree in locksmithing. While that is a serious addition to the portfolio of someone with a background in locksmithing looking to expand, for most of the others, a trade degree from a recognized place of education will do.

Trade degrees are recognized by the government, and are necessary for governmental tenders and other such professionals bids. There are two levels of trade programs in locksmithing, and they are

  • General Locksmithing, and
  • Professional Locksmithing

Like the names suggest, general locksmithing is targeted to the novice who wants to get into the locksmithing business, and wants a good entry to the field. This module would cover all the necessary basics including the usage of common lock picking tools, installations, and repairs of common lock models, automobile lock maintenance, and other related topics.

The professional locksmithing module is more advanced than the one mentioned above, and is just right for someone already in the business of locksmithing looking to break into the big league. This module will have all the electronic lock installation and maintenance methods, and will also include processes for a security audit. These are the people who are qualified to undertake installations and repairs of a large scale in modern buildings.

If you are looking to get started in the profession, this might just be right for you!

Pic Credit – Internet

September 19, 2009

This looks seriously easy! Lockpicking at its best!

Like we promised you at the launch of this blog, we are always on the hunt to bring together the best information including videos on the lock making business, and that includes LockPicking. Here is a fabulous video we found on YouTube from the famed HowCast team.

Video Courtesy – HowCast

September 17, 2009

How Locksmiths became ‘Security Engineers’

3d key For many people, even today, the term ‘Locksmith’ represents someone who either makes or breaks locks. More of the latter, as that is when we suddenly realize the need of a good locksmith – especially when we are locked out of our car or home.

But nothing can be farther than the truth! The role of locksmiths has been changing so quickly over the years that unless you are a locksmith yourself, you won’t be able to keep pace. Even some of the not-so-serious locksmiths got filtered out in this tremendous pace of change.

The change we are talking about basically is the advent of technology. From the initial days of locksmithing – several thousand years ago itself, locksmiths were considered to be engineers par excellence, and the creations they made are so wondrous, we gawk at them even today in museums! With time, the locking systems became more and more complex, and today we see a multitude of them when we visit a hardware store. Though they are primarily made by a machine, they were invented by a locksmith somewhere, right?

In the modern times (read as the last decade or so), the role of a locksmith has changed from that of a service provider who comes and installs locks, to one who consults with corporations on their security needs. When a new company is being built, one of the first teams of people will include a security expert who has a grounding in lockmaking, or an expert locksmith will be called in to gauge the amount of security needed for the firm. So a modern locksmith is also a security expert who handles all kinds of access systems – from the ubiquitous locks to the ultra modern biometric access devices. All of them can be installed by a modern locksmith, and they can be serviced and maintained by them. Sometimes, the most difficult safes and doors also need to broken open, and then too, the modern locksmith comes in handy. If you are wondering how he can open a modern safe of today, there are always some kind of loopholes that are wontedly left by the company making the safe, so that in a situation when it needs to be broken open, there is a way to do so – but only a trained locksmith would know how to.

One major aspect of locksmiths’ work is to break open locks – both at home and at office, and earlier the locks just had to be changed (or sometimes the same locks were used again). But modern locksmiths have an option to rekey the locks, meaning that the old key will no longer open the lock, and there is no need for the home owner to shell out hundreds of dollars for a new locking system!

And most of today’s homes and offices don’t just have one level of security. There are multiple levels, and if the building is a new one, most of the levels of security are of different kinds. For instance, in addition to the normal key entry system at a home, there could be a code that needs to be entered on an electronic lock system which otherwise will send an alarm to the local police station. Then there could be video surveillance from multiple angles. These are some of the most common security levels that are in use even in homes across America. In an office, there would be many more such levels and they would all be so complex. It is the locksmith who installs them all, and to do so, he would first need to take a security need audit of the firm (or the house). Depending on the locality and the kind of business being run, the amount of security would undergo quite a change.

Coming back to our title today, that is how locksmiths had to become security experts and hence the term ‘security engineers’ came into being. Today there are colleges which have security engineering as a specialization in the final year, and people can graduate as qualified security engineers. The large locksmithing companies absorb the best graduates of each year, adding intellectual capital to their ranks. There is a lot more to talk about, but we’ve run out of space. Will come back with more in a few days time.

Pic Courtesy – Internet

September 16, 2009

A Museum for Locks!

House2 The title is actually not true. There are not one but many lock museums in the world!

There is a lot of fascination about locks across the globe, and as our archeologists are uncovering more and more complex locking systems that were in use by our ancestors, the interest is only increasing! There are so many kinds of locks that have been found over the years, that it warranted the inauguration of a lock museum, and the first such museum opened several years ago.

Over the years, several such museums opened in the world and in the USA itself there are many such places of interest. Though there is no official estimate, locksmiths peg the number at about a dozen good lock museums which are in existence in the country alone. Around the world, that number would go up about three times. But since most of these lock museums are owned by private collectors, it is quite difficult to trace them down. They hardly have any kind of advertisements and they also don’t run on patrons. It is just the interest of the collection owners that keeps them going, and not many people know of the treasure trove of stuff which is inside!

One such prime example is The Lock Museum of America, located in Terryville, Connecticut. This is an example which illustrates everything we said above. Housed in a small but well maintained building on Main Street, this museum is only open during the summer months – from 1st May to 31st October, and remains closed during the rest of the year. Inside, there are eight display rooms and each of them has a unique specialty. You can find out more from the website cited above, but the must-sees in the museum are the collection of mounted door knobs and escutcheons made by Russwin and Corbin in the Victorian era. This 20’ panel has some wonderful lock-making specimens, and is a treat to look over. Then there is the original Mortise Cylinder Pin tumbler, which was designed in 1865 by Linus Yale Jr. This is the lock which set the cylinder pin models in vogue, and this is considered by many locksmithing experts as the most important invention in the history of lock making. But the biggest draw has to be the 4000 year old Egyptian lock which rests in the next room, and the surprising thing is that it runs on a similar kind of a pin tumbler technology like what we have today! If you are a lock enthusiast, you will absolutely love the Lock Museum of America at Connecticut.

Though the Lock Museum of America is the number one destination for lock making (and lock picking) enthusiasts from around the world, there is another good place in Mountain View California. Known as The Jenhing Family Lock Museum of Mountain View, this is a privately owned museum that has been in operation since 2005. Though privately owned, admission to the museum is absolutely free, but the museum is open only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Like the earlier mentioned museum was originally owned by the Eagle lock making company, the Jehning family lock museum is owned by – The Jehning family, who’ve been in lock making for several decades now. There are over 1000 locks and 5000 keys from around the world, and there are also over 20 safes which have been collected primarily for their uniqueness of design. There is also a gift shop in the museum and that remains open whenever the museum is open. There are quite a few interesting curios and collectibles the shop stocks, and they are quite economical too!

There are many other museums we should mention, but we won’t! If you are genuinely interested in locks and their histories, these two will pique your interest and you will find out about the other museums around the world. If you are in the vicinity of the two above mentioned museums, however, make sure that you take some time out of your schedule and visit them. There is so much to see and absorb, that you will certainly be fascinated. Sometimes you will even find interactive exhibits which come in for a short duration. More information can be had from the museums’ websites mentioned above.

Pic Credit – Museum Website

September 4, 2009

Lock Pick Guns

PG-20 We mentioned earlier about tools used by locksmiths to manually open locks. That ran to two parts and if you have not read them, here are Part – I and Part – II. We also wrote about Slim Jims and other uncommon tools used by locksmiths in general and you can find them from our archives or you can use the search box on this blog.

What we did not cover is the lock pick guns, and that is what we will be doing in this article.

Ever since lock pick guns were invented a couple of decades ago, the concept of lock picking has undergone a radical change. This has also led to locksmiths complicating locks so that they cannot be picked by every amateur with this gun. Actually, unlike what a lot of people think, just owning a lock pick gun will not make any person a lock picker. A lot of people walk in to stores and ask for automatic lock pick guns, buy the best ones by spending a couple hundred dollars, and when they come home and try it on the lock at home, they realize that the lock is not popping open!

So what are these contraptions, and why are they so popular?

The basic reason these were invented was to partly automate the process of picking locks. Though the guns are called automatic, they don’t crack open locks all by themselves. What they do instead, is use Physics laws of energy transfer to put pressure on the pins and cylinders inside the lock, and make it easy even for an amateur to open basic locks. To open the more complex locks an expert with considerable practice in using these guns is needed, but most of the experts anyway don’t need this machine to open locks!!

The original concept of lock pick guns was so they could be used by law enforcement authorities to break into a house, when needed, without the need for additional training on lock picking. As locks got more secure, the lock pick guns also got more complex, and today (as you can see from the picture above), there are multiple picks that go into a gun to help open different kinds of locks. In fact, the picture we put up (courtesy – Internet) is just a basic lock pick gun, and there are ones which are far more complex. The modern versions of lock pick guns are with electric motors. These electric lock pick guns are for use on the locks which need more pressure exerted – like the cylindrical cam locks, or other modern locking systems which don’t give out so easily. Since a manual lock pick can only exert so much pressure, electric ones have been invented. We’ll bring to you a separate article about that in a few days time.

The basic kind of lock pick gun is called the ‘snap’ lock pick gun, as the action when you pull the trigger actually a snap of the spring inside. This snap exerts considerable pressure on the locking drum or cylinder inside the lock, and force it to pop open. For different kinds of locks there are different kinds of picks which can be added onto the lock pick gun as extensions, and there are about 10 different kinds of picks available in the market. Between them, they can snap open most of the kinds of locks we see normally.

A lock pick gun usually comes with a user manual, and these manuals have detailed information on how to use these guns. Then there are a series of videos which are anyway available (and we will bring you the best of them here next week) on using these guns to crack open locks that are more advanced. A good locksmith will be able to use a lock pick gun and open even the most complicated lock within a few minutes. With a bit of practice, you also should be able to open the basic locks we use in our homes. Lock Pick guns are quite an innovation, and the only real danger is that once you get used to them you can’t use the manual lock picks again!

September 3, 2009

Disc Tumbler Cylinder Cam Lock – Diagram

Like we promised earlier, we have been bringing to you a series of technical pictures and diagrams, so that your knowledge of locksmithing is upgraded.

Here is a detailed diagram of the disc tumbler cylinder cam lock. We spoke a bit about picking that kind of a lock earlier, and we also mentioned the kind of tools which might be useful in that venture.

Pic Credit – Internet


September 2, 2009

Common (and some uncommon) tools used by locksmiths


As we mentioned in a couple of articles earlier, there are several tools used by locksmiths for a wide range of services that they provide to the community at large. While most of them are to do with the opening of locked cars and doors, there are some uses which are pretty surprising to even read!

If you have not read the earlier articles we’ve written about the tools used by locksmiths, you can do so here and here.

We also mentioned about the usage of a unique tool called a Slim Jim and if you’ve missed out on that, you can get updated here.

But that is not the entire range of tools used by modern locksmiths. Since the profession has gone hi-tech, there are a lot of tools used by them to open electronic tools, but we won’t go there in this article. That is for later. But what we’ll do in this article is run through some of the most unique tools used by the profession.

The pic we have here (courtesy – Internet) is of a common set of tools which can be obtained at any good hardware store – provided your state laws allow the possession of these tools. Some of the other tool sets are

  • JackKnife Picks
  • Tubular Lock Picks
  • Vehicle Entry Tools
  • Snap Guns, Electric Picks, and other automatic equipment


The Jackknife set is among the most popular ones in the recent times. Like the name suggests, it is a set of lock picking tools that fits into a small pocket knife styled holder. Actually, it is more of like a Swiss knife, which opens different lock picks in different angles and they all fold back in. Most of the common tools including the ones shown in the picture above are present in this innovation, and thanks to the ease of carrying, this happens to be one of the most sold over the counter items. Especially for amateur locksmiths and for people whose hobbies include picking locks for fun.

The next set of tools are the tubular lock picks, which are again a modern innovation. Since the invention of locks that are tubular in nature (the shape, that is), the traditional locks have gone down in sales. Most houses now feature advanced locks that come with a tubular frame and the pins inside are operated by keys which cannot be duplicated normally. To open those locks, there are tubular lock picks, and these picks are capable of working with the tubular locks with high spring pressures as well. These are available in 7-8 pin configurations.

Vehicle entry tools are some of the most popular lock picking sets sold over the counters, and most cars would have some sort of a tool – be it a normal wedge that goes into the beading to pop the door open, or a more advanced set of auto lock jigglers which are quite popular with experts. Since modern cars don’t open with sheets of metal or with plastic wedges, there are new kinds of door openers that have come into vogue. For instance, there is an inflatable car door wedge that fits into the gap between the window and the beading on the front door and can be inflated through a little balloon on one end. This leads to additional pressure exertion – and that too without damaging the locking rod or other parts. Then there is a more advanced navigator locksmith scope that is perfect for lockpicking experts. This scope, like the name suggests, comes with a viewer that shows the user the lock’s functions once it is inserted into the keyhole. This kind of an opener is especially useful in opening automatic locks, and since most of the new cars come with this kind of a locking system, these navigator tools are quite in demand.

We won’t talk here about the electric and electronic lock openers as that is a lot of articles by itself. But most of the people out there would know about the way these lock openers work – including the most popular snap gun lock pick.

In the next articles, we’ll go into each of these kinds of lock picking tools in detail, and also come up with videos that show how each can be used. Stay tuned.

September 1, 2009

Who is ‘Slim Jim’

180px-Slim_Jims One of the most heard references in lock picking, lock making, and from locksmiths is the term ‘Slim Jim’.

No, it is not a person, but a little piece of equipment which is more commonly known as ‘lockout tool’.

This is a specialty piece of equipment used in automobiles, and is also one of the most common ways in which you can get into your car if you got locked out. However, most of the recent models of cars have put in technology that renders the old slim jims obsolete.

Anyway, you would probably have used some kind of an improvised slim jim if you got locked out of your car. It is a known fact that by putting in a slim piece of metal between the beading and the window of your front door, you can jimmy your car lock and open it, gaining you access to the keys you left inside. That is precisely what a slim jim does, with a bit more ease. As you can see from the pic (credit – Wikipedia) above, there are different kinds of slim jims that can be purchased in the market. While some are the plain old sheets of steel, others are more complex and come with a small hook or file at the end that goes into your car door. This is so you can hook the lock rod and pull it if just the jim does not do the task.

It has been said that car locks can be damaged if you exert undue force onto the lock by the use of a jim, but it is not conclusive. Many people we know have a small piece of metal that they put under the hood or affix it into a tyre well, just for this emergency. Most of the old cars and station wagons pop up with a simple plastic scale, and that is how many car robberies have happened in the country. But you can’t refute the claim that this is a seriously useful piece of metal! Some of the most frustrating moments are when we forget the keys in the car or misplace them somewhere else, and the car is locked when we get to it. Especially if you are on a long tour, and if the second set of keys is in the drawing room of your home, you are done for! Having access to a country wide 24/7 locksmith is the best alternative, but if you can’t find someone in your phone book or locally at the city, you are in trouble! That is when having a slim jim becomes invaluable!

But like we said, modern cars don’t allow for slim jims to open doors, and they have an additional layer of security built into the door itself to ensure that a piece of metal does not slip in between the door beading and the window glass. Some cars even go one step ahead and cover the locking rod and lever with a piece of metal so that the jim can’t reach them! The only thing you can do is hope that you have an automobile locksmith somewhere nearby, or you can try calling your car manufacturer helpline and ask for help. Since most of the car dealerships help out customers who get locked out, you can expect some help, albeit in a while.

But the usage of slim jims has not reduced across the country. If you look at the tool kit of a professional locksmith, you are sure to find a few kinds of slim jims, so that any kind of a car can be opened. We still remember the day when we got locked out of our old SUV, and when we called our car manufacturer, the lady at the help desk simply asked us to find a thin piece of metal and insert it into the window. Imagine our surprise when the lock popped up!! It is actually a wonder that more car-jackings did not happen during that era!

Even today, most of the older cars (of say 5 years ago or so) can be opened with a slim jim. For a more recent model, you should call an automobile locksmith if you happen to get locked out!

August 31, 2009

How to Pick a Simple Lock – Video

Video Source www.wikihow.com
More DIY videos at 5min.com

August 30, 2009

Manual Lock Picking – II


Like we mentioned in Part – I of this article, there is more to lock picking than just going out with a hammer and a chisel and try to break open the lock! It is an art which requires the right tools and the right kind of practice.

Carrying on from where we left off in the earlier article, the torsion wrench is probably the most important lock picking tool of them all.

Shaped like the letter ‘L’ (you can see it at the left of the above picture), the torsion wrench is used to apply torsion on the cylinders of a lock. Also, you will know that today’s locks don’t come with single pins. There are multiple pins inside, and each of these pins has to be put in the right place in order to pick it. It is the torsion wrench which holds each pin in place when we go about adjusting the rest of the pins. This tool is also known as the Tension Wrench, but the actual purpose is to apply torsion on the pins. There is also an advanced version available, where there is a coiled spring at the end of the wrench (the tool is known as Feather Touch wrench). This spring ensures that the torsion is maintained on the lock pins so we can go about our job of opening the lock without worrying if the pins will slip back.

The next most versatile tool has to be the half diamond pick, which is fifth from left in the picture above. This is the most common pick of them all, and is used for picking individual pins. The half diamond is also the right tool for disk locks – which by the way are not all that easy to open.

The hook, the rake, and the warded picks are the next in line in the above pic, and they all have their uses.

Coming to our topic, manual lock picking is not just pushing the rake into the lock and sensing whether the pins move. That is because once the pick is out, the pins tumble back into position. This is why there is a special practice needed. We will bring you a few videos on lock picking during the next one week, and that will give you a better understanding. One thing that you should learn, however, is the general process of lock picking. Here is a run down.

  1. The torsion wrench should go in to the lower portion of the keyhole
  2. Twist the wrench in the direction of opening the lock and hold it
  3. Put in the pick into the upper part of the keyhole and feel for the pins
  4. Each pin will have its own position, and it is a process of trial and error before you hit on the right combination
  5. The most important pin is the one which is the most stubborn. You need to push it enough so it overcomes the tension exerted by its spring
  6. Continue with all pins till they don’t come back down; and sit in their opening positions
  7. Turn the cylinder with the tension wrench and your lock should open!

If it does not open, you need to go back with the pick and check whether all the pins are in position. It is not too difficult to find out – once you practice a bit.

Learning lock picking is not wrong! In fact, there are dozens of times in life when we lock ourselves out of the home, or when we lock an old suitcase and misplace the key. Happened with you? Each time something like that happens, we either decide to break open the lock, or call in a locksmith. If we know the basics of manual lock picking, we can just fiddle around a bit, and the lock should pop open in a few minutes time. Experts crack open locks in under a minute; but that is a different ball game altogether!

The tools we mentioned above – from the tension wrench to the set of picks should be easily available – provided your state permits the sale. Else, you should find them online, but be sure about the laws in your region before ordering them.

We will bring to you a few videos, and then a couple of articles on lock picking guns. We will also bring forth a few tips from the lock picking experts. Stay Tuned.

August 19, 2009

What Auto Locksmiths Contribute to the Community

keys_in_car3 Getting yourself locked out of your car is never a pleasant experience. Still, this situation can happen anytime. If you get locked out of your car or if you lost your key, a good auto locksmith can help solve your problem. Most locksmith companies provide auto locksmithing services. An auto locksmith specializes in vehicle entry and transponder key programming. 

Auto locksmiths are trained to handle the breaking and opening of car locks, from the simplest ones to the trickiest. These days, most cars are equipped with advanced security lock systems on doors to prevent theft. Recent models of cars are more secure. However, if using the services of an auto locksmith is the last resort, it will be harder for an emergency locksmith to open your locked car if it is a recent model. Home locks and car locks are completely different. 

Auto locksmithing is a specialized sub-field of locksmithing that not all locksmiths can do. To be able to open different types of car doors that use diverse types of security systems requires careful studying and special skills. A good 24 hour locksmith should have the technical know-how to unlock the advanced gadgetry in today’s car doors without causing any damage to the mechanism. Unlocking today’s car door is not an easy task. In the past when car door systems were simpler, all one needs to do is to find a gap in the car window’s pane, wedge in a piece of metal and try to flip the lock. However, unlocking today’s car doors require more advanced equipment and technical skill. 

Most auto locksmith services are available around the clock. That’s because getting locked out of your car can happen anytime, even at odd hours of the night. This is probably one of the most important contributions of auto locksmiths to the community. An auto locksmith will come to your aid anytime you need it. This is especially important in cases when you have a child or a pet trapped inside the locked car. Such a situation needs fast and urgent response. Still, it is highly recommended that you exercise precaution when calling a 24 hour locksmith. 

Make sure that the emergency locksmith you contact comes from a reliable company. Always ask for identification before you give any locksmith access to your car. This is the reason why it is advised to look for a good, reliable and trustworthy professional auto lock smith even if you don’t need it yet. Always keep the contact details of your preferred auto locksmith somewhere in your wallet, calling cards or in your mobile phone contacts. You never know when you might get locked out of your car and need the services of a 24 hour locksmith; it always pays to be prepared.

August 18, 2009

Learning the Basics of Locksmithing

Filed under: Locks,Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 2:42 am
Tags: , , ,

219522-main_Full In a traditional sense, locksmithing is the science and art of making and defeating locks. But advancement in technology and the rise of mass production of locks and keys has led to the evolution of a lock smith to its modern incarnation. A lock smith is a skilled professional that provides services related to installing, replacing, adjusting, repairing and maintaining locks and other security devices including electronic locks systems. Locksmiths of the past used to painstakingly create the entire lock by hand. 

Today’s locksmiths repairing locks is usually done through parts swapping or like for like replacements. Most locksmiths provide services needed to defeat locks, whether for a home, business or vehicle. Some locksmiths specialize in keys and are equipped with machines used to create duplicate keys. Other locksmiths specialize in the installation and repair of locks and other security devices. However, most locksmith companies provide all these services and more.

Replacing and changing lost keys for vehicles and homes is still an important part of locksmithing. Today’s locksmiths are primarily involved in the installation of high quality locksets as well as the design, implementation and management of keying and key control systems. Most emergency locksmiths also provide services related to electronic locks. This includes making keys for transponder-equipped vehicles. 

Modern locksmithing also include the implementation, application and management of access control systems that protect individuals and assets in institutions and businesses. There are several varieties of locksmiths based on employment. Commercial locksmiths work out of a storefront. Mobile locksmiths usually travel from one point to another offering locksmithing services. There are institutional locksmiths (hired by an institution) and investigational locksmiths (specializes in forensic locksmithing). 

Some 24 hour locksmiths prefer to specialize in one aspect of the trade. For example, an automotive lock specialist focuses on vehicle doors. Other examples of locksmith specializations include a master key system specialist and safe technician. The most common services that locksmith provide include key cutting or the replacement of lost keys and duplication of existing ones. Fitting new locks is also a common service offered by locksmiths. Breaking a lock is another common service. People who get locked out of their homes or cars usually request this service. 

Locksmiths are often certified in specific skill areas. These certifications are different from certificates of completion of lock smith training courses. A certification from manufacturers or locksmith associations is considered more valid than certificates of completion from training courses. Many locksmiths style themselves as ‘Master Locksmith’ regardless of whether they have undergone full training or not. However, it should be noted that in some countries a locksmith should have reached a particular level of qualification before he can adopt the title ‘Master Locksmith’. In the US, legitimate locksmiths can be accredited through the Associated Locksmiths of America. (ALOA).

August 17, 2009

Illegal Locksmiths: A Prevailing Threat to Society

thumb1 In 2007, the Better Business Bureau issued an urgent warning against fraudulent locksmith companies out to rip off their customers. The BBB was prompted to issue a warning after a ‘nationwide locksmith swindle’ triggered a flood of complaints from all over the country. The warning was aimed at two lock smith companies namely: Dependable Locksmith of New York and Basad Inc based in Englewood Colorado. These two locksmith firms also have operations in major cities across the country. 

However, it was discovered that the locksmith impostors were using different generic aliases. Some of the unauthorized names were already widely used by reputable companies. The main complaint of Dependable and Basad’s victims were overcharging, charges for unnecessary services and the use of intimidation tactics. 

In one reported case, a client compliant that his final bill reached almost four times as much as the quoted price. In one incident in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a Carol Pintar was locked out of her car. She looked into the Yellow Pages and picked a locksmith listed with a location in nearby South Milwaukee. The quoted price given was $35. Then the locksmith arrived in an unmarked vehicle instead of a commercial van, a typical sign of dishonest operations. But the lock smith demanded payment upfront, another warning sign. However, the price wasn’t $35 anymore. It had become $95. Although the woman gave what the locksmith demanded, she felt uncomfortable over the whole situation and thought that it may be some kind of scam. So she called the Better Business Bureau. 

BBB’s Allison Preszler says that most victims who call the Bureau said they knew they were being taken advantage of but felt helpless to argue. Carol Pintar’s case is just one of the many incidents involving illegal and fraudulent locksmiths. These illegal locksmiths are a threat to the society not only because they overcharge and use intimidation tactics but also because if they don’t do their job right, they could put the life and property of their clients in danger. To protect yourself from illegal locksmiths, it is always important to verify a locksmith’s state license. 

Fake locksmiths usually get away with their illegal scams because they take advantage of people who are locked out and are probably in a hurry or too upset to take proper precautionary measures. When choosing a lock smith, make sure to verify the legal name of the business. A company that won’t provide its legal business name is most likely illegal and engages in fraudulent activities. 

Beware of locksmiths that arrive in unmarked vehicles or have unclear information in their advertisements. Remember that the locksmith you hire could have access to your home or car if he chooses to. Choose an emergency locksmith with a proven track record and reputation of good service.

August 16, 2009

The Essential Tools Used by Locksmiths

lockpickset Locksmithing is known as the science and art of making and defeating locks. It is a trade that requires meticulous skill and mastery of tools. Traditional locksmithing is a combination of other skills such as metalworking, lock picking and even basic carpentry. Historically, lock smiths actually created the entire locks and keys through hours of painstaking work. However, the rise of mass production of locks and keys has made custom-designed locks a rarity.

Nowadays, parts swapping or like-for-like replacements are used to repair most locks. Fitting of keys to replace lost keys for homes or cars is also a common job performed by locksmiths. In addition, many locksmiths also specialize in installing high quality locks with improved locking mechanisms.

There are classic and essential tools that all locksmiths use to perform their job. A mainstay in a locksmith’s toolbox is the lock pick set. This set of specialized tools is used primarily for defeating locks if the original key is lost. A typical lock pick set consists of the following tools: manual picks, tension wrenches, key turners and lever picks.

Professional locksmiths may also use special destructive opening tools like special cylinder crackers and bell. Other special tools include grinders, cutting burrs and milling machines that come with grinding bits and discs. Another essential tool used by locksmiths is the traditional manual pick gun, which is operated by pulling a trigger.

Just as there are numerous types of keyways, there are also many tools that can be used to open locks. UPVC and Euro locks are easier to pick by using slim line pick sets that are narrower than standard versions and thus allowing better access to the pins inside the lock. If the lock has to be opened using destructive tools, the most common equipments used are special tools such as the bell with pulling screws. These tools are designed to crack the door lock cylinder. For doors, locksmiths commonly use a selection of wedges.

For car door locks, one of the most effective tools used by locksmiths is the air fighter pro. This consists of a bag that slides between the doorframe and inflates so that the locksmith can use the tools to open the locks. A tool used for older cars with upright door locks is the lasso tool.

In the United States, there are laws concerning the possession of lock pick sets and they differ from state to state. In most states, a lock smith must be licensed to own a lock pick set. However in most states, possession by laymen is legal since illegal possession must be coupled with felonious or malicious intent. Illegal possession of lock picks can be prosecuted as a felony under the category of possession of burglary tools.

August 14, 2009

The perils of being a Locksmith!

hands of a locksmith paul Being a locksmith is no ordinary job. There are perils that come with this line of work. In fact, there are dangers that can put both a locksmith and the people who need locksmith services at risk. For example, people who need the services of a locksmith should be more cautious especially with the rising prevalence of locksmith fraud. On the other hand, a locksmith is also at risk of being falsely accused and sued for damage that he did not do.

Being in the locksmithing profession is a choice that must be taken seriously and with pride, especially for locksmiths who want to excel in this field of work and gain the respect of his peers and the patronage of more clients. Like in any other career, there will be locksmiths who are trustworthy and professional and locksmiths who are not. There will be times that people will be forced to hire a locksmith with little time to check their background. If they happen to call on locksmith impostors and unscrupulous individuals, these clients may be in danger from scams and fraud. Worse, dealing with shady locksmiths can make them vulnerable to attack.

A locksmith with no integrity can put his client’s life and property in danger simply by doing a shabby job. Sometimes, there are locksmiths who are the perpetrators themselves and may use locksmithing as a front for theft and other crimes. In this regard, naturally skeptical clients may always view locksmiths with suspicion. People are warned to always verify and check if a locksmith is reliable and professional. Moreover, it is even advised that one should never hire a locksmith unless he has achieved a reputation as someone respected, recognized and trustworthy in this line of work.

To help dispel the notion that a certain lock smith could be non-trustworthy, there is locksmith education offered for anyone willing to pay for the course. In addition, there are also licenses and affiliations available for locksmiths to help bolster their trustworthiness. One of the perils of being a locksmith is being unfairly accused of a wrongdoing due to the delicate nature of the job. Since locksmiths deal with defeating locks that protect other people’s property, they may be prone to wrongful accusations stemming from problems that may arise due to the lock-picking job.

Therefore, locksmiths must also take precautions to protect themselves from these possibilities. The best thing to do is to have the necessary and proper licenses, certification and insurance. These will help protect locksmiths from the many perils that face people in this line of work. Locksmithing can be a profitable business with many perks and rewards as long as the proper precautions are taken both by the locksmith and the client.

Pic Credit – Hands of Locksmith Paul

August 13, 2009

Locksmith Impostors: Don’t Get Scammed!

Filed under: Advice,Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 7:14 am
Tags: , , ,

padlocks Did you know that locksmith fraud is a growing concern in the entire country? Unscrupulous locksmiths are taking advantage of people who get locked out of their house or car.  These cases are becoming more prevalent, which prompted the Better Business Bureau to issue a warning in 2007 against untrustworthy locksmiths who are ‘ripping off consumers’ across the nation.  The BBB says that these locksmith scams have resulted to thousands of complaints. The BBB specifically warned about two companies, Dependable Locksmith and Basad Inc whose customers complain about significant overcharging for unnecessary services as well as intimidation tactics. 

When a client calls, these locksmith companies quote a reasonable price. However, then the locksmith arrives, he demands significantly more than what was originally quoted and usually accepts only cash. In some cases, the customers are billed four times more than the quoted price. These fraudulent companies are very good at posing as professional and trustworthy locksmiths. To protect yourself from these locksmith impostors, here are some helpful tips you can follow when choosing a locksmith:

  1. Verify the legal name of the business. Locksmith impostors usually operate under various business names and aliases as an attempt to hide their mode of operation. A telltale sign of a locksmith impostor is giving a generic phrase, such as ‘locksmith service’ or simply ‘locksmith’, when they answer the phone. If you encounter this, ask for the legal name of the company. If a company is hesitant to provide you with its legal name, look for another locksmith.
  1. A legitimate locksmith should also be able to provide you with identification in the form of a business card with the company’s business name on it. In the same way, a legitimate locksmith should first ask for identification and proof from you that you have the authority to allow the unlocking.
  1. Beware of unclear advertising. Be careful when choosing a locksmith from the yellow pages. Look closely at the ads and check if the business name is clearly identified or if the ad looks similar to other ads but with different names. This could be a sign of a lock smith impostor operating under multiple names.
  1. Beware of unmarked vehicles. Most reputable locksmiths should arrive in a service vehicle clearly marked with the name of the business. Unless you already know the locksmith personally, never hire a locksmith that comes with an unmarked vehicle.
  1. Ask about any additional fees and get an estimate on how much the job will cost before you agree to have the lock smith do the work. You should also be wary of signing a blank form authorizing a locksmith.
  1. Demand an itemized invoice. Know how much you paid and what you paid for. This document will serve as proof in case you dispute a charge.

August 10, 2009

Finding an excellent Locksmith

locksmith Finding an excellent and reliable locksmith is very important. You never know when you might need the services of a locksmith. Perhaps you got back from a vacation only to find out that you lost your keys somewhere in Hawaii. Or maybe an incident of burglary down the street makes you worried about how secure your back door lock is. In these situations, having a trustworthy locksmith will come in handy. The security of your family, your home or your property is always of utmost importance. 

When you have your locks changed or when you have new ones installed, the locksmith you hire will have complete access to your home, car or business. If the job is not done right or if your locksmith is a shady character, the security of your home and property could be at risk. And worse, you and your family could be vulnerable. So, if you need the services of a locksmith, here are some tips that can help you find a professional and trustworthy locksmith.

  1. Ask for referrals from friends or relatives. You can ask for personal recommendations from trusted friends or family. Make sure that they can vouch for the trustworthiness of the locksmith as well as the quality of the work.
  1. If you can’t get personal recommendations, you can also check various resources such as your local organization or Consumer Checkbook that rate service businesses, local security/construction firms, or a trade association offering member referral services such as the Associated Locksmiths of America.
  1. Choosing a locksmith should be given careful attention. When you have a shortlist of 24 hour locksmith services, you can then evaluate each one of them so that you can eventually settle on the best. When assessing locksmiths, here are some things you should take note of:
  1. Find out how long the locksmith has been in business. A locksmith that has been around for several years in the same location is more likely to be reputable and dependable. Find out if the locksmith company has changed names in the past. Sometimes companies change their names to escape a bad reputation. Pick a locksmith that has all the requisite business licenses and permits.
  1. You can also ask about certifications and professional affiliations. These organizations sometimes require rigorous standard for members, which can be an assurance of good quality service. For information about possible unresolved complaints against a locksmith, you may contact the Better Business Bureau. The information you gather will prove very useful when you decide which locksmith you will hire.

August 9, 2009

Women Locksmiths: Rising Up to a New Challenge

Filed under: Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 5:57 am

Women's_Room_Round Locksmithing has gone a long way ever since the locksmith’s guilds became prominent during the 14th century. Locks and keys have greatly evolved, and nowadays, you can find lots of locksmith services available, ranging from emergency locksmith up to auto locksmith. And mind you, men are not the only ones specializing on locksmith profession these days. Many women have already accepted the challenge and have proven that they can be as effective as men as far as locksmithing is concerned. Here, check out where you can find women locksmiths in your area.

Car Dealership

Car dealerships often change their car locks as a safety issue on used cars. And so they hire qualified locksmiths to do the task, even women locksmiths. Just like men, they are capable of designing master keys for multiple locks on certain cars.

Construction Firms

The word construction may connote work for men alone. But these days, construction firms may hire women locksmiths to install locks in a new home or building, re-key the locks on a renovated one, and more. With the same training that men got, women can very much do these tasks with ease. They can even do more like picking locks on an old renovation and designing master keys for new building and homes so that the owner can do with just one key.

Security Firms

Women locksmiths are also hired by security firms to design electronic locks. Apart from this, they can do other important tasks like installing surveillance security systems and access control systems. Plus, they can also perform maintenance and servicing to ensure that the security systems will work at all times.

Rescue Firms or Emergency Locksmith Services

Similar to security firms, rescue firms or emergency locksmith services need women locksmiths. They may be tasked to design keys and pick locks during emergency cases. Their skills are highly needed especially when life is at stake if door is not opened at once in cases of accidents.

Retail Outlets

One of the duties of locksmiths is to sell locks, high-security lock systems, window bars, deadlocks, and other security systems. And so, who do they hire to sell their products? Of course, locksmiths themselves; and often times when it comes to selling, women are more effective. Women locksmiths who work in retail outlets give their expert advice on home and office security and sell products to customers. Sometimes, they also produce duplicate keys by using machinery or by hand.

The duties of locksmiths nowadays have really gone beyond installing, adjusting, repairing, and making locks. And they have also gone beyond the skills of men. Now, women have proven that they can do as much as men can. So, if you’re thinking about hiring a locksmith, don’t think twice about hiring a women locksmith. 

August 8, 2009

Emergency Locksmiths Can Help Save Lives

Filed under: Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 2:58 pm
Tags: ,

24-hour-emergency-locksmith Ever been in a situation where in your kid was accidentally locked inside her room or the house and you could not find the duplicate keys? Or how about witnessing a car accident on which rescuers had a hard time letting the driver and the passengers out because the car door’s lock was jammed and had to be unlocked at once? These two scenarios are just a few of the many situations where in emergency locksmiths can do a lot to help save lives.

There are lots of 24 hour locksmith services available these days. And the main reason why they exist is to provide locksmithing services during emergency cases. With the increase in the number of accidents and other unexpected events that happen every day due to various reasons, emergency locksmith is definitely of so much importance. Now, let’s see what accidents and various situations require the service of emergency locksmith that can help save lives.

Car Accidents – Emergency Locksmiths to the Rescue

Accidents pertaining to cars have increased recently. In some instances, car door locks are jammed, making it difficult for rescuers to pull out the person or people inside the vehicle. There’s no time to waste in a scenario like this; and even every second counts. Take note that a second lost may cost a person’s life. So now, who to call in a situation like this? None other than emergency locksmiths. They are trained to make keys for automobiles and are skilled in opening door locks with a lock pick. In seconds, they can open the jammed doors and the rescuers can pull the person or people inside to be brought to a medical facility.

Small Kids Locked Inside the Car, Parents Could Not Find the Duplicate Keys

This situation may look very simple for some, but for parents whose small kids get locked inside the car, it isn’t. Why? Small kids have that tendency to touch anything inside the vehicle. And the worst that could happen is if they left the key inside, the kids find them, and turn it on, you would not want to know what could happen next. So, again, emergency locksmiths can come to the rescue. Find the one that is located nearest to you and have them unlock the car door to let the small kids out.

Toddler Trapped Inside the Room or House

Aside from the car, toddlers can also lock themselves up inside the room or the house. And since they’re toddlers, they can do anything inside which might harm them. So, better find those duplicate keys fast. But what if they are nowhere to be found? Better call emergency locksmiths to help you open that door. 24-hour locksmith services are not only needed in road accidents, but they are also very reliable in emergency cases such as this.

Pic Credit – Internet

August 7, 2009

Electronic Security Systems: What can a locksmith do?

electronic1 No matter how small your business or home might be, security should be on your top priority. Even if you only have very few assets in it like expensive equipment or cash on the drawer or safe, you should not be too confident that no one will dare to break-in. Take note that even an amateur criminal, once they have seen an opportunity, can do anything. So, the best thing that you can do is to make sure your business or home is equipped with electronic security systems. And there is no better person to do that for you than a locksmith. So before you seek the service of any other security firm at that, read on first on what a locksmith service can do for you.

Installs Surveillance Cameras and Access Control Systems

When it comes to installing and servicing electronic security systems, a locksmith is one person that you can rely on. First, ask yourself, “What type of electronic security system that you want for your business or home?” Is it a surveillance camera system? Or an access control system? Whatever it is that you have in mind, a locksmith can do the work for you and even advise you which of the two options is better for your business or home. But if you have a bigger facility at that, you can always expect that the locksmith will advise you to have both systems installed.

Supplies and Installs Different Types of Electronic Locks

Now, if you only want a simpler type of electronic security system, you can always choose to have electronic locks installed. These locks also offer a level of security and work far better than the regular locks. Where to get one? Well, locksmiths supply and install different types of electronic locks in homes and offices. You can choose from three types: one that requires a code or password, another which requires a security token such as a remote control or a special card, or the one which only needs your features to gain access like your eyes, fingers, or voice.

Repair, Replace, and Adjust Damages of Defective Electronic Security System

In case your electronic security system starts to malfunction, the locksmith can repair, replace, and adjust the damages for you. Locksmithing is not only about installing security systems but also servicing them, which includes maintenance and repair. So, why go and hire another technician if the locksmith can also do that for you?

Implementing a reliable electronic security system for your home or business may be a complex process. But if you hire a trained locksmith to do the installation and maintenance for you, there’s not much for you to worry about. Now, you can simply sit back and relax.

July 30, 2009

Manual Lock Picking – I

lock When you search on Google for something like ‘Locksmithing’, you will get tens of thousands of links which will teach you how to pick locks! It is truly amazing to see how many people are really interested in picking locks, and they even make dozens of videos of themselves picking locks (we will bring to you the best public videos from that genre on this blog starting from next week)!

That is probably the single largest reason why people are interested in locksmithing. Now, don’t think that everyone who is interested in picking locks has a thieving streak in him. It is human tendency that we try and do something out of the ordinary to look cool, and picking locks is near the top of that list! There are hundreds of amateur lock picking clubs in the USA, and all over the world, and they meet regularly either online or offline and discuss strategies. Now, it is more of a hobby than anything else, as someone who is looking at picking locks for a profit will not come out into the public and showcase his talent to everyone, right?

Anyway, lock picking has been around for many many years – even since the invention of locking systems thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, and some of the earliest locksmiths were all in reality more of lock breakers than lock makers! It is like the Fosters Ad (which is embedded below) where the lady calls a locksmith because she is locked out of the house. In the earlier days, a majority of calls for locksmiths used to be for breaking locks, and if the lock has been made by a locksmith, he would be called again and again to pick the lock! With machines taking over the lock making process, today’s locksmiths are called more than even to pick locks – of homes, offices, and a lot of automobiles!

As we go along on this blog, we will bring to you simple ways through which you can ensure that you can pick a lock if needed – for your personal emergency use of course. We will focus on home locks and automobile locks, but the best option would be to keep a spare key somewhere common to everyone in the family – not necessarily next door.

Coming back to what we were talking about, manual lock picking is an art that requires a lot of patience and tremendous practice.

But the secret is that most of the locks don’t really need to be picked. We can get around locks using simple tools like a drill, bolt cutters, a bump key, or hydraulic jacks. Why unnecessarily render the lock useless if we can get around it, right? There are commonly a set of lock picking tools (here is a picture of a common lock picking tools set) which include two torsion wrenches and six blade-tools of different shapes and sizes. The picks which are commonly used in them are

  • Half Diamond Pick
  • Hook Pick
  • Rake Pick, and
  • Warded Pick

Depending on the kind of lock to be picked, these are used in combination, or separately. If you have been pursuing lock picking as a hobby, you will probably say that the easiest way to pick a lock is by using a Lock Pick Gun; but since we are talking about manual lock picking here, we will not go there (that is content for another article).

One word of caution – check the statutes of your region. In many states in the USA and several countries in the world, possession of lock picking tools is the equivalent of intention to steal and can be punished! In some more states, unless the intent is proven, carrying or possession of these tools does not make it a crime. Better be safe than sorry, right? Just check them out online.

Of all the tools used in manual lock picking, none is as important as the torsion wrench. Unless the wrench is used right, it is almost impossible to open a good lock. There might be a few cheap ones which don’t require tools at all, but we’re not worried about those!

There’s a lot more to talk about, but that is for tomorrow. Stay tuned, or bookmark this page so you can come back easily.

July 23, 2009

Full Disclosure – Necessary Evil?

Filed under: Books,Locks,Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 12:17 pm
Tags: , , ,

Image-Wikimania--5_agosto--Broken_lock This is one of those articles that debates a never ending topic. If you are a person who keeps track of the security systems markets, you would have heard endless arguments about full disclosure and its implications. As a customer, we would naturally love to have information about all the loopholes in the security system we purchase (whether a tangible product or something that we use for our computer) so we are better prepared.

Anyway, the reason we are mentioning full disclosure in a blog about locksmiths is because it all started there. If you don’t know the story, it’ll make for some very interesting reading.

In the 19th century, there was a huge battle of wits regarding the ethics involved in locksmithing, and the key discussion was about whether locksmiths should disclose all the information they know about the lock they manufactured or not. This was specifically oriented towards one logic – locksmiths know the loopholes in the locks they create. Should they disclose them to the customers buying these locks or should they keep it as a secret?

Now think about it, and you will also agree that this is a debate that will go on.

Locksmiths will naturally know about the security loopholes in the locking systems they create. And when a customer is paying hard earned money to buy the product created by the locksmith, he should also be given access to the information the locksmith has – whether good or bad. The reason locksmiths did not disclose the loopholes is because they were worried that customers will not buy locks which have known loopholes; but that is where ethics comes in, doesn’t it? Lock making has been a profession that is counted at the top of the ethical professions table, and not disclosing something they knew would only contribute negatively to that, would it not?

The other school of thought mentions that there can never be a ‘perfect’ and fail proof locking system, and there will always be some or the other loophole in the security system – how much ever it might cost. So mentioning those loopholes to the layman consumer will only make him worry too much about it, and the actual purpose of buying a solid locking system is defeated (that of letting him sleep without worry).

Now, both these schools of thought are correct in their own way. Popular lock aficionado A C Hobbs wrote in his Locks and Safes : The construction of locks published by Virtue and Co of London in 1853, that full disclosure was necessary even in the profession of locksmithing, as a customer was qualified to know all there is to know about the product he is purchasing. He went on to add that people in London had public knowledge about the fact that the milk they were consuming was adulterated. There was an outcry about it, but this was known by milkmen in general for a long time already. However, because they did not disclose it to the public in general, the profession lost its goodwill. He warned that locksmiths also could have a similar fate if they hid loopholes that they knew obviously in their products. Here is more info about that book.

These are wholly different times from the 19th century, but a few professions don’t really change their values – locksmithing being one of them. In today’s changed environment, the role of locksmiths has gone from making locks to assessing security and suggesting the right amount of security layers for offices and homes. In today’s role, it is even more necessary that professional locksmiths follow full disclosure, as the paranoia about security is at an all time high. You may argue again that knowing the deficiencies will only get that paranoia higher; but that is why there are multiple layers of security in our homes and offices today. If it is easy to get past one level, there is another level which complements the total package perfectly.

And that is precisely the reason why we should trust a locksmith to come up with a security plan rather than doing it ourselves!

Whether we like it or not, full disclosure is something we have to contend with in every field of security. We only spoke about locksmiths in this article, and you can get the rest of the deal from Wikipedia here.

July 21, 2009

Locksmith Fraud!

Filed under: Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 9:29 pm
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Locksmith Man Fixing or Setting a Padlock on a Wodden Gate Clipart In our search for honest business practices run by locksmiths all over the country, we came across something not so nice, and thought we should bring it to your notice as well.

One of the most common ways of finding locksmiths is obviously by searching for them on Google (and other top search engines); and most of the top results you see are from AdWords and AdSense kind of programs, which locksmithing businesses use to promote their featuring on the search engine result pages.

But there are a few unsavory ‘locksmiths’ around who don’t value the ethics part of the business, and have been stealing AdWords placements from top locksmithing business houses across the country. They advertise with the same name and when you click on the link and mail / call them to come over, they do so and charge you a bomb for something that could normally have been done at a fraction of the cost. There are also reports of bigger frauds by these scamsters and it reflects badly on the industry at large.

The Better Business Bureau of the United States and Canada has issued warnings against these kind of people, but they state that it is quite a challenge to intercept them as they use several business names and operate across the country.

A home owner called Derrick Johnson called a popular locksmithing company in North Carolina, and got a bit wary when two people in civil clothes showed up. The smart citizen that he was, he asked for identification, and when they could not come up with anything, he immediately asked them to leave the premises, threatening to call the police otherwise. Luckily for him, they apologized and left! Not all incidents are as gentle! Most of the customers don’t even realize that there is a necessity by law to obtain a locksmithing license from the state, and that the license has to be periodically renewed in order to continue in the profession. It is logic really – when someone knocks the door and says “Police”, do we immediately agree? We ask for some kind of an identification, don’t we? Locksmiths are no different! In fact, they are a real threat as they have access to our home locks!

So how to avoid fraudsters like these? Here are a few tips from the home owners’ associations.

  • Do not call a locksmith unless you see the company address, and preferably you know the place personally. Remember, you are putting your home in their hands, and if the keys fall into wrong hands, you are certain of burglary in the near future! Most of the internet ads are for phone-only companies which do not exist at all in reality. We would suggest that you don’t call them unless you have no option.
  • Ask for identification and also for their license (if your state laws require one). If they are not carrying it, call up their company and reconfirm.
  • Locksmiths, like most of the other professionals come with checkable references. Use a locksmith who comes referred by a friend or a neighbor. This will ensure that you don’t need to worry!
  • Always have a number of a nation-wide locksmith on you. This will come in handy if you get locked out of your home, office, or vehicle, anywhere in the country. One such popular company would be 911 Locksmith, which operates all over the country. You can build your own list based on feedback from your friends and relatives.
  • Always ask the helpline to give you the names and descriptions of the locksmith / locksmiths they are sending to you in case of emergency. This will add an additional layer of security just in case.
  • Do not go just by the ads you see on Google or someplace else. Follow those links and check whether they are real offices or just 1-800 phone numbers. There are some services which act as middlemen for locksmiths from around the country. If you find one that you can trust, good for you!

These little tips, as you see, are not difficult to implement. Just keep them in mind (or read through this article once more), and the next time you are locked out of someplace, ensure that you take the necessary steps to avoid locksmith fraud.

Unique Locking System!

Filed under: Locks,Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 6:06 am
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Will you believe that this whole thing is a single locking device?

Invented in the earlier century, this was supposed to be the most complicated locking system known to man then!

Try and see if you can figure it out.

July 20, 2009

Who Better to Gauge your Office Security Levels than a Locksmith?

Filed under: Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 5:59 pm
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Whenever we get locked out of our homes or offices, we are suddenly reminded of locksmiths, and we search our Rolodexes to come up with the number of one who is easily accessible. if we have a burglary in our vicinity, we suddenly do up all the locks and security channels at home and at office. But then, should it not be the other way around? Should we not call a security expert in the form of a locksmith before something untoward happens?

Think about it – when we construct a new office, we call a top architect to get us the best designs, we get the best consultants to help us make the most of the green spaces around the vicinity, and we get top computer consultants to help us make the most of technology on premises. Then, why does it sound so strange when we mention that we should call a top locksmith to gauge our security requirements? Common Sense, isn’t it?

In an earlier article we spoke about getting locksmiths to install locking system at home. If you’ve not read that, you can catch it here.

If a home locking system has to be installed by a locksmith, an office locking system should certainly be installed by one! Think about the layers and layers of security that are needed by an office – that too in today’s times of technology! How qualified is an architect to decide how much security and what kind of features the office space should have? Yes; he will ensure that the security systems gel in well with the designs and don’t look out of space. But will they be honest enough to agree that something more has to come in in terms of an added layer of security (though it does not fit into the original plan)? Some of the best construction teams have professional locksmiths and security experts on the panel. They have a special job – of ensuring that every bit of building that goes up is secure.

Look at the different new kinds of security that are in place

  • Phone Entry Systems
  • Access Control Systems
  • CCTV Systems
  • Keypad Entry Systems
  • Biometric Fingerprint access control

And many more!

Most of the offices we go into nowadays will have a combination of most of these systems in addition to the traditional locking systems. But if you look close, you will notice that most of them came on board as an afterthought! In the initial days of the office, only the simple locks would have been in place. Some smart salesman would have come along and would have installed a CCTV next. Then some other company would have persuaded them to install a biometric scanning system, and so on. But anyone determined to get past these roughly thrown layers of security will not find it too difficult, as they are not completely integrated.

While making a new office, it is of utmost importance that a security audit be conducted beforehand – including all aspects of security ranging from physical to electronic to cyber. And today’s locksmiths are no longer the age old lock breaking kind who come with a couple of hammers and tongs (they do that too); but most of the modern locksmiths are experts in all kinds of security – ranging from electronic and advanced complex locking systems to the most complicated of safes. Nothing is beyond their reach, and even if the modern security systems lock you out, they are capable of rescuing you!
By the way, did you know that there is an engineering degree in locksmithing? Think about how much the trade has grown!

The next time you have an office space that is being built, or renovated, or an added layer of security is to be added, be sure to involve a professional locksmith in the decision making process. That will make your job much easier, and will also help you in compliance when your company comes up for annual audit. Try it out!

July 11, 2009

The Complete Book of Locks and Locksmithing – Review

Book Bill Phillips is one of the world’s foremost experts when it comes to locks and locksmithing.

Whether you are a professional locksmith or a lock enthusiast, it is simply not possible that you have not heard of him!

There have been quite a few books that he’s authored on the subject, starting from Locksmithing, published by McGraw Hill Professional in the year 1999. The next book in the series (not directly) is The Complete Book of Locks and Locksmithing, which came out in 2005.

Like the name suggests, this is seriously one helluva book to lay hands on if you are even remotely connected with the business of locksmithing. Everything about Locks – from lock making to lock breaking is covered in so much depth, that the only fear is that locksmithing would change from something beyond a hobby once you read this book!

This is the 6th edition of the book to be published by McGraw Hill Professional, and from 1976, there have been several revisions in this book to ensure that it is up to date. Coming to the specialty of this version, we found it to be the absolute bridge between professional and amateur locksmithing. Though Bill Phillips is among the top master locksmiths in the world today, the book has been written in a lucid and informative manner so that even if a layman reads this, he will understand most of the things mentioned (with the exception of a few technicalities which we will anyway not need).

If you are a regular on the Lockpicking channels of YouTube, you will know how exciting it is to be able to pick your own locks – especially when you get locked out of your home (which is likely to be quite often if you have kids) or you car (which is quite likely even if you don’t have kids!). But then videos serve only a few purposes, and unless you have the exact similar kind of a lock, picking it is a mammoth task – we will bring a few great lockpicking videos onto this blog in a few days time anyway, stay tuned. However, with the book, you are taken into the fundamentals of lock making and then lock picking. So even if you see a lock that you have not dealt with before, you will know exactly how it was made, and that makes picking it easier. One addition that has happened a few editions ago is the safe opening and servicing techniques. Whether you have a simple safe at home for jewelry, or a complex one at your office for documents, you will be able to open and service it quite efficiently with this user friendly guide.

The 6th edition is full of electronic locks and automatic locks, and there are pictorial representations which allow you to understand them better and also to service them in case of emergency. This is one of the greatest assets of this book, as it allows you to get familiar with a complex piece of technology which is now a huge part of our lives – electronic locking systems.

The registered locksmith test has changed, and the book carries the all-new test if you are looking to take one. Be sure that you find the answers in the book itself before you attempt this one!

Another key strength of this edition is the knowledge it gives you to conduct your own home (or office) security surveys. Usually large offices have professional locksmiths who specialize in assessing the amount of security your office needs, and then use that information to suggest the locking systems and levels needed. However, at home, most of the decisions are taken by us, and quite a few times, we are proven wrong. This section of the book enables you to make an informed decision about the level of home security you need.

Finally, since the book is equally targeted to the professional locksmith as it is to the layman (and all those in between); the last section talks about getting started in the locksmithing business and also gives very practical tips on getting hired as a locksmith if you are looking to so self-employed.

At 576 pages, the book is quite bulky, but the topic in itself is so dense that Bill needs to commended for keeping it down to those pages! At $ 29.95, it is surely a must-have in your library if you are even remotely interested in locks.

July 7, 2009

Has your home lock been installed by a Locksmith?

Filed under: Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 6:01 pm
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Home locking system Read the title once more – when we said locksmith, we don’t mean the one who came free of cost with your purchase from the local hardware store. More often than not, they are just normal carpenters – who will certainly do a good job – but are not trained locksmiths.

If you are wondering why you need a locksmith to install an ordinary home locking system, you have not got the point, have you?

Locksmiths are not just for breaking open locks of your home and your car when you get locked out. We wrote an article earlier which talks more about that, and you can read it here. Locksmithing is a profession that started with the invention of locks, and even today, the number one reason you should call a locksmith is to assess the amount of security which is right for your home, so you can get an apt locking system.

Most of the people do this fundamental mistake when they build homes. They just trust their contractors or even worse – their local hardware stores, and pick up any locking system that they lay their eyes on. That is the reason why you see a lot of homes with layers and layers of unnecessary security – including video cameras, light sensors, pressure pads, and so much more – when it is actually not needed! The other way round is seen even more often – in sensitive areas, it is necessary that you have a good sense of security. However, people more often than not just go with some ordinary locking system, and it is not strange to note that burglaries happen almost instantly.

Think of it like this – when you get down designing your home, you call your architect and contractor, and you sit with them to get your idea down as a blueprint. Along the same time, you usually think of what kind of furniture should come in, where all (and what kinds of) gadgets should be placed, what landscaping options are right for you, where will you have the entertainment options at home – including a swimming pool (if any), recreation room, den etc…, and the kind of kitchen that you’d like to have. Along with that, it is mandatory that you also call in a locksmith and get him to suggest the right level of security for your home. All of this information is to be passed on to your contractor so that he can build a home that comes all ready for your occupation.

You might be wondering – is that not something a professional security advisor should do?

You know what, that is exactly what a professional locksmith is. All of the large organizations have locksmiths on their rolls, whose primary responsibility it is to assess the levels of security that is needed for the office, and help in installing and maintaining them. Though the name ‘locksmith’ conjures up images of old fashioned people with hammers and tongs trying to break open an old fashioned Chinese lock, the truth is far from it. Modern locksmiths are more technologically savvy than you can even imagine! They install and crack open the most complicated electronic security systems with amazing skill, and that is precisely the reason why you should get a professional locksmith to install the locking system at home.

If your home lock has been installed by a professional locksmithing company, you will usually get discounts on your next calls, and even a set of free servicing calls – if needed. So even if the initial invoice seems to be on the higher side, you will be able to recover that amount in a few months time – without counting the peace of mind you get of a well heeled security system.

One last word – did you know that 2 out of 3 burglaries happen through a first floor window? (Source – www.911locksmith.com) Even then, people don’t realize the value of investing in professional advice with regard to the security of your home. No number of articles or advice from friends will equip you fully in this field. What you need is expert advice, and when you build a home, it should be high up on your priority list – it is your family’s security that we’re talking about here, right?

July 2, 2009

Fosters; and Locksmiths!

Filed under: Locksmiths,Videos — locksmithing @ 3:13 pm
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This one, I found online. Seriously funny commercial about the Australian definition of Locksmiths! (No offense to the real ones ) 🙂

June 23, 2009

The History of Locksmiths!

Filed under: Locksmiths — locksmithing @ 2:34 am
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History of LocksmithsIf you are wondering about the title of this article, don’t.

Locksmithing is such an exciting topic, and more so because of its history. The profession of locksmithing actually began in order to create locks, and not to break them like we observe today. Locks were considered to be a mark of the truly rich, and having ornate locks on their doors was a kind of a prestige booster.

In this article, we will take you back into the history of the locksmiths; and to do that, we need to go first to the glory days of the Egyptian civilization, where locksmiths were in absolute vogue.

The Egyptian days

The oldest known lock has been found in the ruins of Emperor Sargon II’s palace in Khorsabad, which today is in modern Iraq. The make was undoubtedly Egyptian, and the lock is dated to about 4000 years ago. So that is proof enough that locksmithing is not something new to the world; and to tell you another surprising thing, the technology used in those locks is the same pin and tumbler technology we use in our locks of today. Now, that does not mean that the technology used by locksmiths has not undergone any development; what it means is that the early locksmiths got it right the first time! There have been other discoveries in the area too, and many of the finds prove the same thing – that probably the ancient Egyptians were fathers of the locksmithing industry.

Early Days

After the ancient period, locksmiths were pretty much an integral part of society, and they continue to do so even today. Until recently, the bulk of locksmiths work involved delicately filing and crafting locks and keys. If you have an old lock at home with a big metal key (like one shown in the picture here), you can take it for granted that it was painstakingly hand made by a locksmith someplace! And when people lost the keys, it was an even more delicate and time consuming process to get a key shape out of the lock in order to make a duplicate. Most of the modern day locksmiths would not even know how to do that – but that is not required any more, is it?

At the turn of the earlier century, the filing process went on to machines, and metal crafting also followed suit. However, till very recent times, the making of safes and strong boxes was done only by hand, so that the duplication aspect almost becomes impossible. Even today, the most complicated strong boxes around the world have a hand made element in making them to make them doubly secure.

Modern Days

Like we mentioned earlier, most of the early locksmith’s work was to delicately craft locks and keys. However, most of that work is done by machines today, and there are more interesting and exciting avenues that have opened up for locksmiths.

If you think that locksmiths only break open locks for which keys are nowhere to be found, or to pry open automobile doors which have become auto locked, think again. With electronic locking systems ruling the roost, modern locksmiths are fully equipped to make and install these locking systems. That makes them real high tech, doesn’t it? There’s more – companies like 911 Locksmith specialize in assessing a new business for the amount of security they need. Since most of the business houses now also have an added layer of security in terms of electronic key tag systems, that is another thing the modern locksmith needs to incorporate along with the rest of the security system.

Modern day locksmiths are also experts in the adding of security layers to homes. So if you are planning on getting an electronic system in addition to the high quality door locks on your doors, it would make sense to contact a locksmith first, and then get him to install the right system for you.

These are exciting times for locksmiths, and the future is pretty bright! Today’s locksmiths are actually security engineers who are capable of designing, deploying and auditing a security system at home, office, and industry!

Try calling 911 Locksmith on 888-666-2050. You are assured of a 20 min response time!

Meet the Locksmith!

Filed under: Uncategorized — locksmithing @ 2:28 am
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Meet the LocksmithIf you look up Wikipedia for the term ‘Locksmith’, it will tell you that the first lock was probably manufactured about 4000 years ago by the Egyptians, and that it also used a pin tumbler technology similar to the one we use in today’s locks. That would naturally mean that locksmiths were around even back then!

Unlike what a lot of people think, locksmiths don’t just break locks. Actually, they used to make the locks. But with most of the locks becoming machine made commercially nowadays, the job description of locksmiths has changed; and is changing every day.

‘Have lock – will pick’ has been the driving motto of people right from time immemorial; but the locksmiths we are speaking of here is not the one you see in films picking locks in casinos and rich houses.

One of the worst things that can happen to you is to be locked out of your own house. With today’s locks becoming more and more security conscious, it is mandatory that you take extreme care with the locks – or they will precisely do that – lock you out! The locks used in a majority of houses across the world is the one way lock piece, which can only be opened from outside with the help of a key. And those are the easy ones! As security concerns around the world are increasing, so is the amount of research going into making locks. Ranging from the old fashioned lever locks to the high tech digital locks that have multiple levels of security in place, everything has a nemesis – going against the owner himself!

It is then that the locksmith suddenly becomes so important! When you look at it from the locksmith’s point of view, every call is an emergency. When the owner of the house is locked outside, you would not want to keep him out there for long! Every single call – whether you have locked yourself out of your car, or you have lost your house keys while on a trip, every single situation is an emergency; and today’s locksmiths are geared up to meet all these challenges. Most of the calls that locksmiths get are from security companies that are on contract with a premises and suddenly find that the security system is not working like it should. Most of the high end companies (and for sure every security company worth its salt) would have locksmiths on their permanent rolls, and with hundreds of doors and multiple levels of security within every building, something or the other will always go wrong! In home calls, since most of the calls are classified ‘urgent’, there are new-age locksmith companies that offer a 20 minute response time. www.911locksmith.com is one such company that services the whole of USA.

A major requirement for a trained locksmith is when you are installing a modern locking system. Whether it is for the front door of your house, or an added layer of security to a bank vault, the modern security systems are so complicated that unless you get a trained person, the installation cannot be done! That is why the profession is so highly regarded in terms of ethics. Good locksmiths are highly in demand, and almost all of them value their job very highly. Like we mentioned earlier, another major reason (probably this is what keeps most of the locksmiths busy through out the day) is in automobiles. You must have locked yourself out of your car several times by now! With modern cars adding more and more levers to the door locks, you can’t just open it with a plastic piece under the rubber window beading like in the old times. You certainly need a locksmith for that!

Another big reason you need a locksmith is to help you decide how much security is good enough for your home or your office. Since we are not personally qualified to do that, we will need a professional locksmith. Most homes (or associations if you live in one) will have a locksmith company like 911 Locksmith on call. Find out if you have one – or get a number now. You never know when you will need one!

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