The majority of warded locks come in the form
of padlocks. The tools needed for such a lock can either be made or
purchased at low cost. These being skeleton keys. This type of lock is the
only type which skeleton keys are available for. At this point it should
be noted what a skeleton key actually is in order to dispel any myths
A skeleton key is simply a key which only consists of enough metal to open the lock. With the warded lock, with reference to the mechanisms section, it can be seen that part of the lock does not move, i.e. the actual ward. This is where a key which only has enough metal to operate the locking part, comes in. The diagram below illustrates the function and operation of the skeleton key.
As can be seen, part of the key has been filed away preventing the key from being stopped by the ward, thus allowing the remaining end section to come into contact with the locking mechanism and open the lock.
These skeleton keys can be bought quite cheaply, however, they can also be made with little difficulty. A skeleton key for a particular make of a warded lock which opens other locks in the same series can be made quite easily by removing part of the key which would be obstructed by the ward. The diagram below shows how a key to a lock can be made to open other locks of the same series and possibly warded locks of other manufacturers.
The following illustration depicts other skeleton keys which can be manufactured.
Pin Tumbler & Wafer
The tools required to open these two types of locks are similar and will therefore be looked at together.
Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, there are no skeleton keys which open this type of lock as is depeicted in films, but is more down to skill and practise.
These are for the use of 'pure picking' as will be explained in the techniques section.
All that is needed here is to understand what they are and to appreciate that they come in a variety of sizes.
Rakes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The diagram below shows some fo the major ones.
Turning Tools/Tension Wrench
A vital requirement in the picking of these types of locks.
This tool can be easily made by grinding a hacksaw blade to a tapered point similar to that shown below.
The size of this will be determined by the lever lock to be picked.
Turning Tool/Tension Wrench
This tool, although has the same name as that used for pin and wafer locks, is very different in construction. Both by way of shape and strength of metal used. The reason for this will be discussed in the techniques section.
Combination Brief Case
This type of probe doesn't require the strength of the similar bypass pick used for pin tumbler locks but instead must be extremely thin.
This probe is for the sole purpose of opening brief case combination locks.
The probe which I constructed for this use was made from a feeler guage. In particular a number 12
Although picks are relatively cheap to purchase it can often be quite difficult obtaining them and finding outlets which will sell them to you.
This need not be a serious problem as adequate picks can be constructed by oneself with a little hardwork and patience.
In order to make a pick it is a vital requirement that you have a grinder, as files will not shape the metal required to make a strong and long lasting pick.
This brings us to an important issue, i.e., what metal should be used and where can it be obtained? Well for a pick to be of any use it must fulfil two main criteria. It must be strong and it must also be thin, (to get past any fancy key hole which stands between you and the mechanism).
Such metal can easily be found in the form of hacksaw blades. These can be marked into the shape of picks by use of a permanent pen and can then be ground carefully to the shape required. This metal is extremely useful and can be used to construct the hook picks, rakes, bypass pick and lever lock lifter pick.
Feeler guage sets, as available from hardware or automobile shops, also provide metal which can be used. Although some of these are only useful for shims they can be used for picks or probes, (especially combination probe), depending on their strength and thickness.
The metal used for turning tools both for pintumbler/wafer and lever will vary. For a turning tool used to open a pin tumbler or wafer lock any springy metal which can be bent to the shape illustrated above, i.e, the straight forward simple turning tool type A, without the tool losing its shape will be sufficient.
The lever lock turning tool must be constructed from a much more rigid and stronger metal. It should be such that once in the required shape will not bend as it must be able to exert a strong turning force.
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