Home American Brand Padlocks (19) How to Open American Series 1205 w/Spools & Serrated Pins

(19) How to Open American Series 1205 w/Spools & Serrated Pins


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My vises are made by Panavise, a U.S. Company.  The one with the wide jaws is the model 350.  The smaller one is the model 301. Both have the 312 Base mount – www.panavise.com



  1. I just popped one of these for the 1st time today. Like Bill says, light tension is the key. Sadly he makes this look easy. The last pin (#3) in my lock had to be muscled in. I though for sure I was going to hear some pins drop, but the core turned. Thanks for the video, without it is prob still be fighting this lock.

  2. Wow!
    Very new to the SPPing hobby. (I've only been at it for about a month now.)

    I just wanted to express my appreciation towards your "Stellar" tutorials.
    Your detailed articulation has allowed my skills to flourish.

    I only post this now because I was holding off on my American 1205. Your tutorial gave me the confidence to dig in.
    Unfortunately I didn't get it on video. (Wasn't expecting the pick) Got it picked though!!
    Little adrenaline rush…

    Appreciate your time immensely. Expect a donation to LockTube.

    A babe in the cylinder.

  3. Thanks to your crystal clear explanation on tension for these babies I just successfully picked my two American Series 1100 locks. You're the man!

  4. Bill, stuck on a American A1100 I bought 2, they are full of serrated key pins. 4 serrations on 4 drivers 2 serrations on 2 spools. took one apart & was able to pick 4 pins. the gate keeper is a serrated spool. 2nd serrated 3rd serrated spool the rest 4 serrations. key pins fell out of the 1 lock while I was trying to add a 5th pin but now it's stuck and I can't get it apart, key won't turn. help ×2

  5. I spp'd my first American lock today. For me the trouble I was having was I was giving it too much tension. once I switched to very vert light it popped. I almost dropped the tension wrench twice as an example.

  6. Still trying to open an 1105 made in 1997. I get some pin sets and major turns on the plug but eventually get to a point of stalemate. I am sure since I am still new at this I am using too much tension and/or over setting at least one pin. I tried picking just before watching this video again. Got several sets and 3 turns of the plug and then nothing. I did check the pins and have at least one that is springy. Gotta have something over set. Glad I found this video. I was starting to think I was going to need magic. I'll git it!

  7. Mr. Bill, hate to sound like a whiner but here's my pickle. I have "all" the correct tools, used to pop all Masters, the Yales, the Popular Mechanics, etc., just for the fun of it. Laid off for two yrs (guitar lessons), now dinking with locks again for fun of it. But now I can't Pop hardly any locks. Driving me nuts! Seems I'm not getting that first false pin set. Arrrg. Suggestions?

  8. Hi, I understand how spool pins and other similar pins will give you feedback. I don't understand how serrated pins will give feedback? What's the difference in feel when you're caught on a serration then hitting the shear line? Thanks for the video.

  9. Im currently working on 1100 series, still newbie, but finding it hard to get the feel on the pins!! Guess Ill keep on practicing!! Thks for the vids

  10. you can not use rake in these can you? i just started picking and ive felt like ive picked the lock on my front door and i still havn't got it. i thought it was because of a security pin so can you tell me what i should do?

  11. Great video Bill! I've recently gotten into picking & I have found your videos to be most informative for a beginner!

    I can honestly say that I am actually doing OK with American locks, well the 1105 & the 1205 so far! I actually do like the fact that I can tell easier where the pins are binding & once I get a false set, I know I'm close!

    I'm actually having more difficulties with the master Magnum series with the octagonal shackle & rubber weather cover. I'm not sure if it's because of all the slop in the lock or what, but I am enjoying American locks & have ordered some more off of eBay!

    Thanks for all of the great videos Bill, I have watched many & will continue! 

  12. Can you SPP an American Series A50D for us in this Playlist? I am working with a new one I got at Home Depot for $12 and I don't know why I'm having trouble. I think maybe it is because it is new as the tolerances seem really tight. I am using a set of Sparrows Monstrum XXL and even the thinnest picks seem to drag going into the lock to get at the pins. I noticed you are using a Peterson are they perhaps thinner? I have tried both bottom and top tension, like in this video for the 1205 and applying top tension just seems to make things more crammed even though I am doing it lightly like you show. There is a huge space at the bottom of the keyway which would seem to be a better option for tensioning than the top. Thanks for making all the great videos you do! I have learned more from you than anyone else in Locksport.

  13. The cost to ship a Chinese 264 lock (they are all pretty much the same) back and forth would be cost prohibitive. Just be confident that if the key opens it (proving that it works) then it can be picked. If you can't pick it yet, set it aside while you pick other locks for a week, then come back to it. You will eventually pick it. A week after that you'll wonder why you thought it was so "hard". Practice and patience…keep at it.

  14. Hi Bill, i have a Lemen 264 (top Security) which i just cannot SPP! do you have one and would you attempt to spa so i can get some tips? can i send it to you and then watch to see how long it takes you?

  15. Sure, if there is no security wafer installed you can bypass these. Many of these older "color-series" locks never had wafers to begin with. Mine do though. Even if it DOES have a wafer, you could use a wafer breaker to punch through it, then use your bypass tool to get in. That's why I always put 2-3 wafers in to prevent bypassing.

  16. Jdjojoda,

    We all are – I avoided them for several years because I they frustrated me. Then I focused exclusively on American locks for a couple of months and at some point something clicked. I've got several lessons learned and will put together another American lock video with them included. Here in the U.S., these are very common and popular locks so they're hard to avoid.

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