Understanding how to pick locks can save you and your friends & family hundreds of dollars. More importantly, your skills save time and, when someone loses a key, turn a potential disastrous situation into a celebration. Something as simple as knowing how to rake can elevate your status to “Celebrity” in just a few moments. These are your stories:
Jason: I just wanted to extend my sincere thanks to you for all I’ve learned from your YouTube videos – you’ve had more of an impact than perhaps you even know.
A few days ago I got a message from a friend who knows what I do asking for assistance with her front door lock – she had lost her keys and the deadbolt was her primary method of securing her house when she was out. The emergency locksmith charges $200, but I had some spare Weiser cores so I offered to come and take a look at it for her and pin it to something I could give her a key to so she could use it again. No key, so I go to pick it open to remove the core and… nothing. It just wasn’t working and the rear pins felt obstructed. I’d brought all my supplies, so I ended up just replacing the entire deadbolt for her and throwing the old lock in my bag to look at back home. The next day, I decided to see what was up, still couldn’t pick it (which is unusual for a lock that bad), so I removed the springs and pins from the crimped top piece and then removed the core. And half a broken key fell out of the keyway. After measuring the key and measuring the key pins in her lock, it was her key. Turns out her ex-husband (who is somewhat unhinged) had stolen her keys while visiting their son in the hospital that week and had attempted to break in that night, breaking the key off in the lock. If a locksmith had just discarded the old cylinder she may never have known. She now has police assistance and the key fragment has been taken into evidence, since I only ever touched it with tweezers. So yeah, quite apart from me spending many enjoyable hours picking locks while watching your videos, the education you provide has very meaningful real-world benefits. Thank you again.
Nathan: Hey Bill. I’ve been watching for a few weeks now, and I have to say, I’m a huge fan. What you are doing, encouraging beginners in the locksport hobby, is something that’s rare. Not only that, you manage to pull it off without giving off the ‘criminal’ vibe that a lot of people in the community seem to encounter as a stigma; your past experiences and discipline come through in your mannerisms on camera.
However, my reason for writing you and taking up some of your limited time was more of a simple ‘thank you’. A while back, my company let an employee go; per standard procedure, you terminate physical and digital access to the company resources, separate personal property, and go your separate ways. The person in question, however, was a new IT trainee, and as such, they had high-value assets in their desk. As part of the process, I secured the desk via the built-in lock and the key found in the desk drawer, simply to prevent things from going walk-about.
Fast forward nearly a month, and the IT director (to whom I handed the key) is unable to open the drawers. To my surprise, neither am I. Rather than force the lock, I suggested that I might be able to get it open. So, I improvised some tools out of various office supplies and objects, and managed to get it open after some small struggle. I felt like I was on top of the world. So I started watching some picking video online to gain more information, at which point, I ended up being directed to your channel. I feel this is where my education started.
I came to understand how the drawer got locked with I now know must have been the wrong key. I also know why it was relatively simple lock to open, being of the typical cabinet built-in wafer tumbler type; I have since picked many of them in a minute or less with various tools and methods. And I really feel I have an excellent grasp on locksmithing theory and practices, to the point where I am looking forward to making a few of my own from stock. The day that I am able to send you a challenge lock, I think I will feel accomplished beyond words.
To put an end to this short book, my very first legitimate pick kit arrives today, the good-old standard of beginners, the Southord 14-piece. I am beyond excited to finally, officially be able to join this amazing community of tinkerers and puzzle solvers, and look forward to many more entries from you, the mentor, the guru. I wish you and yours all the best, and would like to once again thank you for the information and inspiration you have provided to me. Maybe it’s my nature, maybe it’s the double engineering degrees and metallurgy study, maybe it’s just the primitive urge to not want to be unable to open something that’s closed, but I’m starting my journey today, and you’ve been instrumental in that.
Curtis: Master Lock Good for SOMETHING?
So my cousin has had a V6 engine sitting in our garage for… too many years now. Yesterday he decides he’s going to pick it up since he found a buyer. Around 7 pm he shows up, unloads a few 2×4’s, a couple chains, and a come-along ratchet from his truck, and proceeds to hammer together an improvised engine hoist, badly. But sure, why not, faster he’s done, the faster I can get back to my life. So I try to help him out. I had my first learner lock in my pocket, a Master #1, and a tension wrench and half-diamond I made from wiper inserts. Until we need something to connect all the chains together, and he starts looking for a bolt… Sensing tragedy, I had an idea, so I pulled out my lock and tools, SPP the thing open in seconds, and use it to secure the chains so we can lift the engine. Nearly every stupid component of that Wile. E. Coyote rig he built tried to give, outright broke (the sound of a V6 hitting concrete is pretty impressive) or stretched and creaked the entire time. But hours, and some creative leverage, later, we were done. I jump in the truck bed, pick open my lock again and shove it back in my pocket. It survived in perfect working condition…
Marshmallow core and body of steel indeed.
John T: As a little boy (age 6) we had a mysterious old wooden shed in the garden of a property my parents were renting. We never knew what was inside and my siblings and i imagined all sorts of child like fantasies.
One day whilst playing near the shed looking for slugs and lizards i picked up a stone and found something that led to a passion being born.. a key. It was a big heavy dark key. The moment was truly magical, as if i had found a long lost mystical artifact. The excitement was explainable, I guess I still don’t quite understand it today.
Time stood still as the door drew me towards itself, head spinning, fear and curiosity injecting adrenaline into my veins. The few feet to the door felt like a journey with my tunnel vision. I lifted my shaking hand slowly.. the key stood still for a few seconds, just an inch from the keyhole. ‘Was i really going to do it’ i thought..
When i finally got the courage to put it in and turn, the old heavy mechanism squeaked, but nothing happened. I turned with all my might using both hands. Then suddenly! the lock snapped open under tension and the skew, outward leaning door, knocked me back off my feet – a cloud of dust pouring out over me.
The smell is the thing that i remember the clearest. A mixture of oil, wood tar, rust and leather. To this day these smells make my heart pump faster. I stood up, face smeared with sweat and dust. I slowly, courageously peered in through the open doorway. There were no witches, no cauldrons, no dwarfs.
What i found in there was something completely different, something i wouldn’t understand until many years later. The walls were full of tools. Saws, files, hammers of all sizes. There were books and paper notepads. Boxes of all different sizes. On one wall however, was something that caught my attention. Hanging from neatly arranged rows of tiny nails were hundreds of shiny keys. Keys of all different shapes, sizes and colors.
What i had unknowingly stumbled upon that day was a locksmiths tool shed. On the thick wooden workbench was a vice, buckets of sharp probing tools and an astonishing collection of old locks.
It was the brilliant shiny keys and locks that i was most interested in. Whenever i was sure nobody was looking, i would spend much of my free time matching keys with locks. Chasing that satisfying sound that came with a successful match was my drug.
A year later we moved out of this house, and with it a part of me stayed behind in that shed. The passion for keys and locks however, stayed As i got older i collected many keys and locks. We moved a lot, so i collected them all over.
One day in school i forgot the code to a cheap Chinese push button lock that i was using that week. This meant not getting access to my sport clothes and thus punishment. I desperately tried various combinations, but i had so many in my head that it was hopeless trying to remember. In my frustration, whilst pulling on the lock, i managed to accidentally get the code right. I had accidentally cracked my first coded padlock. This was where a new passion started..
Now i am a student living here in Germany, i have a kit of home made picks and tension wrenches. I always try and challenge myself to use random objects to open doors or padlocks. I’ve never owned a real kit, but I’m thinking about buying one.
I just recently discovered your channel when I couldn’t get access to a very tough ZI IKON. There is a mysterious door in my building and i had been trying for days to pick the lock. Thanks for your help, we now have a new attic room for storage in our old building. I think nobody has been up there for at least a decade from the looks of things.
I hope this wasn’t a boring read, but it felt good sharing it. You might not even ever read this, but it doesn’t matter. I just enjoyed writing it down i guess. I really really enjoy your channel. I’ve discovered a new world of ideas and challenges through it. Keep doing what you do, you’re an excellent YouTuber. I think you express your thoughts and passion exceptionally well on camera. I look forward to discover more every day.
Scarz1951: My brother owns several cats. A couple of them need medication. Lloyd called me Sunday Feb. 19. He was locked out and couldn’t doctor his cats. I went to his place and picked the lock on his front door. Pins 1&2 were very stuff. Lloyd’s neighbor fetched a can of WD-40 and I gave the lock a shot of that and raked it a few times to loosen the pins. The rest is history. The door was open in a few minutes and the sick kitties got their meds.
Robert: A Beginner’s Story At Lock Picking
It began whilst looking on Amazon UK. Lock Picks for sale. ‘Really,’ I thought, ‘how interesting.’ After dwelling upon this for a while I wandered over to YouTube, to my surprise there are hundreds of videos on lock picking. It was amazing to view those who possessed the skill to open a locked lock with a thin lock pick. Next day, I went back to Amazon UK and purchased the best quality lock picks that I saw there. A Southord C2010 set for around £30.00. I had saved all my old locks that had been on my front doors in times past. Oh boy, they were very old locks too. I reckon I can pick these old locks of mine, after awhile, that is.
Awhile had past, I had tried to pick my old locks and failed. I view more YouTube videos to see if I’ve missed something that I hadn’t seen before. ‘I think that tension tool isn’t supposed to be held so hard,’ I thought, ‘I’ll give that a try.’ I try again, and bingo, one of my seven old locks pops open. Oh boy! Here begins my career as an international jewel thief. I’ll soon be opening rock solid safes hidden behind works of art at the top of skyscrapers somewhere. ‘I might as well create my own Wanted Poster using Photoshop now,’ I thought. The lock I opened was such a rusty old lock, too. From hereon in I did the most sensible thing any beginner could do, I watched more and more YouTube videos on lock picking. Some of these guys are damn good educators, actually showing how the inside of a lock works. They revealed the locks that, though most of the general public thought were good secure locks, they were in fact quite deplorable and would secure nothing. ‘Damn, I had one of those locks securing my bicycle when I was kid.’
I viewed a video about bumping a lock. I am enthralled even more when I see this. I look on Amazon UK and bump keys are for sale, so I buy some. From my selection of old locks, that I couldn’t lock pick, could I bump them open? Crikey! Bumping worked. I opened all of my old locks this way. I buy more lock picking bump keys.
What fascinated me was how a lock was opened using a lock pick. It’s called Single Pin Picking (SPP). This is so very skilful. Could I obtain this skill? Annoyingly, when I watch the SPP artists on YouTube they always have the equipment, like a tall vice that held the lock for them to pick. A vice is expensive, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get one. What I do is buy a cheap, inadequate vice that holds a lock still. A vice is absolutely necessary.
I watch more videos and I learn from them. I begin to SPP; even if I can’t pick a lock, I can feel the pins. I learn to hold the tension tool with no strain. As I feel the pins, I ask myself, does one pick a lock or tickle the pins. How do I learn to SPP? I must have this skill. I watch hundreds of YouTube videos. One guy is a bright star, Bosnianbill. He’s made over 900 videos and every one is better than anything on the TV. I watch around 100 of his videos, and although I cannot do as he does, I learn what SPP lock picking is about and how to do it. He reveals the inside of a lock he has picked, every time. I am amazed. He’ll never want to answer an email with a silly beginners question. I send one anyway. Bosnianbill replies and, you know what, I’m delighted. I watch more of Bosnianbill’s videos. How could anyone could watch 900 YouTube videos — I did.
At home I try every day to SPP. I get better at it the more I try. I purchase a bunch of second hand Euro Cylinder locks from Ebay UK. This was a good purchase. Though I didn’t have the proper tools, I took the locks apart. Each lock went into a small plastic bag. Bosnianbill has created a video on how to do every conceivable thing with locks. All that I have to do is seek out the appropriate video and watch and learn. Seeing the inner parts of a lock I had taken apart is quite fascinating, the first time. I could put them together again. A Bosnianbill video shows how to do it! Searching on the Internet I find a HUK Disassembly Tool Kit, £20.00 or more. It’s a must for me. I send an email to Bosnianbill mentioning this useful beginners tool kit. He buys one to review it. He reviews many items, and does so with honesty and integrity. I didn’t think I could influence a master that much, but then masters teach beginners so very well.
With my Ebay purchased Euro Cylinder locks, I learn from a particular Bosnianbill video titled: DIY Training Locks, how to make these Euro Cylinder locks into my own training locks. My ability to SPP races forward at an alarming rate. I can put in and take out the pins with ease. I start at the beginning. Just two pins in one lock, I SPP it with ease. A third pin goes in. I pick this lock repeatedly. Somehow, each time I tickle those plain pins I learn something new. How far the pick goes in so as to recognise which pin I’m on. When do they click? Recognising the sound of the click. It seems every pin clicks differently. I SPP this 3 pin lock 100 times! Every time it feels different. Didn’t I say it was enthralling. I’m unshaven, unwashed, I’ve got to eat, which I do. Next day, in goes a fourth pin. This self-created DIY training lock is the equal of receiving one-to-one training from a locksmith tutor. I actually improve at an hourly rate.
I believe in never rushing anything. ‘Go slow,’ going slow is an effective learning method. Today, I am still a beginner. I will be for years. My SPP, abilities improve as I continue to try every day. I can open locks. I really can open locks.
Who am I? I’m Bertie Pimplebum. It’s the funniest YouTube name ever created. I’m as good at comedy as Bosnianbill is at lock picking.
UPDATE: A Beginners Experience.
I purchased 12 second-hand Euro Cylinders from EBay UK. I wanted the pins & springs from them. I tried to make a DIY Training Lock from three of these knackered, filthy locks. Here I spent many wasted hours cleaning them. A much better choice would have been to buy a NEW Euro Cylinder from Amazon U.K., and transform that into a DIY Training Lock. They go for as little as £5.00. Make the better choice for yourself and buy a new Euro Cylinder. It’ll make a better training lock and be a pleasure for you to learn from. You can get different pins and springs from old locks. Regards. Hey! Bertie Pimplebum is not my real name, it’s a fun YouTube name.
Geoffrey: “Our daughter was born over a month premature, so we hadn’t yet set up our home for a baby, plus we were still in the process of moving into the home. While we were at the hospital with our tiny newborn, trying to get her blood sugar high enough to keep her out of NICU, my mother-in-law kindly came to help organize our house and to get it ready for the baby. My mother-in-law is mostly deaf, and while organizing our bathroom, was unaware of uninvited guest(s) who apparently spent a substantial amount of time burglarizing us. One of the stolen items was my key ring that housed a padlock key for three rifle cases. Fortunately, the cases were being stored at my mother’s house during our move, but my mom had lost the backup key. I didn’t want to destroy the cases, and did not have appropriate tools to cut the locks, so I needed to pick them to get the rifles into a safe. At this time, I was a very unskilled lockpicker and had only opened Defiant and Kwickset locks. The padlocks weren’t difficult (Master 4-pin), but fastened to the cases they were hard to maneuver into a position that made the keyway accessible. At that time those locks were the most difficult lockpicking challenge I had yet come across, and the only “authentic” lockpicking scenario of my life. Thankfully, after more than half an hour of struggle, I got all three locks and cases open, and got the rifles into their safe. It was a stressful time with a premature baby, a violated home, many lost and loved belongings, and a terrified mother-in-law, so getting those locks open was a happy event.”
J. Moore (Winner #2): “About 12 years ago, on a cold January morning, a coworker and I set out at 0’dark 30 to do a land survey for a well-known cellular provider in the mountains of southern California. The site was very remote and took almost 2.5 hours to reach by 4wd truck over steep, poorly graded, trails. We were becoming somewhat used to this type of excursion; as cellular expansion in poorly-covered areas was becoming popular and the big cell companies raced to be the first to blanket all of the southern half of the state with tumor-causing radio transmissions, our small surveying operation was swimming in requests for this type of work. When we got within 5 miles of the site, the “road” narrowed and we were wedged between a steep hill on one side and a 300-foot vertical drop on the other. With only a foot or two of shoulder, we slowly crept past an old chain gate, pulling in the mirrors as we went by the posts. The gate was comprised of a large chain, the kind you would use to tie down heavy equipment on a flat bed truck, and had a couple of large locks on each end. It was only secured to the posts on one end with the rest of the chain lying half-buried in the road. We reached the summit of the “hill” just after sunrise and took a moment to admire the vast emptiness of the area and steepness of the terrain. Why would anyone put a cell tower out here? Who are they servicing? We asked each other before checking our phones… yep, “no service”, we turned our phones off and went to work. Many hours later we finished up our work, packed our gear, and headed down the trail. When we reached the chain gate we quickly noticed that someone had put the chain in place and locked the previously unsecured end to the post. Normally, every carrier has either a master key or combo they use on all of their locks, so I got out of the truck and tried every key and combo I had, but nothing worked! With no way to go around the gate or find another trail, we were screwed. The sun was beginning to set through the pine trees and the temperature was dropping quickly. Remembering we usually carry a set of bolt cutters in the truck, I quickly started rummaging through the gear with no success (it turned out that another crew decided to “borrow” our bolt cutters over a month ago and never bothered to return them). I did own a simple pick set years ago, when I first learned how to rake locks, but those picks were long gone by this point. Sitting in the cab of the truck, thinking of how we were going to keep warm with less than 1/4 tank of gas, I noticed a few paperclips in the ashtray. Grabbing a set of pliers, I was able to make a tension wrench and (what was supposed to be) a simple “W” rake. The- rake was ugly and the tension wrench was weak, but after a few minutes on a Master Lock (#5, I think), POP! A huge rush of relief swept over me as I threw the chain down and hauled ass out of there, not even bothering to secure the gate back. Thanks to the engineers at Master Lock, I was able to save 2 people from becoming human popsicles.”
Schnuz: “Thought that I’d give you a brief history to my lockpicking skills and how I got to be here. My first experience with lockpicking/ building (re pinning?) was over thirty years ago when I acquired an (even then) old car, an MGB GT. The door locks were a bit dodgy, the drivers door opened if you looked at it with the key but the passenger door refused to either lock or unlock with the key without some severe wiggling. To overcome that I acquired a large number of door locks from a scrap yard and took them apart. The first one went SPRANG with bits flying everywhere so I was none the wiser but with the second one I took more care and very shortly had two door locks that worked perfectly and I felt rather smug with my lock building skills. That did teach me quite a bit about how locks work and especially how old car locks of that era were very prone to wear and then being easier to gain access. It was a few years later that I had need to draw on that knowledge and it was at a wedding that I was a guest of. A friend had locked herself out of her car and needed help so I took my wife’s car key (same model of car) and went and did what you may call a kinetic or raking attack on the drivers door and sure enough it unlocked within about two seconds. Out of curiosity I did try it on the passenger door as well but failed to gain entry on that door as the lock wasn’t as worn. After that we skip a decade or so until I found myself at work dressed head to toe in Lycra (I had cycled in) with my desired work attire in a locker, the key of which was still sitting on the kitchen work surface at home. With my very rustic knowledge and virtually none existent lock picking skills I took a small screwdriver (AKA torsion wrench) and a small allen key (AKA lock pick) and managed to rake the lock open thereby managing not to inflict a day long visitation of slightly smelly Lycra on the work colleagues.
That experience did inflate the ego slightly and over the passing years I have had several moments of “yeah, course I can get that open for you” but after a few failures I’ve modified it to “I’ll give it a go”. About nine months ago a geocache was published (one of my other pastimes) which required you to locate a key to get into it. At the time I thought phht, I won’t need no stinking key 😉 but after finally buying a lock picking set and checking my skills on a couple of padlocks I decided that I may need to hone them somewhat before being really confident. That lead to a lot of Utubing and to be honest mostly on the Bosniabill channel as it seemed to be the best and most watchable on the Ipod. I am now hooked, I have a vice, padlocks galore, a couple of cylinders and a euro lock, most of which are beyond my expertise, although I do have two master locks that are giving me confidence and feel as to what to expect. Thanks for all of the informational and entertaining video’s (I’m beginning to work through them from #1), I’m not ready to enter any lock picking competitions yet but I am improving.”
Matthias: “About 30 years ago I was with my parents on holiday in England with our car. Somewhere in the country we once forgot the key in the car and locked it. Fortunately somebody living nearby showed us how to open the card with a screwdriver (to lever out the door a bit), a cloth (to prevent damage by the screwdriver) and a wire cloth hanger (to catch the button in the door and pull it out). Strangely we locked out ourselves another two times on this holiday and knew then what to do and what to get. Strangely we never ever after locked out ourselves on holiday. I think this holiday was also where we forgot the purse on the car roof and drove through a city without losing it.”
Nathan 91506 (Winner #1): “I am a property manager. I rented a storage space to a guy about four years ago. Unfortunately, this person died. His son contacted me and provided proof of the tenant’s death and proof of kinship. I had the son sign a statement attesting to no one else having a superior claim to the contents of the garage. I then allowed the son access to the garage. The son had keys to the padlock that was on the garage door, but I had overlocked it due to unpaid storage fees. The son paid what was owed and stated that he wanted to continue to rent the garage. He paid the storage fees for two more months and then stopped paying. During the two months when he was paying the storage fee, he would occasionally show up and remove things from the garage. The son stopped paying the storage fee after two months. I then contacted the son and requested payment. He said that he had removed everything he wanted and that he left me the garbage. He let me know that he had no intention of paying any more money. Since the storage fee was overdue, I immediately placed a lien on the belongings by overlocking again and mailing a Notice of Lien, Notice of Abandonment, and Notice of Termination of Tenancy. At this point, with all the added fees, the son owed me $300. I waited the required eighteen days. In California, anything abandoned after 18 days (with proper notice) that is worth less than $700 becomes the property of the landlord. Now here is the interesting lockpicking portion of the story: the lock was a disk-type lock so I could not cut it off due to a padlock cover on the hasp. I used several lockpicks and tension tools. Nothing seemed to work. Then I used a rake in combination with a Sparrows Gem. After about two minutes using the rake and Gem, I was able to remove the large disklock. I had a great feeling when that cylinder turned and the shackle opened. It was a Master with a hexagonal shackle so that gave me an extra sense of satisfaction since I know Master considers these locks to be high security (according to them). It is always satisfying to pick a lock that the manufacturer states is “high security.” I then determined that the fair value of the items was $600 so I placed an advertisement offering to sell it for $600. Two persons showed up at the same time to look at the items. I said that the first person who paid me $600 will have bought it. One of them immediately removed a big wad of hundred dollar bills, peeled off six of them, and handed them to me. I said that he had bought it. The other person said that this was not fair. I then asked this person if he had $600 on him. He said no, but he could go to the bank and get it. I said that I was accepting the $600 from the other person because he came prepared. It turns out that the items in the garage were worth well more than $600 to the right person(s). I have no problem with someone making money. I made an extra $300 by being able to pick a lock, the buyer made a good profit, and the son lost out because he was an asshole. Justice is a sweet thing. By the way, I gave the padlock to a friend who is a locksmith; he impressioned a key for it and sold it to someone. Nothing went to waste.”
Michael W: “My lock picking has come in handy a couple of times. I have been practicing on and off for several years. I used to work as a counter man at an auto parts house. One day a lady came in and told us that she had lost the key to her locking gas cap. I had my Southord pick set in my pocket and with her permission was able to pick the lock open. She bought her a new gas cap and was on her way. The other time I used my lock picking skills I was doing some handyman work at my brother’s house. He left for work and locked me out in the backyard where I was painting his shed. I had an extension cord with power and used my angle grinder to grind an allen wrench into a tension wrench and then ground a standard hook out of a small pocket screwdriver. I was then able to pick open the lock and get back inside so I wasn’t locked out for the rest of the day.”
Brad B: “I was asleep one night and I heard a bunch of noise outside my apartment. Wondering what was happening I checked my phone and realized it was 4am so I figured I’d check the door and see what was going on. I listened and looked in the small crack of the door to realize my neighbors were very drunk and locked out of their apartment. After a couple seconds one of them knocked. I cracked the door and they asked if there was any way my key would work on their door. I kind of laughed a little and said no, that’s not really how locks work, but I might be able to help you out. I grabbed my set and got the door open.”
Kris S: “I actually have two stories for you. The first is just sort of humorous. The very first time I left my house with lockpicks in my wallet I managed to lock myself out of the house and had to use them to get back in. I thought my keys were in my pocket, but they were actually sitting on my desk. Fortunately for me the lock on my front door at the time was a Defiant. I’ve since upgraded. I should also note that this is the first time in my adult life that I’ve locked myself out of my house. The irony of it also being the first time I had picks on my person is mildly amusing.
The second story is the time I saved a life with that same wallet friendly pick set. The local inline hockey court sits on top of an indoor shooting range and one of the features of the area is a set of air vents for the range that is enclosed, including the top, with a fence. One time I showed up for the regular Saturday evening inline hockey game to find a dove trapped in that cage and obviously exhausted from what must have been several hours of trying to get out. How it got in there I’ve no clue. The city maintains the area so there was zero chance of getting anyone with a key out there before Monday, and the poor bird was obviously not going to last that long. In fact it seemed to be getting weak enough that a couple of the people present voiced opinions that it probably wouldn’t Sunday morning if it didn’t somehow get out. I took a look at the lock and saw that it was a Master #1, so I let the bird out then locked it back up.”
Keith W: “I managed to lock myself out of our house about 10 years ago right after getting moved in. Fortunately, I was in our 3 season room which is also locked but at least kept me out of the weather. It was raining out, relatively cold, and I was in my sweats with socks only, no shoes, and no cell phone with me. I wasn’t walking to the neighbors in the rain in socks to call my wife, who had just left for work. The locks had all just been rekeyed by a local locksmith too. After sizing up the situation, I managed to take a picture off the wall and pull the finishing nail out. I use the *soft* steel wire on the picture back to form a crude pick, and used the rim of small paint can that just happened to be there to bend the finishing nail into a tiny tension wrench. It took about 30 minutes to get those brand new sharp pins picked and with really poor tools, but I was in and didn’t have to call anyone. I hadn’t locked myself out of a house before and haven’t done it since!”
Ed: “At a middle school, a friend was moving her classroom after some summer upgrades. A colleague was in another classroom doing the same thing. After a short visit she mentioned that she forgot the key to a file cabinet and though she could empty it later, it would be nice to have it open now. Well I did not have any tools on me but I had found an old kit some days prior. In the kit was, what I later found out is a triple peak, rake.
So I had always wanted to pick a lock with a paper clip. I found a large clip, bent three crude humps in it.
I removed the spring tabs from a gater clip. And bent the two legs in to make a tension wrench like the one in the kit. After watching you I discovered that I made a crude shutter tension wrench. A few clumsy kinetic and rocking movements later and, POP, the lock sprung open. Forever shattering my belief in confidential files.”
Daniel P: I am a police officer and I learned that another officer was on a welfare check and needed to gain access into a residence. I went to the scene and raked open a Kwikset Titan deadbolt with a Southord Triple Peak. Unfortunately we discovered the elderly lady had passed away, but at least the family did not have to worry about how to secure a door or window that would have normally been broken.
Brent Collier: “Last weekend I used my lockpicking skills for the first time outside of picking my own locks. My neighbor left to visit a friend for the day and her little pug slipped out the door as she was leaving. She didn’t notice the poor little thing get out. A couple hours after she left, we noticed her dog at our front door whimpering to be let in. It was a pretty warm day out and the dog was suffering a bit. I sent my neighbor a text asking her if it was ok to pick her locks to get the dog back in. She agreed to let me pick the locks so I picked her knob lock and her deadbolt, and got her dog inside. Just to be a good neighbor, I picked the deadbolt back to the locked position when I left so her house would be as secure as it was when she left.”
Michael Rodriguez: “I was shadowing a fire station for my paramedic training course and one day we had someone walk up to the station and tell us that he locked himself out of his car in the parking garage across the street. One of the firefighters smiled and said “no problem, we’ll get it open for you”. As the rookie or ” boot” at the station the fire fighter gave me a “big easy” kit and asked me “you ever used one of these”? I answered “no but how are you gonna open up a car with that”? The firefighter smiled once again and laughed saying ” Im not gonna open the car, you are”. excited and nervous as can be he showed me how to use it and we made our way to the garage. as soon as i got to the car i inserted the wedge, inflated the pump, shoved the rod through the door seal and in less then a minute i was able to pop the lock. The owner of the car was amazed and so was I. That was when the fire started for me (no pun intended). since then i have always had a passion for opening locks in other ways then just using the key. Thank you Bill for all the great videos you put out and all the support you give to the lock picking/ lock sport/ lock smithing community!”
Declan Guite: “So I was at home having a beer and relaxing after work when I got a call from one of my co-workers. They are locked out of their room, not their house but their bedroom – They have managed to hang their keys on the back of their door and close it. Nice. Naturally they don’t want to have to kick their own door down so they figure I might know a locksmith that could be called out. I can do one better than that so I got my stuff and went down to their house – It’s only down the road from where I live so not much trouble for me, I get to play hero and I get to pick with a lock! I get there to find that the door handle and lock are on the wrong side of the door making it a little tricky for a lefty like me. Now this lock isn’t too hard, standard euro cylinder but for some reason it just wouldn’t budge. I tried both raking and SPP for about 30 mins – Nothing. I even bent a tension wrench to get it to fit better. Eventually I grab my little southord snake rake and the thing is open in less than a minute. I couldn’t believe it, 30 mins of hard labour only to find that it took 30 seconds with this little guy. After we got the door open I was rewarded with beers, hot wings and a chance to play out on a work night. All in all, not a bad evening!”
Lion: “Hey Bill. I have been a fan since I stumbled across your channel about a year ago. I started bingewatching your videos and was really hooked to try lockpicking myself. Since I am a poor student and have no money to spare I figured it would be worth a shot trying to build my own picks. So I went to the cafeteria and got some really cheap and simple spoons. With some templates I found on the internet I was able to make two hooks(one standard, one with a bit more reach) and a tension wrench out of an old tent peg. Since then me and two friends had to buy new bike locks and my parents are getting new door locks next week! All because of you! Thank you for your work and greetings from Germany!”
Scarz1951: “In 1971 in Port Huneme, Ca. I was taught how to make and use a half diamond and a triple half diamond rake out of street sweeper bristles. I would occasionally open a locker for some of my pals that had in one way or another lost track of their key. Sometimes the key was locked in the locker, lost or just misplaced. I was home on leave in 1974 and walking down South Adams St. in Marion, In. As I passed the QuPee Grill I saw a young lady standing beside a Volkswagen. She was crying so I asked if I could help her in some way. She told me she was locked out of the car. I offered to try to get the door open and she told me to try. Never having opened a Volkswagen lock before it took me a few minutes. I used my home brew triple rake and seemed to be getting nowhere. I decided to rake the lock a few times, maintain tension, withdraw the rake and go back in with my half diamond. That was all it took. She gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and I strutted down South Adams St in my dress blues feeling like I was on top of the world. That was a good day. Thirty days later I went to Orlando, FL,, got my discharge from the Seabees and became a civilian for the first time in four long years. That was another good day.”
Rick G.: “A relative of mine was locked out of his home one time and I happened to be with him. I found a window into his kitchen that was not locked and I was scrawny enough to slip through to go unlock the door. Didn’t have to pick anything, but this story gets better… Cue the phone call a few weeks later; it’s another lockout. I show up and start heading toward that tiny little window only to meet the explanation “Ah…do you still know how to pick locks?” His girlfriend panicked about how easy it was for someone to get into their house after the first lockout and insisted they make sure EVERYTHING is locked up at ALL times! Thankfully I had my old Majestic pick set in a tool bag in my truck. Tools at the ready, I knelt down to the door handle. Within a minute the pins were set, the handle twisted and the door opened. Though they were very thankful to have gotten into their home without having to pay a locksmith, their sense of security was a little bruised. Although the event triggered a desire in my relative, to delve into the locksport hobby. This is great for me because there’s no one in my area into locksport!”
Austin W.: “I am a Deputy Sheriff in a rural Indiana community and started to learn how to pick around a year ago. After I had been doing it for a few weeks I got called to a home where a mother had locked herself out of her house with her baby still inside. Her husband was at work on a factory line and it would be hours before he would be able to break away and come home. With a small audience of the mother, her other child, neighbors and my coworker, I finally got up the guts to try to pick the front door handle. I used a Southord Jackknife set that I keep in the pocket of my vest carrier. With a few rocks of the city rake and a little scrubbing action, the core turned. I did not really comprehend what had happened until I was staring in to the house through an open doorway. I thought to myself, “Wow. That was scary easy.” The mother went inside, took care of the crying baby and all was right in the world. I have used the skill a few times since then but this instance, being my first real life need for it, is a pretty good memory. Thank you Lock Lab for all the work you put in. You have definitely helped me hone my skill. Several door frames in my community thank you as well.”
EscapenRV: “I sold my motorhome to a dealer in FL. I drove it down from NC and towed my Jeep to return in. In FL, I found I did not have the keys to remove my tow bar and hitch from the motorhome that I was leaving.
I had a couple of homemade picks in my tool bag so I made one into a tension tool and with the other went to work on a wafer lock and a 5 pin lock. The 5pin came off after just a few minutes work. The wafer took longer because the plug needed to unscrew to be removed. However, when I picked it, it would only turn 180 degrees and then relock. I just kept picking again and again until it unscrewed enough to be removed.
Saved the day and kept my towing equipment. LockLab in the field!!!”
Tyler: “I get a call, 3am from my father. “Need you to come get me in the garage I lost the key.” I walk down to the garage only to find him sitting in the car with hatchet in hand and there hangs a brinks lock with the shackle at a 15-30 degree angle. Obviously I said…”get mad at it? forget I can pick locks?” Well, this posed a problem. The core no longer had turn, bypass was a loss with the bent shackle. He got out of the car, hit it and knocked it straight… took me less than 30 seconds to get in, he put the original (much better) lock back on and I got the chance to laugh at his impatience. It does say a lot about the strength of a cheap brinks lock, as well as human nature with frustration.”
Fred W: “So, I’m at a favorite watering hole with friends after a nice MTB ride. We’re enjoying our adult barely based beverages reasponsably when we notice that it is “free billiards night”. But it is clearly observed that it is a “pay to play” table. The bar maid (lovely young lady) has neither the keys, or shockinge to us, noughh quarters to allow more than a couple of games to be played. Beer bets were made. The games were going to happen, one way or another… Before misdemeanors were committed, I commented that I could probably (easily) defeat the Master padlock and the shitty little filling cabinet type 4-pinner on the door keeping near do wells from accessing the billiards balls unless the proper amount quarter dollar coins are properly applied to the laundromat-like mechanism on the table. “Sorry guys” was heard from pouty lips, and the collective sigh of disappointment was simply buzzkill. UNACCEPTABLE!!! The first strong ale had kicked in. I exclaimed “Hey guys, I got this…” Need i say more? Bar maid was thrilled. Billiards was played. Beer-bets were settled… Cheers!”
Potti314 : “My brother in law locked his bicycle in front of the post office and lost both keys. He asked me for help and it was a pleasure to pick it open and release his bike. It\’s a \”FISCHER 85861 GLIEDERSCHLOSS\” with security rating 8 of 9. Intimidating looking properties, but look by yourself… https://youtu.be/LwuSB725wks”
Jon B: “I’m in a cosplay charity group that raises money for the Law enforcement officers memorial fund, and at a convention back in June we got to our booth, and our money box was locked, and the key had been forgotten at home. My wife knowing that I have been learning how to pick locks asked me to try to get it open. Luckily I keep a set of picks on my plate carrier for my costume. I went straight for the city rake, and had it open in less than 10 seconds. Thanks to my Southord picks and your videos we were able to take donations that day, and help out the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
William F: “My story isn’t too crazy, but this summer I was moving out of my apartment and under some serious time constraints. After a hard day of cleaning, packing and moving, I brought a huge truck-load of stuff to my newly rented storage unit. The first thing off of the truck was a my huge solid wood ‘military’ desk. Not a fun move. Imagine my disappointment when my friend and I finished waddling the two hundred pound desk around interior corners and down the warm and stuffy ‘climate controlled’ storage building…. only to find that their crappy little lock was laughing in the face of someone who was already a paying customer. Needless to say, your videos and a lockpicking set you recommended, got me into what I had already paid for and saved the day. When I provided the lock to the lady that sold me the storage space (and neglected to remove the lock), her face was a priceless mix of bewilderment and disbelief. I played dumb and asked why she sold me a lock if she was going to leave me one anyway. She didn’t seem amused but we came to the conclusion that she must have simply left the unit unlocked. Thank you Bill!”
Larry G: “I went on a long road trip with the fellows,riding the Harleys to different Watering holes. At the last bar we went to we pulled in an we were locking our bikes up. My buddy leaves his lock just hanging on his peg mount,so he doesn’t have to dig in his pocket to get to his keys. Well it was time to hit the road and we all were warming up the bikes,my bro is shaking his hands to stop every one because he lost his keys on the way there. There i was, just me and him. Even the truck that comes along on our runs took off. It’s getting dark and we don’t know what to do. It’s in The middle of nowhere, i was going to ride home,and get his old lady to bring him his spare keys back. He is freaking out by now,then I remembered I had 1 of the sparrow patches sewn in to my inside riding jacket with a number of picks,but I didn’t think I could open his Aerican lock. I consider myself a beginner in picking. I worked on it till the flashlight came out,and was going to quit, and as I was going to say I can’t get it, open the lock open . We both were so happy, I didn’t want to ride home alone,and he did not have to camp over night with his bike.”
Bruce W: So I’ve been working at an apartment complex for about 4 years now, and over the years I’ve had to pick more locks than I can count. Just last week I was confronted by a resident while I was out on the property, who told me that she had locked herself out of her apartment. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, because we usually have all 250 unit keys documented and stored in a safe box, but she had recently gone to home depot and changed her locks because she was going through a particularly nasty divorce, and her husband refused to give her back his key, and she had neglected to turn in a copy of her new key to the office. I went out to my truck and grabbed my pick set, and had the door open within about 45 seconds. Another story was about 2 months into working at the complex when my boss had locked his keys in his office, the door to which, he had the only key. I reached into my wallet and pulled out a credit card sized pick set that my brother had gotten me after I locked myself out of my own house, and after about 5 minutes of fiddling with the lock, as well as my boss standing over me, anxiously drinking coffee, I unlocked the knob and the door swung open. From that day on I’ve had the nickname”pick” at work. I have plenty more stories, but I think I’ll end there.”
Bryan: “The place I work at isn’t very large, only about 20 employees. There’s a small room that secures the data server that holds Terabytes of files. Along with other things that they don’t want everyone in the building to have access to. Three people have the key. The big man upstairs. The general manager, and of course the manager. You can see where this is going. The man upstairs was on vacation. The manager was out sick, and the general manager lost his keys. He needed access to the physical files inside for a very important meeting with a customer. He had a few options. Remove the door, Break it… Or I could try to pick it. After a few minutes… more like 5 or 6. I managed to open it with a Deforest Hook.
I may not be fast but hey, I got it open.”
Max Romish: “Started watching your channel last December, and I’m loving locksport… thanks so much for it. My roommate thanks you, too. She’s a housekeeper, mostly vacation rentals. The key to one of her accounts got lost, and she thought, “well, I’ll just make a copy from the guest’s key after they leave”. Yeah, not if they LOCK THE KEYS IN THE HOUSE WHEN THEY GO… lol… Poor roomie had new guests arriving & little time to clean the place. To top it off, the homeowner has the only other spare. She lives in Europe, so….. I was between locations for work, took my lunch break a little early, and swung by the place; I’ve got a pretty compact 25-piece EDC kit that’s always in my pocket. Old house with old, stiff, gummy-inside Schlage locks (with a couple of spools, I think) all around… but all my practice & Tribal study paid off. I got the back door open in just a few minutes. So yeah, “I broke into my first house today!” What a rush! That’s the second time this new hobby has paid off. Last February, being the observant and attentive individual that I am, I locked my keys in my truck. EDC to the rescue; Fords rake open so easy, it’s almost criminal. Makes me wish I’d started earlier, since I did the same thing on Thanksgiving & it cost me $65 to have a tow-truck driver come out with a slim jim.
I gotta get into this line of work. Legally, of course… hmmm… locksmith’s license? Yes, I think I may.”
Chris B: “Friend of mine lost her keys, to help I rake,rock, and bump my way to high stress and anger. Then in a failed SPP frenzy, I zipped the dead bolt open with the trusty south ord hook with that beautiful bolt on handle!”
William P: “I’m a certified professional locksmith of a few years been opening locks for a friend at a Antique Mall a few miles away from me my friend had bought 4 cabinets 2 locks on each he wanted them opened to put new ones on old ones had no keys he wanted one side opened and so I got 3 opened wafer lock took maybe 45 seconds if that to get in the first 3 the fourth was in a hard place to get to the locks so I had him move it he moves it and the door opens up still locked I came to the conclusion that the cabinet twisted just right the door shifted enough to let the latch clear the slot we had a little laugh but all was good not sure if this is the kind of story for the contest but just thought I’d share it to see.”
Lock Sport Noob: “Recently my neighbor’s father passed away and she was doing a garage sale to raise money for her mom by selling her dad’s auto mechanic tool sets. I offered to help identify what tools are what. When we got to the third rolling toolbox we discovered that we did not have a key that fit. So after going through the miscellaneous spare keysets twice. I asked myself “what would Bosnian Bill do?” So i tried to SPP picking it. I failed. A simple wafer lock was defeating me. Not sure why, maybe it was because I had to kneel on the floor to access the lock. After ten minutes I was getting annoyed. Then I remembered another Bosnian Bill video gem. Have a plan of attack don’t keep doing the same thing if it is not working. So I got out my jiggler set, and tried that. I got it open in about 30 seconds. She was able to continue with the sale, some people got some great deals on some nice tools. And I got a couple of needle files for free for my troubles which I plan to use to create my own security pins. So with my basic lock picking skills I was able to help a friend in a time of need. I know this is not the funniest of stories, and no puppies were saved from burning buildings, but in the end it was still a great feeling.”
Max in Germany: “I just wanted to talk a little about the reasons and what my motors are to do lock picking And the story how this hobby evolved. This will not be a picking video so if you’re not interested in a guy prating around you may switch to another video. The first contact I had with lock picking was purely by accident when I stumbled upon a video from a guy called Bosnianbill. The first thing that caught my attention was the quality. The video was high resolution and Bills voice was loud, clear and easy to understand (I am German by the way) Even though I think my English is something about High school degree. Anyway. The other thing that surprised and fascinated was how easy and quick it seems to open a lock. I have no idea anymore what particular video the first one was. It’s just a pure guess when I say it was something funny about Masterlock. I continued watching those videos, dozens, hundreds. And I learned so much about locks, how they work and how the look inside. I had no idea before how a lock works and never thought about. I just knew that when you put in the key and turn it, it opens for me. If you use the wrong key it either doesn’t fit or doesn’t open the lock. That’s it. And at some point I was asking myself how secure are the locks that I use every day. At the same time the bicycle of my wife has been stolen…actually the second time and this time I wanted to know how and why. Surprisingly we found the bicycle lock which was a moderate cheap one made from steel mesh wire. The thief did not pick it, he broke it. Anyway through the videos I know locks can be opened destructively as well and if you are no complete dumbass you search for the weak link. In this case it was the surrounding case around the adapter. After watching about a about five hundred videos I knew that these lock do not provide good security against thieves. They’re too easy to be cut or broken and maybe also be raked. It was a wafer lock by the way. Several months later I was addicted in such a way that I decided to get a lock pick kit myself. But which one? I am a guy that say when I start something, I do it for real. This of course bears also the risk to not have fun with this hobby and have spent a lot of money. So I wavered between a cheap beginner kit or a professional kit with custom contents. From the videos I knew the advantages and disadvantages of various picks and tension tools and lot of kits had stuff that will probably never be used. At some point I found a Shop called Spooxe. If you frequently watch Bills videos you know this name from the German nuclear fallout shelter hand towel lock pick cases. Later more about that story. The kit that caught my attention was called the lockpick set SPC one and that time I got it for 95 euros including hand polished finish for all picks. Yes, I am lazy but meanwhile I have my own sand paper in different grits. I think the price has been raised since then but if you’re interested anyways I’ll put a link to it in the video description. The kit basically included everything that I would like to have. A Bogota rake, a standard and a deep hook, twisted tension wrenches with long and short end, a set of pry bars and a set of the ssdev hooks. In addition, I also bought a short and a steep hook in 15 thousandths of an inch because European locks usually have a way more restrictive and narrow keyway. When I received it in the mail I was really proud of. Everything was so beautiful and shiny. The same day I also ordered a set of four cheap Masterlock padlocks from eBay. And that is basically where I began to practically start lock picking. Weeks and month after I picked several euro cylinders from different brands like BKS, ABUS, WILKA or DOM. Took quite a while but the skill you develop increases with every picked lock. For some reason I contacted Bosnianbill and told him a little about a new blood lock picker, showed him the case and my box of already picked stuff. The most important things that came back as answer were that he was interested in a bulk trade of the picked euro cylinders and he also was interested in the pick case. As stated my picks came from Spooxe and they came in the small version of these fallout shelter cases. So I answered him how they are made and where to get them. And then, well, the tribe got Frank from Spooxe a bit in trouble by cleaning out the store and ordering hundreds of these cases. He stated on the shops’ website he probably needs to sew 24/7 for a week to complete all the cumulative orders. That was pretty cool. While the tribe was overwhelming Frank with orders my parcel to the United States has been arrived and Bill send me a parcel in exchange. Even though there were quite some issues with the customs authorities I am very happy to own various american locks, two heavy Masterlocks, an absolutely beautiful old YALE padlock which you can see in the picture of this channel and some other stuff like medecos or a shurgard disc lock. In conclusion I have to say lock picking is really fun. The only disadvantage is that you always have to explain people asking, that this hobby has absolutely nothing to do with crime. I ask them how many burglars they saw in the news that actually picked a lock to get into someone’s’ house. the answer is zero. Also how many bikes were stolen by picking the bicycle lock. the answer is also almost zero. thieves don’t have time to pick a lock. they want to be fast and if you or me use locks that comply a minimum standard of security your stuff will not be stolen that easy. By the way, I bought by wife a real bicycle lock. With a badass chain and disc detainer lock with ball bearings. Because for now I am tired of always getting out and search for her lost bike. Just kidding, love you. Well, you made it. See you next time.”
Garret R: “I was at work teaching a night class when another instructor came to me and said he was subbing another instructors class but was locked out of the file cabinet containing all the materials he needed, it was after the start time and no one could find a duplicate key. I have been watching you daily since I discovering your site a few months ago, I purchased from Sparrows and Southord following your recommendations. I grabbed the Southord city rake out of my bag and the file cabinet was open is literally 4 seconds. I could hear you in my mind saying “rake the cheap locks” first. You are doing a service to many and I hope you know it. Thanks again, Garrett R, Instructor Electrical Apprenticeship, IBEW Orange County CA.”
Chris B: “Maintenance at my apartment complex had to fix something in my place and mentioned they were locked out of another apartment. After watching hours of your content, I gave it a shot. Took me a few minutes and I wanted to say I got it …….Thanks!”
Ryan R: “Having just moved into a duplex, (the) realtor didn’t have the key to the storage room. Apparently the previous tenants changed the locks. I said “No problem”, my picks were in the car. Within a matter of minutes I had the deadbolt and knob opened. I really felt like a stud. Yeah, they were just cheap Kwikset but still, my first practical real life pick.”