Perhaps no other lock picking tool is surrounding in as much mystique as skeleton keys. They chop up in literature and also in movies every the time. But what space they? and how perform you usage them? A skeleton crucial is any vital designed to open more than one lock. Normal keys tend come fit one lock and also that is that, however skeleton secrets are designed to unlock countless locks that its type. Using miscellaneous techniques, and clever manufacturing, this range of skeleton tricks will help the beginning of the person wishing come learn how to pick locks and also the skilled who requirements to open a wide variety of locks in their everyday work. Skeleton secrets do not call for a anxiety tool. They sell you, the lock picker, an additional excellent an approach to add to her repertoire. That"s why locksmiths have a range of tools for each lock type—to certain entry once it’s essential. We have actually a good range the skeleton key options, including plenty of exclusives, designed and also manufactured by us. Have actually you got any type of in her closet?You’ll an alert that us have contained the Polaris Rake collection in this collection. That’s because even skilled locksmiths recommend it to acquire through many, countless different types of brass, stainless steel, and also other steel locks. That comes v a overview for “raking,” i m sorry is a format of picking the is extra effective and a good addition to normal picking.Additionally, I"ve bring away the liberty of including our Lokko beginners Lock pick Set. This set does specifically what friend expect, and also it is a great learning tool if friend are trying to find an entry-level skeleton key-type tool. To read Even more about Skeleton Keys: i get much more requests because that information about skeleton tricks than noþeles else. Google logs skeleton keys as among the most renowned lock picking assets regularly searched for. Say “lock picking” come anyone and most civilization will be conscious of these legend skeleton keys. Back they know the concept, they’ll have tiny or no idea that what they are. In truth, it"s no that straightforward (it never ever is, right?). So, I determined it"s time to set the record straight, and also once and also for all define as finest I deserve to the truth around skeleton keys.A long, lengthy time ago, in the days of very simple and neck warded locks, all you required to unlock them to be to bypass the wards, interact the cam at the end of the barrel and also turn. The lock would then open. The reason this functioned is because those locks were already unlocked, so to speak, and also the wards merely detailed an obstruction. A skeleton an essential was known therefore since it had actually been ground under to the bare bones. This diagram shows you the right key for the lock, and the skeleton an essential made out of the key. And although a modern lock, the rule is lot the same.

You are watching: How to unlock a skeleton key lock


A warded lock. See how the removed of the wards permits the vital to obtain to the back of the lock and engage the cam.Other locks, thankfully, don’t have actually this ridiculous vulnerability, and also therefore room not delicate to gift exploited in this manner. Bar locks, pin cylinders, bowl detainers, and also others contain some kind of the design where the transforming of the lock is blocked, and also so the cam won’t revolve unless the obstructions space removed; this process requires a an essential with the correct combination of depths reduced into it. A pin cylinder, for example, moves the series of split-pin stacks so as to line up the split along the edge of the barrel (the shearline), permitting it to turn. (See chart below.) A lever (mortice) lock has a series of entrances that protect against the stump indigenous moving. The stump is linked to the bolt. If the stump can’t move, the bolt can’t move. The gates all have a small gap in them, all in different places. The vital with the correct combination of depths will certainly align all these gaps, enabling the stump, and therefore the bolt, come move, thus opening the lock. Tubular and dimple locks space really simply slight variants top top pin-cylinder locks. A dimple lock has actually the key turned 90 degrees, and a tubular lock has actually the collection of pins in a circle, no of which add much security however rather a bit of novelty, i m sorry the market constantly appreciates.


The split in between the pins demands to run along wherein the cylinder meets the housing. Then the cylinder can turn.

The bottom heat is, there room no such things as skeleton keys, old or new, because that these locks. You cannot grind a key down come the bare bones, bypass the gateways or pins and turn the cam. It merely isn’t possible. Every day, every day, we receive emails asking for skeleton keys. Research, experience, and also speaking to people has displayed us that what people really want is a key, or any tool, that will certainly unlock plenty of locks the the exact same type. Thankfully, together tools execute exist, and although they’re no strictly skeleton keys, the an outcome is the same. Grasp the technique, and also you will have access to countless locks that the same type with the one tool or key.

Here’s a short description of a collection of together tools, countless of which us supply. Castle are distinguished from picks and also rakes because they carry out not call for a separate tension tool. If you want more information (and frequently, a video), click on the links and see castle in our shop.

Bump keys, in one kind or another, have actually been approximately for decades. In fact, a patent because that a bump key-like tool with a spring-like function was lodged way back in 1928 by a H.R. Simpson. However, that wasn’t until the early on 2000s the the “bump pattern” to be perfected (by me). The pointer was shortened, the shoulder removed, and also a dampener added. These advances are what led to the “bump crucial explosion” to happen, as they really prospered in effectiveness and (with the aid of a paranoid, fear-mongering campaign by the media) popularity.



I took turn off the shoulder and also a little of the tip then included some dampeners. This turn an OKish lock choose tool right into one that deserve to open a lock in seconds. Most locksmiths this day will have actually a selection in their arsenal.

As much as a bump crucial will open countless locks of the same kind (if the file of the vital fits the keyway), we deserve to bracket this under skeleton keys. The an essential is struck v a bang hammer or an improvised an equipment such together a screwdriver, and also the one-of-a-kind zig-zag pattern on the an essential transmits the energy through the bottom pins, leading to the top pins come jump. The crucial is turned right at the suggest of striking, definition if successful, the pins will clear the shearline, enabling the plug come turn, and also the lock to open.

I do my name in the lock picking people with bang keys, and also a well-made one can unlock roughly 80% of the locks the original empty was draft for. No lock picking device is 100% effective, for this reason those numbers space great. Being a competent lock picker is about having a repertoire of tools, therefore if one doesn"t work, an additional might. Also a cheap and basic lock could withstand an electrical pick gun, however it might be breakable to a bang key. That’s just just how it goes.


H.R. Simpsons 1928 patent illustration. The curved piece on the external of the lock to be replaced decades later (by me!) v a dampener, made feasible by the remove of the shoulder indigenous the key (which ns did!)

Tubular Picks (See in Shop)


The finish of a tubular pick mirroring the planarization needles. The hole circular short article fits right into a groove in the lock allowing the barrel come turn once the pins have actually been picked.

Rake Keys (See in Shop)

Rake keys are perhaps most comparable to what human being assume a skeleton crucial is. The untrained eye could easily confused them because that a normal an essential although they have special patterns reduced onto castle which have actually been researched and also tested to provide the many success opened locks. Called rake secrets after the ‘Rake’ lock choose tool, yet different since they do not need a tension wrench. When the key is relocated in and out that the lock, the is also occasionally turn slightly, bring about a tiny ledge to kind along the shearline. Any pins that have been lifted come the ‘correct’ height will then sit on the ledge. Once all the pins space on the ledge, the lock is free to open. A great tool because that beginners due to the fact that the grooves top top the vital make certain the device is placed at the right elevation to effectively ‘pick’ the lock.



Master keys (See in Shop) 

There space two varieties of understand keys: skeleton types and the non-skeleton keys. One is came to with groups of locks that need both an individual crucial for every lock and another single crucial for every one of them, such as for a hotel or a locker room. The various other is a master vital where the locks are the same wherever they appear, an interpretation the same crucial will always unlock them. The previous doesn’t count together a skeleton key-type tool, whereas the latter could be stated to be one. A great example of such a master vital is the FB keys, or fire brigade keys, provided to lock communal doors and also road blocks, and also used by firemen who need access in emergencies. There space other grasp keys, i m sorry I imply you watch in the shop for an ext information.


Jigglers (See in Shop)

Apart from supplying all manner of twin entendres, jigglers have established themselves as must-have items for locksmiths the human being over. Prefer a cross between a rake and a stress and anxiety tool, jigglers room a single item method that are good for beginners and professionals alike. This is mainly as result of their lull of use. The jiggler is placed into the lock and also jiggled about!


The most well-known jigglers room the mini, medium, and auto jigglers. So many wafer locks (such as desks, cabinets, postal boxes, etc.) best through come the virtually antique style vehicle locks (“auto” here way vehicle) have actually a higgler because that the job!Just as we’d every assumed, only wafer locks can be jiggled. Lock choose giants SouthOrd occurred the an initial pin-cylinder jigglers a few years ago, and it took the lock picking people by storm. A short video clip released by a SouthOrd employee that the jigglers make easy occupational of three locks piqued the attention of lock pickers everywhere, and also soon everyone had a set. In fact, I’d say the end of every the items in this article, the SouthOrd Pin-Cylinder Jigglers space the most likely challenger for a device that to represent what most civilization would take into consideration as skeleton keys.


You insert the crucial into any type of pin-cylinder lock it will certainly fit (which is, happily, the majority) and also jiggle the key, not you. Jiggling takes many forms. The vital can walk in and also out the the lock, favor a rake; the can manipulate the tiny amount the vertical room in a lock and be moved up and also down; and it deserve to be “vibrated” (or together one prominent lock choose blogger placed it, “held onto together if I’d had far too much coffee”). Predictably, that a combination of all these movements that gives the best results, and I need to say they’re amazing. Because there’s no stress tool, girlfriend must additionally remember to apply a little amount of turning pressure, enabling the pins (or wafers) to set. As I’ve said before, anyone may currently know exactly how to use jigglers, since we’ve all had worn locks before and had to give the correct an essential a wiggle and a jiggle to get it working. The pin-cylinder jigglers are among my all-time favourite lock choose tools. A must-have. In fact, SouthOrd can’t create enough of these. We’re constantly upping our orders and continually having to wait. If you want some, and also they’re no in stock, click the “Email once Available” tab top top the product web page to ensure you’re educated when the items is back in stock

Try-out keys (See in Shop)

Try-out tricks are among the many antique the the skeleton key-type tools, return this is probably as result of the age of lever locks 보다 anything else. They’ve been around for century in one type or another. Try-out secrets work top top the principle that there are numerous “typical” vital patterns for lever locks. As soon as the lock is 2 or 3 levers, the possibilities are also less. Include to this, the truth these locks wear v age and the tolerances reduced, try-out secrets are a pretty an excellent bet.

See more: What Is A Scope In Medical Terms, Gastroscopy Upper Scope Test


Although distinct from a jiggler, the not uncommon to provide a try-out key a little jiggle here and a wobble there. A small amount of movement could turn a contempt low cut into the preferred height. Old and worn locks have the right to be exploited in this way. Coming in set of usually between 10 and 20, it renders sense to have a collection or two. Back it’s rarely for people to for sure their residences with anything less than a 5-lever lock, plenty of internal doors have actually 2 and also 3 bar locks, and also being able to unlock these without drilling can save valuable time and hassle. Return a amount of try-out tricks is required to up the odds in your favour, i think these still count together skeleton keys because one crucial will have the capacity to open plenty of locks in its group.


With the different varieties of locks in use today, it’s no surprising there’s a multitude that contenders because that the skeleton an essential label. As an innovation progresses and also locks develop—from iris-activated locks, fingerprint locks, and also even locks you unlock v your phone—I’m i was sure lock picking developments will continue alongside these developments, proceeding to both confused the issue of what a skeleton crucial is whilst offering us more and more interesting items to go after this wonderful arts of ours.One day, in the far-off future, I see someone removed a capsule from their pocket and pouring dust right into a lock. The dust, or an ext of a grey-sludge, is a million tiny nano robots, each programmed to choose the lock native the inside. Or, who knows, perhaps in the future, fine live forever, and also people will have actually forgotten all about the neck skeleton keys altogether. In the meantime, if you’re ever asked around skeleton keys, you can say, “Yes, they perform exist. Kind of.”


A Nano-Bot working on a red blood cell, a 1000 the these would certainly make an excellent lock pickers. I’ll permit you recognize when lock in stock!

See all of these ^^ commodities in our shop:







Happy choose people, and also stay legal!

Chris Dangerfield

kind by Featured finest Selling Alphabetically, A-Z Alphabetically, Z-A Price, short to high Price, high to low Date, brand-new to old Date, old to new