Archive for the ‘Locks’ Category

Chinese locks

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

After winning the lockpicking competition in 2014, the folks of Toool US were kind enough to sponsor a plane ticket to the event in de USA in 2015. Since I couldn’t use it, they said they would get me something else instead. That finally arrived in the form of a small suitcase labeled “Thank you for LockCon 2016”. Jos got a similar case. Thanks guys!

Case with Chinese locks

Case with Chinese locks

In it is a collection of Chinese locks. The first one (marked AFA) has two rows of dimples, 10 in total, and a wavy line. The lock is typical Chinese in that it comes with two keys that are used during construction, and several (in this case 5) user keys that are seperetely packaged. A special programming key is used to disable the construction keys and enable the user keys.

Case with Chinese locks

The second one does not seem to be reprogrammable. It comes with six keys and it is one of these Chinese locks that has a free spinning plug. The key connects the two parts of the plug, allowing the lock to operate.

Case with Chinese locks

The next lock is a padlock with a ‘smiley’ key profile. There are pins on both sides.

Case with Chinese locks

The next lock is a cilinder that again has two construction keys and a closed box that holds the (six) user keys. There is no reprogramming key: any user key will do. The construction keys have a slit at the end of the key, the user keys do not. This cilinder has a quite nice looking anti-breaking element, as has the free spinning lock. On the key we read “safety is derived from technology, Kailusidun”.

Case with Chinese locks

The last lock is a padlock made by Zhongxin. The key has two rods and the lock has two holes. The key does not rotate, it needs to be inserted after which a button on the lock can be pushed to unlock it. Removing the key locks the lock again.

Case with Chinese locks

Security Essen

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Although many locks now feature electronic features, at the Security Essen fair, enough interesting fully mechanical locks could be seen. Some companies, like Iseo, have decided to focus solely on electronics at this event. Other companies show that new mechanical features can still be invented. Evva showcased the new 4KS which is a continuation of the 3KS. I found the ICS with Temporary Access Function more interesting from a mechanical standpoint. This cylinder comes with two user keys, of which one only works after putting the lock in temporary access mode with a change key. Mottura showed cylinders with a magnet in the key, to defeat lockpicking. DOM has a new cylinder that has keys that are even harder to duplicate. Abus showed a really neat new modular system that makes it very easy to change the length of any of their cylinders without using special tools, not even a screwdriver. A very simple and elegant solution that works really well.

The company Master showed an impressioning key for single row dimple locks, that uses a metal wire to impression in. It needs quite a bit of force to impression, hence a tool is used for that. In the video you can see it in action.

Now off to LockCon 2016!

Cutaway locks 2.0

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Cutaway locks are a nice way to understand the inner working of a lock. Many lock companies make factory cutaways of their models, but they can be hard to get. There are also companies making (pad)locks out of plastic to show the inner workings. And then there are locks made into cutaways by lock lovers.

Many exist, but the locks created by ‘Lock Cracker’ are in a separate class. Using a CNC milling machine he is able to cut away lots of material so you can see how the pins move, but also how the actual locking mechanism works. The most interesting are high security locks that have special features, such as the Ross Emhart lock that has interconnecting pins. Or his newest creation, the Mul-T-Lock MT5+. This lock uses pins within pins. The outer pins have been individually cut to show the inner pin within. Truly a masterpiece.

More pictures can be found in this gallery.

Contact him at Note that we as Toool have no affiliation with Lock Cracker, we just admire his work and like to share it.

Magnetic Power Box Lock

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

Marcel got a Goso pickgun and it included some items of which the use was not clear right away:

Goso pick

Goso pick

After some researching on the internet, it turned out that these are meant to pick certain magnetic locks that are manufactured in China. Outside of China, you will likely not come across these locks.

The silver coloured piece can only turn, the brass piece has a push knob at the end. After some googling, Marcel found a YouTube video explaining the lock (not the tool), made by Lockman28, to be found at

Toool Club Competition Winners

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

For over 10 years, we have held yearly club competitions at Toool. We collect some 25 locks and allow all Toool members to have a go at them. At a normal competition, you get a lock you have never picked before and only one chance. In this club competition, you can really try to learn how the locks reacts, how different tools and techniques produce different results and you can have a go at really difficult locks. At the end of the competition, there are prizes awarded for three lockpickers who opened the most locks in the least amount of time.

The 2015 competition ended a few months ago and we finally handed out the prizes to the winners. The prizes are a plaque and a Tokoz PRO 300 cilinder, kindly sponsored by Tokoz. The winner is Walter Belgers, second place is for Christian Holler and Jos Weyers came in third.

We are already hard at work with the 2016 competition.

Club Competition Prizes

Picking cheap locks

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

I had ordered a cheap transparant padlock out of China. Although it is a six pin lock, I could pick it touching only two of the six pins. I took a look at it and it’s interesting to see how costs were cut (the lock costs about $3 in bulk). Material has been drilled from the plug to save material. Also, the top and bottom pins are the same pins. This influences the security of the lock. If the pin is stack is not neatly at the sheer line, it will still open as the tipped pin will wiggle itself into the correct position. This is why picking one third of the pins suffices in this case.

I then looked at some euro cilinders in the same price range. It turns out that effectively, they have only one pin that needs to be set. You can use a random key to wiggle the lock open. Even more shocking is the fact that some people will actually put such a lock on their front door.

Picking Abloy Classic

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

I regularly give lectures and workshops about locks and lock related topics at conferences such as CONFidence,, BruCON, 4GH, SEC-T, Hackito Ergo Sum, Hashdays, Fri3dcamp, TEDx and more. My latest talk was also the most interesting. It was at the wonderful conference in Helsinki, Finland.

I was there in 2014 as well. This year, I could only speak again if I’d open Finnish locks. And Finnish locks are among the most secure.. Almost everybody in Finland has ASSA Abloy locks on their door. Many Fins believe these are unpickable. So I set myself the task to open these locks.

First, I tried the H&H tool for opening Abloy. I then found out this tool does not work and simply cannot work, unless you can set the discs in order. So this was money wasted. I finally was able to purchase a tool from Citadel LockTools in the UK, that can actually open (and decode) Abloy Classic locks. These tools are handmade by Matt and look and work fantastic.

The tool comes with several tips, for different kinds of locks. I bought a few Abloy Classic ‘handbag’ padlocks and it’s interesting to see that they differ. In one, the deepest disc is locked, not so in the other. They both need a different tip on the tool.

Abloy Classic decoder

Abloy Classic decoder

Using this tool, I was able to open an Abloy Classic live on stage in Helsinki, which got me a nice applause!

Here’s a clip of when, after some practicing, I was first able to open the Classic using Matt’s tool:

Maverick lock

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

I had this Maverick lock in my collection for a long time. At a Toool meeting, I was playing around and decided to try and open it. Martin then suggested he make it into a cutaway version, which he did. I’ve made a short video to demonstrate how it works.

Self-picking cylinder

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Getting practice locks that have no security pins, for new lockpickers, is not that easy here in the Netherlands. But sometimes, cheap “dollar stores” will have batches of cheap locks that are very easy to pick.

Martin found such a lock in a store in Belgium. The funny thing? The lock had actually picked itself during transport, probably due to vibrations, inside the packaging!

So that’s great news. We now have self-picking locks…


Saturday, April 25th, 2015

April 24th, a delegation of Toool visited the Euro-Locks factory in Bastogne, Belgium.

Sales manager Jean-Louis Vincart welcomed us and talked us through the history of Euro-Locks, the factories and products. After that, we visited the actual production facility. The Bastogne factory is huge and almost all of their products are completely build here. We spoke with the R&D people creating new molds, saw molten zamac, steel presses, chrome baths, assembly lines and packaging, so everything from the raw metal to the finished product. It’s interesting to see so many products (both in range of products and the actual number of produced locks) being made here, and having no stock of the finished product.

Thanks to Eric and Martin for making the visit possible.