Archive for November, 2008

time out (till 010109?)

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Sure, there is a lot of things to blog about. Recently there was the study on copying keys by simply using a picture of someone’s keyring (something I warned you for some time ago), or even more recent a somewhat secure safe made from Lego.

Truth of the matter is I am currently very busy preparing a multi-day bump course for a locksmith organisation from a different country. For weeks I have been studying new locks. It is very exciting to learn about new locks, and to find out most of them still can be defeated by the bumpkey. This research is something I could have easily filled a few blogpostings with, but I simply do not have the time to do so (as detailed as I would like to).

So I decided to take a short break, and start blogging again from January 1, 2009 (5 weeks from now …). This will give me some time to get my act together and maybe pre-process some nice blogpostings to give you an interesting story on a regular base next year …

And who knows … maybe I will post something before January 1 if I can not resist the urge 😉

Toool’s new lockpick competition …

Monday, November 17th, 2008

I really love the fact that more and more members of toool get involved to the point they single handedly can perform crucial tasks. In this case Jos Weyers took care of this year’s lockpick competition. And one of the things he did was photograph all locks in high detail (images at the bottom of this post) ….

2009 toool lockpick competition

For those unfamiliar with the Toool competition, here is a small explanation: the competition starts and ends at every LockCon/Dutch Open event. So in this case we just started a new competition. We start with inviting people to donate special and exotic locks, and make a selection of 26 of the most interesting ones. As soon as this selection is done, all locks will be photographed and a competition webpage is set up (link to 2008, work in progress). Now the fun starts: At every Toool meeting (in Amsterdam and Eindhoven), members can try to open these locks, and keep track of their own time! After each club evening the scores are collected and the webpage with the scores is updated. You will receive ten points for being the fastest to open a lock, the second best will get nine points etcetera etcetera till number ten who will receive one point. Number eleven to open the lock will not get any points… Now all points for all locks will be added up and the person with most point wins. I have won this competition multiple times, but since I was too busy learning other lock opening skills I neglected picking a bit and last year did not even made it into the top three.

I am not sure if I will join full force this year, or if my new lock opening passion will take all of my time.

What I do know is that there is a lot of manufacturers out there that keep an eye on this blog to see if their lock is mentioned. Here is the list of locks in this years competition (click on the name of the lock for a close up): chinese lock with pins from three sides, Mul-T-Lock MT5+, no name, Tesa 5-pin, Fixit, Iseo 5-pin, 2001 (Buva?), Iseo 6-pin dimple, Abus, Lips, Corbin, Nemef, Giha 2000, Medeco Bi-Axial 6 pin (with correct side-bar ’set key’), Nemef, Oxlock, Ikon sperr rippen, Unknown (from SSDeV), GTV, Winkhaus, Yale, AGB, BKS, UCEM (Spain), BKS and … a Gemini shield!

If the new site is up where we keep track of times I will post the address here so you can keep track of our progress ….

video of the impressioning games at LockCon 2008

Monday, November 10th, 2008

One of this year’s highlights for me was winning the impressioning championships at LockCon. I promise this will be the last posting about this topic, and the only reason to bring it up again is because SSDeV president Steffen Wernéry kept his promise: he edited (and made publicly available) a high quality video about the impressioning games in Sneek.

In this video you can see what it looks like when someone files a key to a lock without knowing what the original key looks like, and create a working key (from scratch) to a lock in minutes. For those who do not know how lock impressioning works here is a quick explanation: a blank key is inserted into the lock, and turning pressure is applied. This turning pressure creates pins to bind into the lock. By wiggling the key up and down when it’s under this turning pressure, the binding pins will make a small scratch into the blank. Once the scratches are identified, a few strokes with a fine file will take away some metal on the key, causing the pins to drop a little deeper into the key. The interesting thing is that pins will stop making marks/scratches when they are at the correct position. The process of twisting and filing is repeated until the pins no longer leave marks (and the lock opens).

finest moment

Currently two versions of the video are available: one in Quicktime MP4 (230 MB) and one in Windows Media format (320 MB).

Looking back at the video I can only smile. I was under quite some pressure, and I did get a little nervous by the camera at first. Fortunately I could block that feeling quite fast and focus on opening the lock. Hearing me yell ‘open!’ on the video still gets a grin on my face.

I would like to thank Steffen for his hard work of editing the video and make it available in such short time frame. And I can only hope you enjoy the video as much as I do. Hopefully it will get you interested in learning about opening locks this way or give you an idea what impressioning is about and what our games look like ….

Tool without locks … the Chinese tool

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

A little while ago I received some fancy looking opening tools. And normally when someone presents me an opening tool, I just grab one locks from my personal collection to try it out. But in this case I am sure I don’t have the right locks for the tool. And to make things worse, Han Fey also does not have an idea what kind of locks these are used for…

complete chinese lock pick kit

I must admit the tools look nice, and it is a real pity I do not have the locks that come with it to try them out. Too bad the manual does not mean much to me as my Chinese is still a little rusty …. So I can only guess how they work.

tools for chinese locks

Personally I think it is some sort of ‘decoder pick’. Turning the knob at the end of the tool moves a finger/lifter at the tip of the tool, and with it you can set (or feel) individual pins. The neat thing about this tool is that it’s also a ‘set up key’. Inserting small ‘break away key parts’ on the side of the blade will lift the pin to a specific position and keep it there. And by changing the inserts you can change the depth of this (set up) key. Most likely the idea is to use the included magnetic contact microphone to hear if a pin is under pressure or can move freely. After some fiddling around you will end up with a working key.

set up key filled on two positions

All in all an intriguing tool, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one of those locks. If I ever do, I promise to shoot some video and share that here …

* Update 7-11: I send the tool to one of my loyal readers who has a couple of these locks. After playing around with the tool he will send it back including a lock. So I guess a video will show up here some day …