Bumping locks

Without looking at my stats I clearly see global peeks in awareness of
the bump key problem. All of a sudden I receive a bunch of mail asking
if I am am willing to test locks for company X, whether I am available
for presentations, or if I sell bump keys or the ‘Tomahawk’
bumphammer. Especially the Tomahawk, designed and made by 92 year old
German engineer Kurt Zühlke, seems to be what most people are looking
for. And very often I have to disappoint them. Kurt does not make a
whole lot of them, and the ones I get my hands on I trade or give

tomahawk by kurt

In my latest presentations I also demonstrate a new type of hammer by
Jens Andrews. This so called ‘power hammer’ is made of … shoe sole.
It has turned out to be an excellent tool for the job. I like it and
need it sometimes when that little ‘extra power’ is needed to let pins
jump. Jens uses a rather expensive and delicate technique to glue
multiple strips of shoe sole together to create a hammer this accurate
and almost indestructible. I will relay mail to him if you are interested in one.

 power hammer by jens andrews

The lock (tools) industry has also discovered money can be made
selling bump hammers. At the ALOA locksmith tradeshow in Las Vegas
last month I noticed some vendors where selling commercial bump
hammers. Some of them even sold complete keyrings with 999 keys for
the most popular US lock brands. Peterson manufacturers designed a
hammer called ‘Tommy Hawk‘. This nylon hammer has two holes in the
back. These holes can be filled with lead or sand to give it extra
weight. At first I was afraid the hammer would not have the mass
needed to transfer the right amount of energy. But it proved to be
almost as good as the original Tomahawk.

tommy the hawk

Consumers in the US are starting to realize there is a problem with
their locks. Newsweek did an article on bumping and it is causing a peek here….

7 Responses to “Bumping locks”

  1. Mark Garratt says:

    I have a patented product which can be applied to existing pin cylinder locks in situ, which greatly reduces the vulnerability of the lock to bumping.

  2. Barry says:

    Mark: Patents are fine and well … but does it work?
    We have seen many ‘solutions’ that did not work at all.
    Can you tell a little more about how it works?
    It is patented anyway right?

  3. Mark Garratt says:

    Hi Barry
    Rather than describe the process in detail,as patents have very little worth in protecting ideas other than as security for finance, how about I supply you with a sample double ended cylinder, one end of which has been “treated” and the other standard, along with the appropriate 999 key to try?


  4. Barry says:

    Mark Garratt: I have no problems with that but there is a minimum test protcol we follow when testing so called bump proof locks:

    We need a couple of locks to try and we will take apart at least one to see how the anti bump technology works before we start hammering. And if a factory wants us to test locks we also instruct them to send loads of pre-cut bump keys to save us time. And at least two working normal keys for each lock. If you would send us three locks and a good number of keys I am willing to test it…

  5. wendy staggs says:

    I was impressed by your online demonstration of bumping. Learning about how the lock works made it so much easier noe that i can visual the real construction of it.

    Thanks for all the info.

  6. tom says:

    Why exactly do you need a special tool of any kind? Unless you are looking to sell an expensive tool, why not use a screwdriver handle, tire weight, or butter knife? It just needs to have the “right” amount of weight and have a handle.

  7. Mike says:

    I have a bumpkey that was machine made 999 but something doesnt work
    I bump with the handle of a regular hammer and this doesnt seem to work on my 7 cylinder ASSA lock “HH7” If I could get any advise on how to make it work I would be very thankfull.

    Regards Mike