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First Time Manipulation

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:27 pm
by darhymes
I recently became an executor and trustee of an estate. One of the items located in the decedent's house was a Horizon in-floor safe with an Ilco Unicam dial (no key). An exhaustive search provided no written-down combination. Since I enjoy occasional lock picking (I am also a landlord and a few tenants have changed their locks and did not provide keys after move-out), I was keenly interested in opening the safe myself. It would have been easy enough to hire someone, but I couldn't get past the desire to open it myself…why let someone else have all the fun? After some internet research, I found the excellent book published by LockManipulator. I read and re-read the book several times until things started to make sense. Armed with my new knowledge of lock manipulation, I set forth on my mission...

This was not an easy task.

There were some moments of doubt and frustration, but I stayed with it. I made several graphs, noting both LCP and RCP. I also tried some shortcuts when frustration started kicking in-not recommended. In the end, I had located one number (W3 after high/low testing) and was on my to finding the other two. I decided to (once again) carefully graph W1&2 with W3 parked on its gate using RCP only, paying particular attention to maintaining the same “feel” when locating the contact point. When finished with the graph, I could clearly see two gates…I was going to open the safe! After a short period of trial and error, I was rewarded by a solid “click” and an open safe! It happened so quickly, I almost didn’t realize what I had just done!

Overall, the manipulation was a fantastic learning experience. It was so much fun to learn something that I never really understood before. Looking back, I can identify my errors (there were many!) and also identify things I did correctly. I think the most important things (for me) were keeping the same pressure on the wheel (easier said than done) when locating contact points and also graphing accurately. Another resource pointed out a very logical way of graphing. It turned out to be a tremendous aid when producing my final graph.

Anyway, that’s my lock manipulation story. I’m sure many of you would have had the safe open in minutes (it took me about 8 hours over the period of a few weeks), but I thought you might enjoy reading another story of a first time manipulation. So exhilirating! Thanks again to LockManipulator for creating such a great guide and also to Oldfast for his beautifully detailed chronicles. Also, thanks to Kerti for identifying the correction for high/low testing. I was scratching my head on that one for a while before I saw your post. Without those resources, I’m not sure this would have been possible.

Re: First Time Manipulation

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:46 pm
by MartinHewitt
Congratulations! Opening a safe lock is fun, but it is even better if it is in a closed safe with an unknown combination or lost key.

Re: First Time Manipulation

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:31 pm
by edocdab
That's great! Congratulations :)

Re: First Time Manipulation

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:48 pm
by mastersmith
Now That's entertainment! Congratulations on your maiden opening! So, are you going to pursue your newly found hobby, or is once enough?

Re: First Time Manipulation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:56 am
by femurat
Welcome to the club!

Mastersmith, once is never enough.

Cheers :-)

Re: First Time Manipulation

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 5:36 pm
by darhymes
Thanks for the support!

I always find myself getting into different hobbies because of the unique challenges they offer. This is no exception. Once is definitely not enough. I spend a fair amount of time traveling for work and struggle with taking my favorite hobbies (RC helicopters, scale modeling, woodworking, airbrush painting) on the road with me. This would be a great hobby since it fits neatly in my suitcase. The lock I manipulated is even mounted to a removable steel plate so I can take the whole thing with me for practice!