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Mortise door lock picks ?.

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Magic1

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Post Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:57 pm

Mortise door lock picks ?.

I was in Salisbury shopping for piano wire, and also bought some locks including a cheap 3 lever mortise door lock. I made up a crude pick set out of an old key and some of the piano wire and have managed to pick the lock about a dozen times, but it was grim picking !. First my tool was on the floppy side, but less so than the levers in the lock !. The levers are 0.8mm thick and between each lever is a 0.5mm spacer wafer. Unless I have calculated things wrong, the width of my wire pick has to be less than 1.3mm . My first question is this normal, as I am finding it difficult to balance the square edge of the pick wire on the edge of the levers . One thought was to put a groove in the blade of the picking wire, to help locate it on the edge of the lever, but there really isn't enough room .... at first glance.

Using the simple 'filed down key' type tension tool, does nothing to control the position of the picking wire, so maybe I need to start thinking co-axial or a grooved shaft ?. I made up a 'Dangerfield' type grooved tension tool, but so many other things were wrong I scrapped it.

I am just wondering how 'normal' my £5 lock is ?.
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virul

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Post Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:47 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

Hey hows it going, sorry i have no advice to offer you, but i saw this vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Doy_CM5a1Qo on youtube, and his home made tool seems to give him alot of control. He doesnt show how to make it, and its in russian, but maybe it'll give you some ideas. Having a grove in the tension wrence to slide your pick through definatly seems to be the way to go.
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Magic1

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Post Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:01 am

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

Yes, most people seem to prefer the grooved type of tool, over the co-axial form. I suppose if one wanted make ones own, then it depends on what machinery one has access to. I am having a go at a co-axial tool at the moment. The main problem with this type is securely fixing a handle on the end of the tension wire because one really needs the ability to change components to suit the lock. I don't really know, so I think I will make up an example of both and then have a play. Using cut down keys, the co-axial tool is probably easier to make using only a hacksaw and file, but will possibly only fit one type of lock, so locksmiths might typically carry half a dozen of them. With the grooved tool it is much easier to have several wires for each tool Gauge, to suit a wider range of locks, but you have the problem of cutting the groove.

Maybe the experts might like to comment on this ?.
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LocksmithArmy

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Post Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:02 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

what if...
your "coaxial pick" was a sleeve that went over your tensor.. The tube portion of the pick would be shaped like a C instead of a whole circle. This sleeve would slide on yout rensor and the open portion of the C woiud behow the handle is avoided... Once on it can be turned and won't slde all the way off.

you could even put pegs tword the top (non business end) 90 degrees from the opening, this would help the rotating pressure to lift the levers...

for different locks you simply get different sleves to slide over ur tensor... You could even make different length tensors if needed and use the same pick sleeves...

y is it you that gets my brain working so early in the morning all the time
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Magic1

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Post Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:43 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

Thirty ERA key blanks arrived this morning, so I have roughly cut up two to see what my co-axial pick will look like. The brass tube is that length because it is half a standard length of brass tube for model makers. The ERA blanks are not as well made or finished as the Chubb key I did some experiments with, and eventually I had to drill the pick key from both ends because the key shank was not straight. The two blades have a lot of work to be done on them yet, I only removed enough brass to get them into the lock for the bolt impressioning. The pick blank I intend to put into the lock, exercise it in order to get an impression of the bolt. That will mark the blank exactly where the bolt pick needs to be. I have added a photo of smoked bolt impression marks on a typical three lever key. You will note that one lever shares the central part of the blade and this means that bolt and first lever swap positions when inserted from the other side of the lock. On a five lever lock, levers may have separate cuts. Once the blank is marked I can then cut the blade to shape.

I am going to assume that for unlocking purposes, I will always use the tool inserted into the 'front' of the lock. That may allow me to make a wider (towards the rear) bolt thrower 'finger' which will give added strength (these keys are cast and relatively brittle).

Yes the sleeve idea would work, I think the problem would be cutting the slot as the tube has a very thin wall (0.32mm). The model makers brass tube is designed so that each size is a sliding fit into the size above. I used 16 SWG piano wire above because I didn't have any 14 SWG, but it would easily fit into the tube. I will knock up a co-axial (2in1) tool as time permits and then have a go at the grooved type. I am also hoping to find a curtain lock at the next boot sale. The only problem I see with the grooved type, is the wire tends to drop out of the groove when the tool is upside down , trapping it in the keyhole, but a small neodymium magnet would sort that.

Have you done anything on lever locks yet ?. I don't see much on the forum about them.
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LocksmithArmy

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Post Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:18 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

only lever lock i have is a glass front one (basically a cutaway) and i have not made proper tool... i use an allen wrench and some wires lol

but i understand the prencaple and have been eager to actually get soem simple ones to work on... i cant handle the 6 or 12 lever double sided ones i find on ebay... i need a few elcheapos
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Magic1

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Post Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:28 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

I smoked the key blank for the picking finger and exercised the blank in the lock, and the bolt has marked the key blank as shown in the photograph. Next I need to trim this 'finger' to size. The finger will be to the left of the mark.
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Last edited by Magic1 on Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:04 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

I'm very intrested in seeing how this all plays out. I definitely want to give some lever locks a go myself one day (hopefully soonish.)
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virul

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Post Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:19 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

elbowmacaroni wrote:I'm very intrested in seeing how this all plays out. I definitely want to give some lever locks a go myself one day (hopefully soonish.)


Yeh me too. i managed to pick my 2 leaver bedroom door lock with a peice of coat hanger bent into a loop at the end, but it was very hard going and i dont think it would work for anything more than 2 levers, so i hoped to make something liek one of these tools once i get bits and peices together. Keep the picks coming magic1.
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Magic1

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Post Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:08 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

Lever pick finger trimmed to 1.8mm wide and it needs to be reduced to under 1.5mm. The torsion Torsion finger is trimmed to 2.8mm wide and needs to be 8.62mm wide. The center hole drilled through both components is slightly skew-wif, because the ERA key blanks do not chuck up as well as the Chubb blanks, nor are they as straight. Both fingers require trimming to length, but I think I will scrap this experiment. First, with the tension shank fully engaged in the far keyhole, I want the torsion finger to line up exactly with the bolt. Also with the pick finger component fully engaged to the shoulder, I want the pick finger to sit dead on top of the top lever. There is a danger that it will limit the tool to this first lock .... but that seems to be common with these tools anyway. I will make another of these when I get time.
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Magic1

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Post Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:17 am

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

I have just realised that I may be leading some people astray and would like to correct this. You do not need complicated or expensive tools to pick lever locks. I have only been interested in locks a short time so I regard my self as being a newbie who has a lot to learn. I tend to jump around a bit and I did the same when I started looking at lever locks, which was probably a mistake, but at the time I found it difficult to get info on lever locks. So here is my humble advice to anyone who wants to play with lever locks.

Basically I think there are two things one needs to do. The first is acquire a basic 2 and 3 lever lock and strip it dozens of times to get the feel of how everything works and why it works (and also why it sometimes will not work). Make up a clear perspex top cover to replace the steel one, so you can see everything that is happening inside the lock Ask yourself questions like, if I turn the key the wrong way, what happens and how can I take advantage of it. With a vernier gauge measure critical distances inside the lock, like the height of the bolt and levers above the back plate.

The second thing is to make some lever lock wires and practice with them. There is a very good video on how to make them at ......

Lever lock wires part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMuEZ_XtDgE

Lever lock wires part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB34z97s ... re=related

He also has some good video's on picking popular lever locks.

Lock lever lift wires are a traditional tool and they stay traditional because they are simple to make, cheap and they work. Nearly all other lever pick tools have evolved from the lift wires. To make them you will need some SWG 16 gauge piano or music wire, which you can get from a model shop. With the same wire you can make key turners, over lift wires etc. You might also like to purchase a length of 14 SWG at the same time and ask them what sizes of brass tube they sell. Each size is usually in Imperial and each size slides into the next. A traditional apprentice locksmith had to make their own tools and it is a good habit to get into. It is not until you do this that you can fully understand what is happening before your eyes.

I find lever locks more interesting than tumbler ones, perhaps it is because they lead up to the very best and most challenging locks that are used on safes.
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Magic1

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Post Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:29 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

Here is a second one I made this after noon to the dimensions I mentioned earlier. When the tool is inserted into the lock, the top of the tension finger is flush with the top of the bolt, as planned. So if you slide the picking finger end into the lock, it lines up exactly with the bottom lever, as planned. The fingers are of the correct length for this lock. So all I have to do now is silver solder the parts together. Incidentally the ERA blank key has a shank that is a nice force fit into the brass tube, the Chubb blank, which I much preferred has to have the shank turned to size.

As you can see a tool can be made from cut down blank keys .... but there is a snag. Steel and brass lever lock keys are cast, and therefore the metal brittle. In the above design the tension finger is going to be strong enough, because of the added width of the finger. In the case of the picking finger it cannot be much thicker than a blank than the blank because it would otherwise not fit into the keyhole, so for this lock it ends up 1.5mm square. On the other hand since it is narrow it cannot span two lever at one go .... so the load is reduced and providing the tool is not forced into the key way skew-wif all should be well. Of course your lock will be different from mine. A typical thickness for a two lever lock lever may be 2.7mm which makes for a much thicker and stronger picking finger.

OK, I have done what I said I would do, but now there is a question in my mind .... if given a choice would you use brittle brass for such a slender finger, or would you be happier to use strong spring steel ?. The latter leads us away from home brewed co-axial tools made from cast keys ..... to the grooved tool with greater strength and flexibility.
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Magic1

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Post Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:03 pm

Re: Mortise door lock picks ?.

Tool now finished ... and no .... I am not going to polish it !.
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Magic1

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Post Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:32 pm

Making a training lever lock ....

Earlier I advised newbies to make a transparent training lock and today I got around to taking my own advice and the end result is below. This was not without it's problems so I thought if anyone was thinking of doing it, there are some things that need to be remembered. Basically the plan is to remove the top steel cover of the lock and replace it with a transparent window, made of 'Perspex'. Perspex is a UK brand name for transparent acrylic sheet material.

The first point is that all brands of lever locks are different, so we can only deal with generalities here. An obvious problem is that if the new 'window' is thicker than the old steel case, the key will never be able to fully engage into the lock and cause it to open. It will still open from the rear. This particular lock uses a warded key, so I can drill out the keyhole to shoulder diameter and the key will works from the front as well . The ward actually stops the key from falling out the back hole in the case.

Although the lock I have was dirt cheap, it really is a clever piece of work as far as tolerances go and is designed to work and carry on working for decades, providing an idiot like myself does not come along and gut it every five minutes. From a dimensional point of view, one has to be careful to note where dimensions are referenced from. For example in my lock references are not taken from the actual outside or inside of the case, but from indentations stamped into the case. When we replace the top of the case with perspex these indentations do not exist and therefore the gap between the rear steel case and the perspex is larger than before. At the lever pack this dimension is critical and the end result is that the lever pack is not as compressed as much as before and small gaps appear between levers, spacers and the bolt. I have no idea what the experts call this, but I call it lever 'spread'. I will try and find a photo that illustrates this and attach it. If you now apply a picking tool to the pack the levers tend to move apart and in the worst case to picking finger can actually slide between components of the lever pack. So whatever you do to your lock when fitting the window, you have to check that the lever pack is still compressed and not flopping about. I will try and get a photo of that too. After you have looked at what is happening in your lock, you end up with one of two choices, you can pack out the slack ..... or make the whole lock thinner !. I chose the latter course. This is done by reducing the height of all spacing components.

If you are making tools using training lock, you can use the outside or inner surface of the rear steel case half, but need to think three times before using the replacement surfaces as reference, or a key shoulder if making tools.

A sash lever lock also contains a latch bolt. If you are thinking of making video's using your training lock it may be an idea to remove the latch components as they only complicate and confuse .... and do nothing in the lock picking sense.

OK having said all that, a transparent training lever lock is the quickest and best way of understanding how they do and do not work and it is well worth the effort of making one. If you don't then you will never be able to see what happens when you turn the key the wrong way !. Have fun ....
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Magic1

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Post Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:32 pm

Feelin' grooveeee ....

Four hours cutting the groove with a needle file, another two should do it !.
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