10ringo10 wrote:awesome sir...... I have never seen the vak lock before can you tell us anything about it !! thankyou
My thanks for your kind words.
Yes, the VAK is a really cool lock. I don't know of another design like it (other than a company called ‘Muel’), so from that point of view, I get really curious about it. I'm really happy you pointed it out.
VAK is a lock made by a French company called Picard. I believe it's a design and label they bought some years ago (I think Picard bought the VAK brand as a whole, but I could be wrong on this), but as the design is so unique, the brand 'VAK' is still a relevant choice for modern hi-sec application in domestic and commercial doors. It's sold under the Picard brand, and is considered as a very secure mechanism in France. Whether it's "unpickable" or not remains to be seen, but I'll know more once I get around to gutting it.
In action, it operates in a similar way to a tubular lock, in that the key engages with the corresponding grooves by being pushed into it. For that reason, this class of locks are known as push locks or pump locks. While it operates in a similar way as a tubular, it has some features of its own that I hope I can outline.
The key you see above engages with 10 pump levers when it’s pushed into the keyway. I only say “levers” since I can't think of another word to describe them. These levers sit horizontally across the back of the keyway and the grooves in the key engage with them. The angled cuts in the end of the key's teeth/grooves act to pick up the curved ends of the levers as the key is pushed in. The bit on the top of the key (as you're looking at it in the pic) acts to limit the depth with which the key can be inserted, in order to give the right depth for the correct bitting on the teeth. The key can then turn the plug while the key is retained in the keyway.
I have seen mention that this design unpickable because of the force needed to turn the plug under the tension of a very strong single spring, and the depth for each of the teeth needs to be maintained in order for the plug to turn. Given that the key is horizontal, and leaves nearly zero room for impressioning, I’m still scratching around on how something like this could be picked.
Anyhow, I probably don’t describe all this that well, and I feel sure things will become far more obvious when I gut this beautiful thing. However, so far there's some hesitation in me, since I'm unsure if I need a specialist tool to reassemble, and I can find no one with any experience with a VAK lock. But, since I have 2 cylinder halves, and I’m a curious SOB, I think I’ll get this done sooner rather than later. The other thing I'm cautious about is that the mechanism is tensioned on a really strong single spring. Which could be a real *itch to deal with.
There are also higher security versions called the VAK Mobile and the VAK Genius. They work on the same 10 lever principle, but the first has a front facing mobile pin in the key grooves, while the second has a chip that engages electronically with the lock. I think the first would make it even more difficult to pick, while the second's micro-chip may become redundant when it comes to picking. It could be just to prevent key duplication rather than an anti-picking mechanism. I haven't had keys or locks for either of these 2, so I can't give you anything other than guess work and bits and pieces I’ve read/been told, I'm afraid.
If anyone can correct any of the above for me or add more, I very much welcome it.