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What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:34 am
by Site Admin
Impressioning is a method of fitting a key to a lock without taking the lock apart. Basically, here is how it works: A key blank is inserted into the lock, then turned to bind the pins. When the pins are binding, the key is wiggled or moved to produce marks on the blank. If a pin is at the shear line it will not bind, and no marking will occur. When marks are found, the places on the blank which have marks are then filed. The marking and filing process is repeated as necessary to produce a working key which raises all the pins to the shear line, thus opening the lock. Although impressioning is not hard to learn, it does take some practice to develop the skill. Of course, the more you practice, the easier it gets!

How long does it take to impression a key? With practice and by making use of shortcuts, it is not unusual to be able to make a key in about 10 minutes. Some locks will take longer. Sometimes as little as 5 minutes is possible if you are both lucky and skilled. If you try to pick a lock, you don't know in advance if it will take one minute or thirty. With impressioning, opening a lock is a more reliable and predictable process.

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:28 pm
by Wozzlock
That's pretty interesting! I have two Master 40 disk locks without keys (taken with permission from work)... are blanks available from a local key cutting shops? Maybe I should just take one in to see?

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:47 pm
by m0ose
Bender wrote:That's pretty interesting! I have two Master 40 disk locks without keys (taken with permission from work)... are blanks available from a local key cutting shops? Maybe I should just take one in to see?


The key blanks for a Master 40 are M1's. Some places like Home Depot have proprietary blanks that go by their own coding system, however it's not too hard to figure out.

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:44 pm
by superlenny
eam i have a question:

when i get one of the pins on the sherline,
why he should not make a mark,
the springs pressing him on the kye ore not?

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:50 am
by ToolyMcgee
superlenny wrote:eam i have a question:

when i get one of the pins on the sherline,
why he should not make a mark,
the springs pressing him on the kye ore not?


Superlenny:
Impressioning a key is much like picking a lock. The pin that makes the best mark is the binding pin. When you get the pin to the shearline the mark should drastically decrease, and be transfered to another binding pin.

I think this is what you are asking. If so, then I believe you are the first person I have seen ask such a direct question. If not then you are a foreigner, or possibly too buzzed. Either way, CHEERS!

Mcgee

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:01 pm
by superlenny
ToolyMcgee wrote:
superlenny wrote:eam i have a question:

when i get one of the pins on the sherline,
why he should not make a mark,
the springs pressing him on the kye ore not?


Superlenny:
Impressioning a key is much like picking a lock. The pin that makes the best mark is the binding pin. When you get the pin to the shearline the mark should drastically decrease, and be transfered to another binding pin.

I think this is what you are asking. If so, then I believe you are the first person I have seen ask such a direct question. If not then you are a foreigner, or possibly too buzzed. Either way, CHEERS!
Mcgee



At first big thank you for the answer.

ok now when i think about it it makes sence
i dosent lock it in that way that just the binding pin will make a mark.
Now i can search for reasons for this,
and i think its because the binding
Pin is more starched then the other ones.
Now i have a base to start with trying it out but two more things:
1. When i file it down, how get i the keye blank to see the next mark
on this spot again or is this not necessary.
2. Wath mean Lew with: "With practice and by making use of shortcuts,"
shourtcuts how? what he mean with that?

thy
lenny

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:59 am
by quaiboi
ToolyMcgee wrote:
superlenny wrote:eam i have a question:

when i get one of the pins on the sherline,
why he should not make a mark,
the springs pressing him on the kye ore not?


Superlenny:
Impressioning a key is much like picking a lock. The pin that makes the best mark is the binding pin. When you get the pin to the shearline the mark should drastically decrease, and be transfered to another binding pin.

I think this is what you are asking. If so, then I believe you are the first person I have seen ask such a direct question. If not then you are a foreigner, or possibly too buzzed. Either way, CHEERS!

Mcgee

so if each time i file...i can only file on one pin....and not all 5 at the same time?

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:55 pm
by magician59
After 38 years of practice, my average time is between one and three minutes, depending on whether the lock is in the field, or on my bench.

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:59 pm
by Mike51691
Thats pretty fast
magician59 wrote:After 38 years of practice, my average time is between one and three minutes, depending on whether the lock is in the field, or on my bench.

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:50 pm
by magician59
When you do it to feed your family, you have to be fast. Here's one way to improve your confidence a bit with impressioning:
Get a file and a few key blanks, AND a dial caliper or micrometer. Measure your every stroke with the file, until you can consistently remove the same amount of material with each stroke. Then you'll know just how many strokes it takes to go from one depth of cut to the next. This eliminates time wasted in extraneous filing. My career best time for an impressioned key was 45 seconds for a Ford pin tumbler trunk lock. That customer never saw any slim jims that day!

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:14 am
by awol70
magician59 wrote:When you do it to feed your family, you have to be fast. Here's one way to improve your confidence a bit with impressioning:
Get a file and a few key blanks, AND a dial caliper or micrometer. Measure your every stroke with the file, until you can consistently remove the same amount of material with each stroke. Then you'll know just how many strokes it takes to go from one depth of cut to the next. This eliminates time wasted in extraneous filing. My career best time for an impressioned key was 45 seconds for a Ford pin tumbler trunk lock. That customer never saw any slim jims that day!

i would absolutely LOVE to see you in action!
i had an old locksmith with thumbs like monkeywrenches impression a key for my AMC gremlin once,he did it on his knee !
just thumbs and a file...no vise-grips,no caliper..
i was amazed ,to say the least,and in wonder..
this guy had the biggest,strangest looking thumbs i have ever seen..
his hand was like a vise.
that was 20 years ago.
i remember it like it was yesterday.

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:00 pm
by magician59
Wouldn't want to play thumb war with that one!

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:36 pm
by awol70
magician59 wrote:Wouldn't want to play thumb war with that one!

lol,me neither...
any chance at all of filming one of your impressioning jobs?
as i said, i would really enjoy seeing you do it,and i am sure all our members would as well.
i understand totally if you must decline,
but i just had to ask.



thanks.

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:26 pm
by magician59
awol70 wrote:
magician59 wrote:Wouldn't want to play thumb war with that one!

lol,me neither...
any chance at all of filming on of your impressioning jobs?
as i said, i would really enjoy seeing you do it,and i am sure all our members would as well.
i understand totally if you must decline,
but i just had to ask.



thanks.

I'm not quite into the 21st century yet technically. I'm just getting used to cell phones. I do know how to take a digital photo, but I'll have to have my 13-year old son teach me how to upload!

Re: What Is Impressioning?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:14 am
by Medecopen
I cant wait to do this... I remember over 20 years ago as a kid having a locksmith make me a key for my 67 cougar...
Never seen or heard of making keys like that again until I read this thread.. I started doubting what I saw, I e mentioned it to other folks and they just looked at me weirded but they were not lock people...
Is this possible on locks with side bars?