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Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

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ToolyMcgee

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Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:31 am

Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

Anyone who has done much ebay shopping for old locks probably has one of these old Y&T beauties. If you got it cheap, more than likely it has no key. You could try impressioning it... but if you can pick the lock to get the shackle open, there is another way. Though, I suggest being confident in your ability to pick it again before attempting this method.

There are two pins that hold the guts inside the lock body. They should be visible in the ring around the logo on the face of the lock.
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You might be able to tap them out. Either directly, or if you can drill into them beyond the part of the brass pin that has expanded to create the pressure fit, this will make them much easier to tap out. Drilling clean through is not really necessary. Once you have removed these pins, the next step is removing the exteriour shell of the padlock. There is a shackle retainer bar accessable once you slide up the shell. Just slide it out.
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The shackle comes free and we are left with looking at the inside assembly. Which I have shown here, drilled twice. Once for the retainer, and again to remove the 5th pin stack. The retainer pin in this one was held in by a brass cap that was staked into position over the pin. Drill into it deep enough you can pop out that cap and access the retainer. It sounds complicated, but it will become clear once you get through the cap.
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So... why did I drill out the 5th pin?
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See the groove for the retaining pin? If you pull out the plug a hair too far, the 5th driver pin will jam it in. It will become a factor during reassembly as well unless you keep that in mind. DO NOT draw out the plug even a fraction of an inch before you rotate it far enough that the pin stacks will bypass that groove, or you will be drilling to free it again. Removing the plug this first tiny bit, releases return spring tension on the plug by disengaging the shackles locking mechanism. In other words
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The latter being the position you will want the ring on the back of the plug in for reassembly.

On to the good stuff, the pins! Mushrooms pins in balanced pin stacks, can make for a very challenging pick.
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I tried to get a good comparsion photo under magnification. It should be obvious.Image
The lab spool of the same size doesn't have shit on the old Y&T.

The top one is the working key, and the lower was an impressioning fail. L-2 is not the proper key for the keyway, but it fit. I'm not sure exactly which keyway this is, but I have a good idea.
ImageImage


Now, reassembly... use a plug follower to load the spring and top pins. If you drilled the 5th pin, wait on capping it until we are ready to restake the retaining pin. With the key you have cut inserted, slide the plug back into the housing almost all the way. We have to first, replace the ring on the back of the plug in the proper position. Refer to the dissassembly photos for proper orientation. Now slide the locking bars back into place. Compress them all the way together and push the plug in. Now turn the key and the plug will drop into place.

We are ready to repair the inner housing. First replace the retaining pin. For the 5th pin cap, I used a standard size tapered keypin. For the bit I size bit I used to drill, it fit very snug. Then I staked the brass of the housing around it a bit. Easy enough. But for the retainer pin cap I suggest using grub screw if you can.
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This locks guts had been rekeyed a time or two already, and my fumbling around left no material for a grub screw to hold, so I had to seat a bit of brass pin as a cap, and stake it as best I could. The grub screw however, will leave you the option to rekey the guts as you see fit before you completely reasemble the lock, and you wont have any complications from the friction of fitting a brass cap over the pin pressing down so hard it effects the plugs range of motion.

Assuming you have this worked out, we are ready for final assembly. Turn the key and reinsert the shackle spring. Place the shackle through the body cover as shown and depress the shackle far enought to let the retaining bar hold it in place in the proper position.
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That's it. The only step remaining is to replace the brass pins with the suitable size and seat them into place. The method used to seat them once you have them cut to a suitable length, is peening. Guess what side of a ball peen hammer comes in handy here? Tap on them until the brass expands far enough that they seat firmly. If you leave too much excess, it will roll the top of the pin over into something like a very thin nail head, which you can use to hide any irregularities in the size of the holes you drill to get it apart. If you've done it well, these pins should be the only exteriour evidence you have taken the lock apart at all. Other than your brand new key of course :mrgreen:
Last edited by ToolyMcgee on Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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HallisChalmers

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Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:09 am

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

Outstanding tutorial Tooly - very well written, great photos and easy to understand.

Top notch work, bro.

You're stickied.

(HAHA)
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the lockpickkid

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Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:57 pm

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

Nice job Tooly, Now I can make a key for mine! I think mine has a different keyway by chance though, do you think you could post a picture of the keyway? It would be cool to make a key for mine, it is in really good shape, I would like to use it. I have picked it a couple of times, but it is hard, no wonder, those mushroom pins!! My keyway is pretty small as well, hard to get a normal size pick in there. I was told the other day that there was no way that these had mushrooms in them, LOL! here is the evidence!
I have been in the souls of many women, but I always end up on the soles of there shoes.
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uklockpicker

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Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:12 pm

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

Excellent review tooly, also thanks for the many handy hints (woohoo)
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bezza1

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Post Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:51 pm

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

good tutorial man and well explaind welldone :D
keep going dont look back allways achive your goals
and follow your dreams................
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ToolyMcgee

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Post Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:20 am

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

HallisChalmers wrote:Outstanding tutorial Tooly - very well written, great photos and easy to understand.

Top notch work, bro.

You're stickied.

(HAHA)

Thanks Hallis! I didn't even consider stickie a possibility. I got more pictures than I needed for discussing main points, and that has never happened. Typing a billion words about a lock is easy enough, but this one actually came together well without any rediuclously long text. Thanks again for the compliment.

Kid: I edited the post to include the keys, and keyway. I don't know that there are mushroom pins in all the "super pin tumblers", but this one had it and it makes for a difficult pick. It's among the toughest securtiy pinned standard pin tumbler lock I own.
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the lockpickkid

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Post Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:29 am

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

Thanks for the added pictures Tooly, mine has a different keyway than yours, So I have to sift through the thousands of Yale keyways and try to find one that looks like it will fit. This lock is very hard for me as well, but I have it opened again as of right now. It's so decieving, I bought it thinking well, here is another old padlock for the collection and I thought it would be an easy pick. Well, as the old timers always say " They don't make them like they used too" This is proof. For being an old lock, these little gems are very well made, and very secure. I really want to take mine apart and clean it up if anything, but once I get it apart I may as well try to make a key for it then also.
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I have been in the souls of many women, but I always end up on the soles of there shoes.
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ToolyMcgee

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Post Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:57 pm

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

No problem. Looks like a Y1 from the picture. If it's not, just put in a Y1 blank and wail on the back of it with a hammer. :lol: It took me a few days to pick open that lock when I first got it, but it doesn't cause me any grief now. Picked a bunch of rim cylinders that have those pins and got a feel for 'em. Just like most security pins, it takes practice, but you can get it down. Working out of the false set is similar to a spool, but when it drops in heavy, back off and lower the pin back down, then lighten up tension and lift it again without catching so deep in the false. As long as you don't wrench the plug to hard when it's right at the deepest part of that pin, you can usually get the counter rotation to work past it. I bet you crack it if you get warmed up on a Yale without security pins first. I know going from most keyways to a Yale can take me some adjustment time.
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the lockpickkid

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Post Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:04 am

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

The keyway is very similar to a Y1 but the Y1 blank is too big, the warding looks the same though, just a smaller overall profile. I tried what you said though, and now I have a broke off Y1 in my lock, how big a hammer did you use?
I have been in the souls of many women, but I always end up on the soles of there shoes.
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ToolyMcgee

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Post Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:20 am

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

No less than 3lbs and you really gotta put your back into bashing it. It's called "rekeying". If you can bust off the key deep enough it jams up the lock forever, then you've done it properly. Repeat for every Yale lock you encounter that's not a Y1, until they are the only kind left.
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spoolerated

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Post Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:06 pm

Re: Keying your old Yale & Towne padlocks

Thank you Tooly! Now I finally have a key for my old yale lock! :D

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