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One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:39 am
by Neilau
Here’s a lock that I came across on an old fence post I was cutting up for fire wood about 18 months ago for last winter.

Probably hasn’t seen a key for 40-50 years. There is no name on it, a mysterious pin on one side that I suspect is a locator pin to hold in a restricted cylinder. On the other side there are file marks where it looks like someone was looking for the pin or slot.

Been working on it for over a year, used every pick, technique that I know and it was getting very close to the grinder when one night I thought I’d try a new shallow hook that I had just made (more like roughed up) for another, smaller lock. Slid the hook in and touched a pin at the back and FUCK ME it turned, smooth as a baby’s bum.

WOW got this. Locked it up and it didn’t turn again for about two months. Maybe the torsion tool is catching. Tried a different one and again about two months later it turned.

I’ve opened it four times (6 to 8 weeks between openings) but feel that each time was just luck.

I’ve sent it on to aeporia to try and I’m glad that it appears to still be putting up a good fight. Glad that it wasn’t just my lack of skill. :smile:

When he gets it a couple of times he might send it on to torment someone else.

This photo is to show that it can be done – but not easily.

I couldn’t feel any security pins but the cylinder will turn a couple of degrees before stopping. This doesn’t seem to hamper setting the pins.

Only posting as this “regular” pin tumbler is the hardest one I have ever had. I couldn’t impression it as I doubt if I could get a key blank to fit it.

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Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:03 am
by aeporia
+1 on this being a PITA.

Probably put 4-5 solid hours into this so far.

I’ll throw some notes up after a bit more play later.

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:15 am
by Papa Gleb
Wow dude. It's crazy how we beat up tough lucks full of SP in minutes yet every now and then comes a mysterious lock that take revenge on us for all the locks we have picked lol.

If you really want to impression a key you could check the ilco catalog for the profile which will tell you what lock this is or you can just file down something near. I think I may have a blank that is very similar. Post a straight shot of the keyway and I'll check what I have.

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:54 pm
by Josephus
Does it have broken springs or pins dragging on debris? I have many old, not quite working salvage locks that are seriously more frustrating than my ASSAs. Check and see what feedback it gives with no tension. A grainy feeling, scraping, and snappy inconsistent action without any tension can help narrow down what stacks will be an issue. That luck might not be you but the lock being inconsistent.

This lock looks in really good condition though. All brass, no paint, no major traumas. Have you tried absurdly light tension and lifting? I have one that feels normal but its all lies! A feather touch and it gives immediately.

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:26 am
by whizdumb
Am I the only person who noticed that in the first picture where the "NP" was it was smudged out? It's clearly visible in the other pictures.

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:57 am
by pmaxey83
whizdumb wrote:Am I the only person who noticed that in the first picture where the "NP" was it was smudged out? It's clearly visible in the other pictures.



The "NP" is smudged out in the first pic.

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:04 am
by Neilau
In answer to a few questions.

The lock is quite clean and does not have any broken springs. All the pins move up and down smoothly. When it opens it is quiet smooth.

I have tried all sorts of tensions. When it opens is has always been to moderate tension.

As for the NP. Yes it is smudged out on the first pic. I usually block out any identifying marks but then thought "what the hell" it doesn't really matter. The lock is so old there are probably no keys for it anywhere and I did get it legitimately, as I said. There is nothing nefarious going on. These marks on pad locks usually indicate what key to use when there are many that are keyed alike but not always. I'm always a bit paranoid about things put on the net. Maybe a bit too much.

Lastly, I don't have the lock. I passed it on to torment someone else. Maybe when they have had their fun with it they will pass it on to someone else.

At the risk of sounding "....he doth protest too much" There is nothing nefarious going on with the NP.

I'm more interested in what the pin on the face is for. Someone has filled both faces looking for ... what, the hole, pin???

Can/could you get "blank" padlocks that you can put in a cylinder and pins then plug up the holes above the pins to make a custom lock. Before removable core locks became available.

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 3:56 am
by VancouverSpecial
HI Neilau,

Always such an amazing feeling when a lock finally opens after weeks, or months of effort - thanks for sharing.

But I've been wondering what's the wire for?

Kind regards,
Sean

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:24 am
by Neilau
The wire is a paper clip that I stick in the drainage hole to hold the torsion tool to stop the cylinder from snapping back to the locked position. The rest of it is just wrapped around the shackle to keep it out of the way.

The wire holds the tension tool/cylinder in the open (picked) position just for the photo. A lot of locks will spring back to the locked position.

Sometimes, like on this occasion, I leave it there for a few days just to savor the moment, as it were.

And, yes, it's quite a buzz when the cylinder FINALLY turns after such a loooong time.

It was getting very close to the grinder. :D

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:59 am
by VancouverSpecial
Good thinking! :)

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:27 am
by oldlock
Send it to me if you like.

The pin on the face is the plug retaining pin.

The keyway is an Australian Lock Company Series 6 restricted profile.

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:07 pm
by Neilau
Thanks for the info Oldlock.

Any idea how old it might be?

I don't have the lock. I passed it on to torment someone else.

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:16 pm
by aeporia
Alrighty.

This thing gave me the shits for a few days now. I left it alone for the last two days entirely.

I just gave it a whirl, and applied the moderate tension Neil mentioned — to me it felt like *heavy* tension; been picking Bryant’s europrofiles which I think has made me rather gentle wrt. tension of late — and after two attempts and 10 mins later it was open. WTF.

Image

I switched out to an entirely different tension tool: one of the Peterson-style serrated pry-bars that went ‘bottom’ (AU/US) of the keyway. I generally prefer picking as if the lock was mounted euro-style, and more than often go for ‘top’ (AU/US) of the keyway, which I was exclusively using earlier. When I saw Neilau’s photo I decided to try the other side.

Despite the photo (needed better lighting), this first opening was done in a vice (tried both free-hand, and vice many times prior).

@Neilau, happy for me to play for another week with this before I send it back, or on (your preference)?

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:32 pm
by Neilau
I'm truly impressed.

Have a play with it for as long as you like. Do it a couple of times it's quite a challenge.

If some else wants to have a go feel free to pass it on ---- after you have opened it at least three times.

Or you can keep it for your collection. Though it would be a shame to deprives the others of the hours of fun it can provide. :mrgreen:

Well done. The force is strong in you. :hbg:

Re: One HARD lock to pick.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:24 am
by aeporia
(:

Cheers.

And cheers also for the offer to keep it. I’ll hold onto it until I get another two good opens, and go from there.

Also shoutout to oldlock for knowing the profile. It’d be cool to get some blanks and get a key impressioned for this, something I haven’t had much practice with at all.

Anyone know where to obtain said Series 6 restricted key blanks? The naming makes it sounds like getting some is going to be a pain (most locksmiths nearby won’t even sell me blanks). I had a quick Google, and couldn’t locate it in the Ilco catalogues, nor on the Aussie Lock company website (admittedly I did not search hard nor widely).

***

Edit: Neilau, I remember you noting it being a surprise when it does go — for me I knew I was just one or two pins off. I love picking ‘downwards’ for this reason in part: the keypins stay sitting where the driver is caught up/at the shear-line if set. I’ve found this preferable for many of my locks over picking them as they are installed here: carefully place a hook to the back and gently pull it out, gliding the pick over the key pins, without having to first push them up against gravity to see if that stack is set/false-set… kinda like gliding the pick over the keypins on a picked lock to get a sense for the bitting… except here you can do it mid-pick. (: