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Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

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bobbybeatbilly

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Post Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:33 pm

Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

I am new to the art of impressioning. Are there any tips to seeing marks on the blanks better. The marks are so faint and require magnification. Any tips on how to use foil or some other material on the blank for better marks. Or tips for impressioning faster. I'd like to be able to impression pin tumblers as easy as wafers and be able to do it in 5 min. Or less

Also. Are there an self impressioning tools available that can be bought online?

Where can I buy a comb key for foil impressioning or how can I make one? Thanks for your input guys.
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mister sour

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Post Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

Locksmitharmy did some work with key blanks that were cut down and used foil as an impressioning medium. search his vids and the threads, you'll find it.
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Aedalas

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Post Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

mister sour wrote:Locksmitharmy did some work with key blanks that were cut down and used foil as an impressioning medium. search his vids and the threads, you'll find it.
Figured being new I'd help out with that. Here it is.

I would suggest you learn forum navigation though, probably 95% (total guess) of new users questions have already been answered at some point.

EDIT: On page 3 another user (Froggy) added pics of his version.

EDIT 2:
bobbybeatbilly wrote:I am new to the art of impressioning. Are there any tips to seeing marks on the blanks better. The marks are so faint and require magnification.
I'm not really into impressioning myself, but I have been around long enough that I've seen and read plenty. Most people do use magnification. My advice would be to try out one of these.
"What if you people made giant boulders illegal because of all the innocent people who get killed by giant boulders?"
"People dont kill people with giant boulders"
"They will if you take away their assault rifles"
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WolfSpring

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Post Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:08 am

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

I did the magnification and the light and all that good stuff and when it came down to it i found it best to get the key as smooth as you can with some sand paper first and make sure you use good clean strokes with a good file, you really want to put your money into the right file, it does not need to be expensive, but it must be good and leave the key smooth. I use a round swiss groubet I think is the name I don't know look at my name and find my impressioning a 5200 it shows the marks left in the keys really well, or at least I think it's really well.
http://www.youtube.com/wolfspring

What you call intelligence, I call common sense.
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bobbybeatbilly

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Post Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:44 am

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

Hey thanks for all your replies and I took a look at locksmitharmys thread. I tried the knife edge and I am able to see the marks of all the 5 pins; however, after I begin filing those original marks down and I put the key back into the lock to find more marks, I can't see any marks at all. The new filed metal seems to be either too resilient or not wanting to make any marks. Any ideas?

I compared the pin spacing with the real key and at least that was right on the money. But I'm not sure how to proceed after making the first files. I am using a medium sized pippin file and I'm making the sides of the cuts like a V
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WolfSpring

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Post Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:15 am

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

candle soot or marker on the key I've heard crayon but it can mess up your lock in my opinion, either that or you filed to far down
http://www.youtube.com/wolfspring

What you call intelligence, I call common sense.
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bobbybeatbilly

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Post Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:47 pm

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

Thanks I'll give that a try for the normal impressioning. And on the subject of the foil impressioning , what would the best way to figure out the spacing where I would leave the combs and cut out the rectangles for making a comb key?
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abroxis

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Post Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:27 pm

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

This site has a number of references relevant to this discussion

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/moonshadow/New_Folder/impressioning.htm
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Froggy

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Post Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:43 pm

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

to get the spacings, use an ink marker or polish your prepared blank with sand paper ... I don't use the knife edge technique for pin locks

test your file strokes on a similar blank to see how much material you remove with just a stroke ... to avoid to file over a right cut

use also the lock mechanical restrictions to your advantage : no more than 3 identical cuts , no more than 2 identical cuts side by side, look out for the maximum adjacent cut - MAC - (normaly 4 or 7) at least 3 different cuts on a key,

for the beginning, try on "easy" locks or padlocks ... file out no more than the mark depth you get ... take your time, be patient, don't give up

check out the forum to get a depths and spacings chart for US locks

good luck and good will
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Vitti

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Post Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

I don't think there's really any magic bullet with impressioning pin tumblers. It just takes some time and practice to identify the marks. A proper file is a necessity though. If the file has too rough a cut, then it will make identifying marks almost impossible. I'd recommend a 4 cut round (rat tail) swiss cut file (Grobet is a top quality manufacturer) to start with. You should be able to find one for about $20-$25 online.

Your goal of being able to impression pin tumblers in under 5 minutes isn't impossible but it is a high bar for a beginner. Under 5 minutes is competitive territory. I've found that lighting is more important than any kind of mark enhancing materials like soot or markers. I don't always use magnification but I always use a bright light and when the marks seem invisible, I rotate the key in the light from every angle and when you get it just right the marks jump out at you. It's almost that you're looking at the reflection of the light more so than looking at the blank itself. Varying your technique when the marks are hard to spot might help too. If you have been rocking the blank up and down, try push/pull.

As for foil impressioning, I don't have much use for it. You usually can't get more than one use from the impressioned key and trying to measure the 'cuts' on a foil impressioning to create a working key is harder than just impressioning the key the traditional way. I'd rather just pick the lock than foil impression it.
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bobbybeatbilly

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Post Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:15 am

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

Hey thanks for the comments. I checked out those links. Im able to get the marks before filing. They are pretty clear. But I think your right about the file right now I'm using a 2 cut pippin file but it seems to be making the cuts too coarse. I'm not able to get marks on the key after making the first filings, so I have no idea how deep to go. Is there a link where I can get that rat tail cut 4 file for a smoother file so hopefully the marks have a better chance of showing up. I am also going to try using sand paper.

Anyone have a link to where I can get a great deal on a grobet rat tail 4 cut that is good for impressioning?
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Vitti

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Post Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:17 am

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

I got mine from http://www.artcotools.com/swiss-precisi ... 17622.html

Get the 6" 4 cut, $19

A 4 cut pippen would be nice bit finding one for less than $60 from a reputable dealer isn't easy.
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bobbybeatbilly

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Post Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:31 pm

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

Okay so I now have a swiss 6" 4 cut rat tail file and a 6" 4 cut pippin file. I am able to see the marks of all 5 pins on the first impression. I first file the marks so that they are most visible by one stroke back and forth with the straight sharp edge of the pippin file and file straight down to make the marks more visible. Then I widen it and continue filing using the rat tail 6" file and and rat tail for the remainder filing of the key. However, even though the bevels that I created for the pins look smoother because I'm using the rat tail I still have problems seeing distinct marks inside the bevels unlike when I do the first impression and I see all 5 pin marks before filing. I'm still about to try the sandpaper option to make the metal even more smoother to see if that is the problem. When I file with the rat tail I file straight down which is what the instructional videos say to do with the rat file that I received in the mail, but am I supposed to do some other kind of motion?

Also, How would one use depth keys to make impressioning easier? I was surfing around and read about it, but it wasn't really described in detail the process of using depth keys for impressioning. Thanks guys for all your input. Hopefully I'll get this down someday. I have gone through 20 keys and have not had one successful blind impression without looking at the real key.
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bobbybeatbilly

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Post Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:35 am

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

I impressioned a few practice locks finally. An impressionist told me I should checkout the Impressioning book by Oliver Diederichsen and that it was an excellent resource. My only concern before paying the 79 euro is that it may not be relevant to American locks. Is this still a good book to checkout or not worth the cost. Also, can anyone point me to the direction in the forum for finding typical depth and spacing of keyways. I saw you guys mentioning it here in this thread. Thanks for all the input.
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piotr

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Post Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:04 pm

Re: Where can I buy a comb key for impressioning?

bobbybeatbilly wrote:I impressioned a few practice locks finally. An impressionist told me I should checkout the Impressioning book by Oliver Diederichsen and that it was an excellent resource. My only concern before paying the 79 euro is that it may not be relevant to American locks.


I have Diederichsen's book. It is concerned with traditional impressioning i.e. using a blank key and file, it does not cover comb/foil based impressioning methods. Diederichsens's book covers the impressioning of pin tumbler locks and wafer tumbler locks. The procedure is essentially the same for all locks of the same type from all over the world. There is no special procedure for North American locks. At the back of the book there are two tables of depth and space data: one for European Locks; and one for North American Locks. But neither table is exhaustive, only some of the most common locks are listed. But I wouldn't judge the book by the completeness of these tables since the D&S data can be obtained elsewhere.

Is this still a good book to checkout or not worth the cost.


It is considered "The Bible" of impressioning. There are no other comparable books on the topic so I'd say it is worth it.

Also, can anyone point me to the direction in the forum for finding typical depth and spacing of keyways. I saw you guys mentioning it here in this thread. Thanks for all the input.


I'd don't know if we have D&S data all in one place. It would probably be a good idea to have a section of the forum dedicated to D&S and probably key profile data. I think most of the locksmiths here get that sort of data from their key code software.
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