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Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:43 pm
by Oldfast
Thread inspired by: femurat's documented manipulations over on LP101.

A very special thanks to Mark . Who (through his generosity) has helped me open a door to a world that has
intrigued me for years! A door that has long since seemed sealed shut to the likes of me.
I only have my foot in the door at the moment.... but at least I'm in.

This thread will be for documenting some of my manipulations. It will include both my successes and failures.
My true motive for this thread - TO LEARN. The more of my experiences I put out... the more feedback I'll receive.
how to improve upon techniques, learn new ones, confirm I'm doing it correctly, or completely wrong, shortcuts, etc. etc.

Information flows more freely on this forum than anywhere I know. But even here, when it comes to the topic of manipulation,
there's still a hint of reserved silence (a code if you will).... and with good reason. I thoroughly understand and respect this!
In fact, it comforts me to know that the professionals conduct themselves as such. I realize that some things can only
be acquired through years of experience and hundreds of manipulations.... I am prepared to put that time in. But I
also believe some of the most fantastic methods and secrets exist with you, and will not be found in any book.
I can only hope that some of you will allow me to tap into some of your experience, even if just a little.
(If it sounds a little like I'm begging.... it's probably because I am) lol

I like to think over the past couple years I've made a solid & trustworthy name for myself around here. And I'm hoping
at least a few of you will feel the same when it comes to sharing some of your time and knowledge. And if not now,
then maybe a few years from now. (I'll still be here : ) My intentions are just, and my passion..... genuine.

My status at the moment: Absolute beginner. I've worked through an old LockMasters course, read Matt Blazes' paper on
"Safecracking for the Computer Scientist", and I'm currently nearing the end of "National Locksmith's Guide to Manipulation".
There's much to be absorbed from all three of these pieces yet, but I'm now in the thick of it... 8-12 hours a day.
If I'm not spinnin' a dial.... I'm reading about spinnin' a dial.

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:12 pm
by pin_pusher
i'm ready... :drool: also, i liked the cutaway on the other post, must have wasted a few cutting wheels...i've only manipulated one legard safe lock, which i made a plastic backing for, and it took some time to figure out how to feel and chart my observations. the national locksmith's guide to manipulation is among the materials i used, which is very helpful and cannot stress enough that when you think you are certain, it may not be so. sometimes findings don't make sense, but they too need to be recorded. was able to discern a few gates in a direct entry fence safe that i purchased used, but luckily, found the combo within papers that came with. wish i had enough safe locks to keep me occupied. fill this thread!

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:30 pm
by femurat
Can't wait to see you rolling :mrgreen:

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:08 am
by mdc5150
Mike I can't wait to start seeing some progress. I would love to start learning manipulation but with the move and the current living conditions it's not really possible. Best of luck to you I know you will do well.

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:54 am
by jfw
Nice to see another brave soul putting the effort into writing about their manipulation adventures! My prayers go out to you!! :hbg:

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:54 pm
by Oldfast
Thanks guys... I'm very excited. I'm hoping that some of my manipulations... and attempted manipulations lol... will generate some tips from the more experienced. I'm currently compiling some pictures & thoughts for my first post. I think I'll start with one of my first manipulations. Not only will this be the correct order (considering I entitled this 'chronicles'), but I have a good few questions that come with that one.

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:47 am
by Oldfast
As I was putting together my first manipulation post, it occurred to me the whole 'terminology factor' of all this.
Different pieces of literature I've read will use various terms for the same thing (specifically in regards to contact points and rotation).
These conflicting terms create confusion... especially when you're new! In addition, some of my shorthand may vary from the standard.

So I thought it best to clarify some points before moving into this thread.
Rudimentary I know, but well worth the time now to eliminate frustration later.

ALL of my terms have been adopted based on the assumption that we are viewing the lock/components from the FRONT.
This only makes sense to me, considering the vast majority of our time will be spent outside the safe.
(Only if all goes well, do we have the privilege of viewing it from the back) lol

ROTATION: You can look at rotation in several ways... use whatever makes sense to you.

right.... clockwise... descending
left.... counter-clockwise.... ascending

Think in terms of direction;
if you turn right... the TOP OF THE DIAL moves right.
If you turn left... the TOP OF THE DIAL moves left.

Think numerically (ascending/descending)
Assume the dial is @ 20 and you turn....
right... you'll approach 10
left... you'll approach 30

CONTACT POINTS: Here we must think opposites, or backwards if you will.

*In order to touch the right contact point.... turn the dial left

*In order to touch the left contact point.... turn the dial right

ie. The contact points for the S&G lock I'm holding right now are: LCP=6 .... RCP=15

The notes seen at the top right of each graph tells us of the wheel action used for that
particular graph. It refers to the positioning and/or directional rotation of each wheel.

AWR.... all wheels right
AWL.... all wheels left
AR.... around right
AL.... around left

Some examples:

AWL (all wheels left)
we're mapping the entire wheel pack with left rotation.

1+2 RA / 3 @ L70
(wheels 1 and 2 right around, w3 at left 70)
here we're mapping wheels 1 & 2 while placing w3 on a known number.

1 park L40 / 2 RA / 3 @ L70
(w1 parked at left 40, w2 right around, w3 at left 70)
from this you can follow the graph knowing that we're attempting to map w2,
while parking w1 in a low area, and placing w3 on a known number.

(some of this shorthand may change over time as I adopt my own style of effeciency)

sidenote: Yesterday, I had my first AUTHENTIC OPENING! An old Yale safe that had not been opened in over a decade.
Took me three sessions and four graphs. But I'll tell you what, it's really somethin' when you feel that lever drop in!!
I have to say the adrenaline left me shaking a bit... whooo!! I'll TRY my best to refrain from posting this manipulation
until it comes time to in it's proper order.... hence the word "chronicles" lol.

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:27 am
by jfw
These posts are extremely helpful to all of us trying to learn this craft. Keep it up! I assume we're all still thirsty for more. :drool:

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:59 am
by Riyame
Gratz man! We must have pics of this Yale!!!!

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:04 am
by GWiens2001
jfw wrote:These posts are extremely helpful to all of us trying to learn this craft. Keep it up! I assume we're all still thirsty for more. :drool:

You ain't just whistling Dixie! I have read over his most recent post about 5 times to make absolutely sure I was clear on what he would be writing later.

Thank you so much for this, Oldfast!


Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:52 pm
by verz
Thanks Oldfast. I am looking forward to this. I have been thinking of safe manipulation and slowly trying to prep my brain for it, their is not much info out there on it so this will be some valuable stuff for people like me.

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:14 am
by Oldfast
Thanks guys for the enthusiasm. Through talking with some of you, I know most of us are all in the same place - at the beginning. lol
I really look forward to learning along with you. And I'm still hoping we can draw in some of the more experienced folk to help us do
that. Certainly, if there's some fairly basic questions that I'm able to help with, I'd love to! At this point, I'll probably have more
questions than answers though. LOL. There's still a great deal I don't know, and alot that I'm rather confused about.

Riyame wrote:Gratz man! We must have pics of this Yale!!!!

You betchya! And you can bet in my excitement I went a little picture crazy with my phone. lol
Lots of pictures to sift through. But I'll certainly post it here. Maybe as manipulation #4 or #5 or so.

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:17 am
by Oldfast
Manipulation #1

(standard ... Group 2 ... 3 wheel ... key change ... spring loaded fence)

First off, I'd like to introduce my girlfriend Alison. And noooo, I did not NAME my lock. lol
In addition to being the love of my life, she is my official (*and certified*) "combo change girl" :D


With an unknown combination.... the excitement begins.


Graph #1 produces the Grand Canyon (kinda hard to miss lol). In addition, there's a questionable area (10-20).
I amplify both areas by taking a reading at every increment (X's and red marker) and find their true centers.

I thought I had found 2 gates in the first graph! Although 10-20 appeared to be a legit gate signature,
further testing of the area revealed nothing convincing enough to run with. So I let it go for now,
and focused on the Grand Canyon. High-low tests determined the gate @ R70 to be on w3.


:???: - :???: - R70 . . . . My next step was to graph wheels 1+2 together while placing w3 on its' known gate:


This graph left little to pursue. My findings up to this point were sound, so
I could only assume that one of the two remaining wheels was masking the other.
My course of action was to park w1 in a low area in hopes of being able to read w2.


This worked. Without the high area on w1 over-shadowing the gate on w2, the outline of a gate appears.
:???: - L91.5 - R70
All that's left to do is run w1 around while placing wheels 2 and 3 on their known numbers. Somewhere within a revolution
of w1 the lock will open... IT DID NOT. I was so close to the opening I had gotten overzealous when I should have still been
graphing. Not only was the lock not open, but I had produced nothing to refer back to in order to try and figure out why.

Up until now I'd been running everything in increments of 2.5. Before investing any more time into graphing,
I thought I'd run w1 around once more, but this time only 2 incs each time before testing the drop-in area.

OPEN: R34 - L91.5 - R70

. . . . . . . . . CONCLUSIONS . . . . . . . . .
Woohoooo!! Lock open.... next contestant please?!! Not quite.
One of the most opportune learning periods is AFTER the lock is open.
With my graphs laid out in front of me... it's time to re-hash some things.

(1) I now know that there's a gate @ 91. Looking at graph#1 (85 - 95), there is some hint of this gate.
Had I a more 'seasoned eye' at the time, would I have investigated this area further? And if I had pursued it,
would I have been able to coax a definitive gate from it with the more refined touch I have now? I think so, yes.

This manipulation occurred some weeks ago, but the dial is still set to the same combo.
I decided to recreate the first graph, doing my best to disregard the known combination.


My sense of touch has certainly improved over time. I also decided to read every 2 increments rather than every 2.5.
If you take a look at this new graph in comparison to the original graph#1, there is indeed a higher resolution. In fact,
there were now 3 areas of interest. I amplified all three areas while using an even lighter touch. As we already knew,
70 showed as a definite gate. 75-80 was ruled out. And our main concern for the test; 91 showed to be a possible gate.
My high-low tests (not pictured here) further proved that 91 was indeed a gate.... and it was on w2.

So I caught 2 of 3 gates in the first graph. Also, had I not known the combination at this point,
I believe my paperwork would've been more than convincing enough for me to roll with it.
This lock would've opened fairly quick, and with no need for a second sheet of paper.

(2) I'm still disturbed that I missed the final gate (@ 34) on w1. Dialing every 2.5 incs landed me on either side of it: 32.5 & 35.
I found that even an extreme amount of oscillation at both these points was insufficient to coax the fence into dropping.
So even if the odds are slim, I can conclude that dialing every 2.5 increments COULD at times, allow for error.

. . . . . . . . . . . . QUESTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . .

(1) How would you have approached this lock? In a similar way? Completely different?
I've really takin' a liking to the idea of first running only w3, but here I stuck with the fundementals.
But, running the entire w-pack also has advantages (ie. finding 2 of the 3 gates the first time through).

(2) INCREMENTS: How often should readings be taken? Every 2 increments, or every 2.5?
I'm assuming the answer to this will also depend upon the lock in question. But after this experience (conclusion #2),
I am leary of going 2.5. I'm also still quite slow, so just one graph is a time investment for me. It's disturbing to think I
could miss something after all that. If I were to take readings at every 2 increments - the cost is 10 additional readings
(50 versus 40). But this way, I not only alleviate my doubts but heighten my accuracy. Seems like an acceptable pay-out.

(3) PARKING: I am VERY interested in your thoughts on how to strategically decide the optimal place to park a wheel.
The more I manipulate the more I realize that my success is often times dependent upon my ability to park.
In graph#3: Why on earth did I choose 70 to park w1 at? Well, I made this decision based on the low area in graph#1.
But isn't this incorrect? That low area seen in graph#1 is the profile of the gate on w3. Since every graph thereafter
has this gate under the fence... it stands to reason this low area may very well be gone. When deciding where to
park w1 for graph#3, shouldn't I have been looking to graph#2 for a low area? (like 42.5 or 50)?

Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:18 am
by GWiens2001
:drool: :drool: :drool: :drool: :drool:

Great work, and very educational. Glad to get more when you are able!

Interesting that the 15-20 area did not prove out. Hmmm.


Re: Oldfast: Safe Chronicles

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:34 am
by femurat
1) similar way.
2) 2.5 it's faster and indicates you where to amplify. (edit: but I often use 2 point increments on last wheel)
3) I may have parked wheel 1 at the center of the low area you found on graph 1 (15).

Well done my friend, it's nice to see you're learning fast!

Cheers :)