If you’re starting out in your locksmith training, the number of tools out there can seem daunting. With so many varieties of locks and their technical specifications evolving all the time, it’s essential that a locksmith has a range of tools to hand to make sure they’ve got the right ones for the job. Here, we’ve listed some of the most common locksmith tools which are essential to have in your arsenal.
Bump keys is a very common locksmith tool and most locksmiths will have multiple variations in their toolbox. The clue is in the name with this type of tool and a bump key looks similar to a key. They are specially cut with a series of grooves which are designed to gradually force the pins in a pin cylinder lock to move, until the key is fully inserted and the lock can be opened. For an experienced locksmith, bump keys are a quick and easy way to open many types of locks.
Like the bump key, a lock pick is a popular locksmith tool which comes in multiple variations. When used in combination with a tension wrench (see below), lock picks push pins in the cylinder up in order to unlock it. Lock picks look similar to dental tools, with long metal handles and a pick end which varies depending on the type.
There are several varieties of lock picks, with arguably the most useful being the hook pick, which has a hook-like end and can be used to pick pins one at a time. Another common type is the half-diamond, which has a small, triangular shape at the end with angled sides. It can be used in a similar way to the hook pick but offers more flexibility in how much control the locksmith has over it due to the varying angles.
The next most popular type is the rake pick, which has a long, jagged edge and is used by jiggling it in the lock until the shear points align. Rake picks can be very useful and are also the easiest to use, but tend to work best on older locks.
Ball and double ball picks are also widely used and are most effective on wafer locks. A locksmith will usually try a ball pick first, before switching to a double ball if that doesn’t work. Ball picks are used by placing the end on a pin and moving it around until the locksmith feels a click.
The tension wrench is an essential locksmith tool and is used in conjunction with lock picks. The most common tension wrenches are L-shaped and are inserted into the bottom of a lock to ensure the pins do not fall down when they are pushed into the shear point.
Pick guns come in both manual and electric varieties and offer a fast way to pick a lock. To use a pick gun, a locksmith pulls a trigger which engages a fast-moving pick to open the lock.