Three Secret Ways to Open a Locked Door

Mark Burns  —  June 20, 2020 — Leave a comment

Stressful Life!

You grabbed up the phone, bags and documents and headed out the door. You were thinking about the presentation at work you had to give to the district manager. You were thinking about the traffic, the weather and whether or not you had enough petrol to get to the office. You were thinking about everything except the keys to get into your car and get back into your house. 

It happens. It happens more times than you think and people call locksmiths more often than they call the local take-a-way restaurant. Not to fear. There are things you can do. There is a remedy. 

Don’t be ashamed to call for help. Most likely they are going to all do the same things, so why not learn about them and try your hand at them. If you manage to succeed, then good for you. But, if you fail then have your local locksmith on speed dial. 

You have to know what you are trying to do. The first thing to think about is how are you going to get back into the house to get your keys. That is the holy grail of survival at this point. You won’t have the necessary tools and implements the first time. But, possibly after reading this article you will find a place to stash them so you can apply them to your future delimma.   

Understand that we will be addressing a standard pin tumbler lock. This is the style of most of the locks placed in the front door of homes. This lock has two main parts: the bible and the plug. The bible holds the five driver pins which rest on a spring and are uniform in length. The plug holds the key pins which are a variety of heights. 

A pin and tumbler lock works in such a way that allows the key you are using to lift the key pins. When these pins are lifted, they compress the springs and this moves the driver pins up and into the bible. When the key pins and the driver pins are in the bible, the pins have reached something called the shear line. 

The shear line is the gap between the plug and bible. When this area is cleared, this allows the plug to turn thus opening the door. When thinking about unlocking and opening a door with a standard pin tumbler, you must not think of the size of the door or possibly the intricacy of the lock. All you must do is simply get the pins to move in such as way as to release the plug. Easy peasy!


You will only need two tools to pick a lock. You will need a tension wrench and a rake. You probably won’t be able to find these kinds of tools in any big box store, but they may be purchased online. When you purchase, you will be buying a set that will come preset with a few different tools for many applications. (Note: Make sure it is ok with the local authorities to purchase these items and to pick the locks) If there are any laws preventing this, better to leave it to the professional locksmith in your area. Many of the tools that can be purchased can also be created out of household items you may have at hand. 

Insert the tension wrench into the keyhole just like you would a normal key. 

Turn the wrench to decide which way has more give. The way that gives way the most is the way the tension wrench will be turned when the lock is opened. You must apply tension in this same direction during the entire process of picking the lock. 

Insert the rake into the keyhole and place it against the side that touches the key’s teeth. Push and pull the rake in and out, thus raking the lock. 

You are now keeping tension on the tension wrench and raking the lock at the same time. 

You must attempt different ways to move the rake such as wiggling, vibrating, moving in and out in a variety of directions and way. 

You must attempt these movements until all of the pins reach the shear line. When you feel all of the pins at the shear line, twist the tension wrench just like you would a key. 

The lock should open.


If you find you have no facility or skill to pick a lock using the picking methods explained, you can try “bumping” the lock to open it. You will need a bump key to accomplish this method. You can buy one and you will need one that matches the brand and model of your standard lock. 

You will need a key blank, a file and the key of the lock you are bumping. 

Measure the depth of the key or the deepest groove. Measure the distance between each groove.

File the maximum depth at each point where a groove will naturally occur. If you have done these steps correctly so far, you should have something that looks like a saw blade. You will want to file the new teeth so that they match a 90 degree angle. It will also be required to sand the teeth so there are no rough edges. 

The next step in the process is to remove the “stop point” of the key. This is the part that aligns it and prevents it from going any deeper into the key hole. 

You will now have to fill the space between the front of the lock and the bow. You must fill it with rubber or a spring. 

Understand that the “bumping” process is similar to the movement you did while picking. The pins will have to be moved the same way. The only difference is that the bumping action moves all the keys at the same time. With each successive bump, the key will move the pins to the shear line. 

You may strike the key with a rubber hammer. You must turn the key as the key is being struck. This will turn the bible and open the door. 


This is a process that requires the use of a drill that is either manual or electric and several differenet sized drill bits. Understand that this method will destroy the lock. This procedure requires you to start with a smaller bit and gradually move to bigger ones. You increase the size of the bit until the pin and tumbler are destroyed. 

The process is the simplest of the three discussed here. Place the drill bit on the side of the lock where the teeth of the key would be. Drill through this area by applying steady and consistent pressure on the drill bit. 

When you have drilled through the complete depth of the keyhole, you may use a flat head screwdriver to turn the lock and open it. That is it! Job done!

Your Local Locksmith

Most of the time, your local locksmith will use these methods to unlock a door unless the system you have is keyless or relies on some sort of technology to open. When you call your locksmith, you will notice they are well practiced in these methods and will have the job done in no time. 

If you know you just can’t tackle this sort of thing and it is well beyond your ability, don’t hesitate to call me. My name is Mark. I can open many different kinds of locks and get you back to your day. 

Contact me at 07866 522422. 

belfast locksmiths

Mark Burns


Locksmith Situated in Belfast Northern Ireland over 20 years experience fast efficient and affordable

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