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Went to get a new impressioning file today and the counter guy seemed surprised I wanted one. He told me impressioning is so old school nobody does it now. I impressioned keys for three motorcycles yesterday in the shop, no more than 5 minutes a piece. I doubt taking the lock apart, drilling roll pins would come close to that time. Today I impressioned keys to a switch on a German milling machine, literally took a minute. These locks do not come apart, so short of impressioning how could someone make keys when no codes or even a lock manufacturer is known?
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- Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:29 pm
- Location: Orlando
Don't be swayed by ignorant people. Impressioning is one of the most useful and valuable tools in the locksmith tool box. I rank it above picking, which might sound like blasphemy to a lot LP 101 people. Picking only opens a lock- impressioning "completes" a lock, makes it whole and useful again. After picking, one needs to still make a key or replace the lock, to do as much as impressioning does. Good luck to you .
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- Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:05 am
- Location: South Illinois
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.
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- Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:11 pm
- Location: India
Thanks for the useful info, I have been trying to do impressioning but have been unsuccessful up to now. There seem to be a limited number of people that have mastered this technique in my region. I hope to make this work and be able to offer our customers the service.
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- Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:02 am
- Location: Moncton, NB, Canada
Did my first key impressioning the other day, looks like I may have found a new hobby to refine.
I used a set of M1 depth keys, key cutter, blanks, blue sharpie, and a magnifying glass.
Marking the blank before first cut and inserting into lock and turning then jiggling, pulling etc. to leave marks.
Then cutting to next depth if a mark is left on each space for the 4 tumblers was not that hard at least on a Master #34 that uses a M1 blank, as I progressed to each depth it was easy to see which pins were binding and it only took 2 keys to accomplish as I was a little rough on the first one so I copied that one and continued. Once the 2nd on worked I gauged it and cut the final key with depth keys (poor mans code cutter). Trying a Master 900 series 5-pin commercial type puck lock and almost got it but I need some more blanks, maybe hardware store???
Impessioning using this method seems easy at least on masterlocks brand padlocks :)
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- Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 9:56 am
[quote="jos weyers"] Mr. Diederichsen is a true sportsman, and a great teacher. I highly recommend his book. (which HAS been translated into English)[/quote]
Can someone give me an adress of where I can get this book in Europe?
Looks great. I think the graphics can help allot to recognise the markings.
If anyone haves any graphics of impressioing markings, please let me know:)
Found some on google but I want to see some more :P
This one is great!:http://www.toool.nl/blackbag/images/uv- ... -step6.jpg
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- Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:43 pm
- Location: Amsterdam
There's a lot of satisfaction when u impression a lock or there was for me anyway :)
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- Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:55 pm
For what it's worth I think impressioning is half of the art of lock picking, too--it's all about opening locks (non-destructively), but picking can be sporadically successful even after a lock has been opened the first time. Once you impression a lock, though, access is guaranteed at every subsequent attempt. I'm only a few months in to my lockpicking journey but I thought I'd throw in my two sense.
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- Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:50 am
- Location: Sarasota, FL
http://blackbag.nl/wp-content/uploads/2 ... t-turn.jpg
This is a great thread, very helpful as I have only recently begun learning how to impression. Above is a link to a very cool device that I made a simple jerry-rigged version of. It uses sharp steel pins to make marks in the blank before you put it in the lock (that way you can file the markings off and have your spacing down good and know where the marks will start out at.) It is meant to make things go quicker, but it also makes things easier for a beginner like me.
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- Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:25 am
This is my first post so go easy on me.
I have read this whole thread on impressioning and thought I'd add another one to the mix.
I have been a locksmith for over 23 years and run my own business.
I first was introduced to impressioning in my 2nd year and thought it was a great art to learn.
I was handed a small paperbback book and took it home and indulged the information.
One of the people I worked with was like a god to me and I still rate him highly as he could insert a hook pick into a lock and flick the wafers inside the keyhole and then file up a key that would be inserted and work first go! To say the least I was impressed.
He did this mostly with disc locks very easily and I soon learnt how to do this.
It is a matter of inserting the pick and lifting all the wafers to full height and listening for the click as you let them drop. The louder the click the deeper the cut. There were typically 5 discs with 3 depths in the easier locks. Most car locks can be done this way aswell.
Moving on and cutting it short, most disk locks and even pin tumbler locks can be read this way and that is one method to use before impressioning and has not yet been mentioned.
Another method is reading the locks by visually looking at each disc at they are dropped from rear to front. Then a key is made quick and easy if you are familiar with the space and depths of the particular lock. The larger the wafer the deeper the cut. Many types of wafer locks can be done in this way. Although a lot of newer locks, visually all the wafers sit at th same depth.
I once made a reader to read the size of the pins in a pin tumbler (usually the smaller pins size 0-4 could be read)that was basically a broken pick ground down to a fine point at the tip with very fine markings along the blade to tell me what size they were. This could be inserted into the lock between the top and bottom pins to measure the gap and determine what length the bottom pin was. Obviously if the pin was size 5-9 the top of the bottom pin sat above the top of the key broach and could not be felt but at least you knew it was not one of the shallow cuts. These locks can also give an indication of the depth of the cut by listening to the sound of the click when released and also by simply lifting the pins and visually examining them individually.
Also picking the lock to an open position first and then reading the pins while the keyhole is in the turned position will give you a great indication of the depths of each cut will be.
These last few techniques can be quite useful for the stubborn locks to impression.
In saying all of that here's my techniques on how to impression pin tumbler locks in a nutshell.
1. Firtsly file the top of the blade until a smooth edge appears. A 4" 2nd cut warding file is what i use. The best way i have found for a quick clean smooth surface is at the last stage of preparing this edge rub the file left and right across the blade a few times.
2. To get the spacing I then insert the key and with a small hammer or block of wood lightly tap the upper front side of the key head. Once all pins have marked using the tip of an impressioning/rats tail file, make very shallow cuts in the key not much wider than 1mm. Now you are ready to start.
I use either an impressioning gun, small hand vice or vice grips depending on the lock i'm dealing with.
3. My method is to insert the key, apply and hold turning force clockwise and pull the key outwards of the lock(not so much that it comes out more than 1mm or so) and then repeat anti-clockwise if needed. Also the larger the key the more force you can apply without the chance of snapping the key head off. Smaller keys like small padlocks are thinner and require a lot more attention to the turning pressure to avoud key breakage.
4. Marks should appear like small gouges in the cuts. If it marks file it down a depth and if it doesn't then leave it. Sometimes dirty locks need to have the key cleaned with a rag before you can read the cuts.
The most important thing I stress is DO NOT GUESS! If there is not a certain marking do not file it.
Repeat the process, key in, turn and pull, inspect and file until you have a working key.
Again, don't guess and practice with patience is the key....literally! HA!
With wafer locks the same key prep in step 1 is done but then the key is inserted turned and lifted up or down to create a mark. This is easy with a sloppy keyway where the key has a little play to wiggle up and down. If there is no play and it is a tight keyway like some new or less used locks, you can file out some of the keys broaching if needed to creat a sloppy fitting key to help marking it.
I did used to file my blades with a sharp top edge but not so much these days. It does help as there us less material to contact the pins and will mark more easily, but I find it a little harder to find the lighter marks.
I also tried blackening with a flame or using marker pens but not with great success.
There are many points that I did not comment on from this thread and some I have temporarily forgotton but understand that if they work for you then stick with it.
I would be happy to give my opinion on any technique and look forward to any questions that I get thrown.
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- Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 7:25 pm
- Location: Sydney, Australia
I forgot to mention that some people find an ultraviolet light helps. i tried it many years ago with a very cheap uv light but at the time I was already quite good at reading the marks without it. I would be keen to know what others have used it and what their thoughts are on the subject.
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- Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 7:25 pm
- Location: Sydney, Australia
I have "Martin Pink's impressioning Tool Kit". It comes with an impressioning handle, hex wrench for the handle, and a magnifier/light supply. The magnifier is large and easy to use, has a slit in the side through which you put the impressioned key for reading that allows you 360 degrees rotation in view the key, and has two light sources - white LED and UV, selectable by the flick of a switch. The UV light can help with hard to find marks.
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