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TUCoPS :: Physical Security :: sanlock3.txt

Lock Picking File From Sanctuary

Sanctuary ----------------< The Lockpicking Series >--------------------- S
Sanctuar --------------------------------------------------------------- Sa
Sanctua ------------------------< Chapter 3 >-------------------------- San
Sanctu --------------------------------------------------------------- Sanc
Sanct -------------------< Written by Havok Halcyon >---------------- Sanct
Sanc --------------------------------------------------------------- Sanctu
San --------------< From the HELLFIRE Bulletin Board System >------ Sanctua
Sa --------------------------------------------------------------- Sanctuar
S ----------------------< And the City of Sanctuary >------------ Sanctuary

HELLFIRE BBS -  908-495-3926

Sanctuary is always looking for new writers, dist. sites, and couriers

  E-Mail either:

Red - Sysop of Hellfire, World Head Quarters of Sanctuary, or
Havok Halcyon - Chief Editor and Co-Founder of Sanctuary

 if you are interested in becoming any of the above.  Both people can be
reached on Hellfire BBS.

-=>                 FUTILE AND POINTLESS DISCLAIMER                    <=-
-=>                                                                    <=-
-=>       Yes, I've included yet another WONDERFUL disclaimer in        <=-
-=>       this new phile.  Even though I think these things are        <=-
-=>       quite futile and pointless (see title), I have chosen        <=-
-=>       to put one in because I'm going to assume (like other        <=-
-=>       writers) that they serve SOME purpose. Even though by        <=-
-=>       the g'ments actions, it would appear that I am wrong.        <=-
-=>       So here goes....  Don't pick..uh..locks..yea, locks..        <=-
-=>       Breaking and entering is VERY illegal, so don't do it        <=-
-=>       because you will risk years in prison and heavy fines        <=-
-=>       if you attempt it and are CAUGHT.  The info contained        <=-
-=>       herein is for informational purposes ONLY so that you        <=-
-=>       can all better yourselves and become well rounded and        <=-
-=>       intelligent.  NOT, I repeat, NOT so that you can have        <=-
-=>       the ability to break into things and steal stuff. OK?        <=-
-=>                                                                    <=-

PLEASE, feel free to distribute this phile all over the continental United
States as well as the rest of the world (If you're in that international
kinda mood).      ...


     Within this brand new, (or real old phile, depending on when you
get/read it) we're gonna discuss part 5, Lever Tumbler Locks.  Part 6,
which will involve Pin Tumbler Locks, like the locks used in car doors, was
supposed to be here, but was pushed back slightly due to schedule changes.
It WILL be in the next phile of the series however..

     Since I won't be compiling any other works into this chapter, it will
be a bit smaller than the previous philes, but hopefully just as good.  If
you missed the first two, they can be had from Hellfire, as well as any
other SANctuary philes.  We'll start off with a little introduction to
Lever Locks...  A word of warning.  If you haven't read the first two
philes, I would recommend you reading them before this one, or at least
reading them sometime in the near future.  I have written these philes in a
way so that people who have already read my older philes, do not have to
deal with re-reading things they already know.

- PART 5 -                 Lever Tumbler Locks

     The next type of lock we will be covering in this series is going to
be the lever lock.  Even though it is not seen too often, we wouldn't want
you to be dumbfounded the few times you do run into it.  Technically, this
was the next lock developed after the warded lock, it was in fact made to
replace the warded lock, so you can assume that they are fairly alike.


     A place where you WILL see this lock would be safety deposit boxes.
But, since it is incredibly hard to pick when it is being used as a lock on
a safety deposit box, most locksmith's use a "nose puller" to open the
lock.  This involves screwing a sheet metal screw into the key way of the
box and pulling the door off the box.  Some places where you will also find
lever locks would be older office equipment, chests, cabinets, luggage
locks, etc.  Some early mortise locks are lever locks also.


     Lever locks have a unique look to them.  They are a slot cut into the
face of a metal cylinder with a matching slot on the collar or the lock

              -         -
             -           -
             -     []    []  <--- sometimes additional slots are cut
             -     []    -        in the collar
              -    [] <--- Keyway

Figure 1: Lever Lock Keyway View

     This cylinder or barrel or thimble or nose rises above the mounting
surface, usually.  It is unusual in the way that the face is free to rotate
even when the key is not inserted.  The key, once inside the cylinder,
usually moves the boltwork directly, just like warded locks.

The Keys

     The keys that are used to open these locks are often called flat keys.
Why?  Because that is exactly what they are.  They are flat stamped keys
with no side warding cuts whatsoever.  The one cut they have, called the
throat cut, is near the bow of the key.  The key has varying rectangular
depths near the tip that move the retainers to their varied height in the

Time for Operation

     As stated before, lever locks are much like disc tumbler locks.  So,
as in disc locks, the disc is the varying heights mechanisms while in lever
locks it is the lever mechanism.  Here the lever is moved to varying
heights against a spring by a key, and then the bolt stump is free to be
pushed through the aligned slots in the interior of levers from one cutout
area to another.

     In a lever lock, the key engages the bolt just as it would disks in
disc lock.  But in a lever lock, the key elevates the tumblers by rotation
not my being shoved into a lock like a disc tumbler (figures 2 &3).

               |  |__
               |     |__
_______________|        |

Figure 2:  Key Blade (end of key) of a Lever Lock Key
|                                  |
|            __________            |<---(as you turn key, this entire lever
|___________|    +     |___________|     moves up.)

Figure 3:  Lever in a lever lock.

     Notice the shape of the key end.  By the way, with this type of lock,
the key end will always consist of rectangular cuts and no wedge profiles.
You would insert the key into the lock on its side so that it lies flat.
The small area marked with a plus (figure 3.  The plus means nothing, it is
only a marker.)  is where the key would be inserted into.  (The lever,
figure 3, is inside the lock.)  As you turn the key, you would lift up the
lever bar just as you would be lifting up a disk.

     The cylinder itself holds the key at the proper height in relationship
to the levers and rotates the key on an axis.  The tumblers will come in
stacks of two, three, all the way up to fifteen.  Each tumbler having a
common pivot point and an individual spring.  So when the key reaches is
TDC (top dead center)  it lifts each tumbler to its correct height based on
the levels and depths of each key bitting as well as the levels of the
gates (the area cutout on the bottom of the lever).  If you have been
following closely, you should be able to realize that this type of lock is
much the same as a disc but uses retangular cuts and levers instead of
wedge cuts and discs.

     One small note to remember is that all lever locks of simple design
are dead locks.

     For picking a lever lock, a new type of technique is used,
individually lifting each tumbler to its proper height.  The tension
wrenches for these locks are different from the ones used to pick disk
tumbler locks, (figure 4) and have slight size differences.  In lever locks
that are most common use that type of tension wrench.


Figure 4: Lever Lock Tension Wrench

     The part of the wrench marked "A" is the part that changes.  It's
length may differ from wrench to wrench depending upon the lock it is meant
to pick.  The "A" dimension is the correct size if the wrench corresponds
to the length of the key from cylinder cut to tip.  If the "A" dimension is
any longer than that, you will not get proper pick manipulation.  You can
usually buy a set somehow which generally will have four or five different
sizes.  You CAN try making your own, but I don't recommend it.  If you
absolutely must make your own, try bending one from .040 music wire and
then grinding each side flat.  As for lifters, your normal set that works
disc and pin tumblers will also work for levers.

     The basic idea behind lever tumbler picking is to apply unlocking
tension on the bolt, which makes the stump bear against the inner edge of
the locked position cutout.  After you have tension, a lockpicker will use
a lifter pick to raise each individual gate until it is lined up with the
stump.  The one to begin picking with is the gate in the back of the lock.
When the gate and stump and gate align, the stump and gate will make
contact, and the gate will catch on the stump.  As long as tension is not
released, the tumbler will be held in an unlocked position, even if the
lifting pressure is removed.  The feel of the two contacting should be
quite noticeable, you might even hear it.  You might also notice the
tension wrench jump slightly when this occurs.  You could feel a little
lessening of resistance, which will come back right away if you over lift.

WARNING:  do not over lift any tumbler, because this will mean that you
will have to start over.  This is a very common, and pain in the butt
mistake.  Some locks even have a little thing inside of them that detects
over lifting, and will permanently lock the lock if triggered.

     After you have lifted the first tumbler, the one furthest back,
proceed to the next one, going from back to front.  You may notice a slight
lessening in tension here, or may not.  The feel of the tumblers entering
their gates will feel less and less as you go.  After all the tumblers are
lined up, the bolt moves, unlocking the lock.

     Here is something that you should watch out for.  In some locks, they
make the cuts in the tumblers at extreme degrees.  Meaning that in one
tumbler they will cut it as deep as possible, while in the next, they will
cut it as shallow as possible.  This, by the way, is not possible with disk
or pin tumbler locks.  This is very good security because it becomes very
difficult to lift one tumbler high enough without touching or causing
misalignment with the other tumbler.  So, one thing to expect with some
lever tumbler locks is a high-low-high-low-high etc. combination on good

     Another thing is to always remember that over lifting is fatal.  The
only way to get the over-lifted tumbler back down is to release tension,
which will probably cause all other tumblers to drop as well.  Also, if a
tumbler drops down right after you finish lifting it, go immediately back
to it.  And don't forget to go from back to front, since they usually bind
strongest in back, getting weaker as you get closer to the front.

     In a closing note for lever locks, let me just add that often you will
come to what appears to be a small lever lock which is in actuality, merely
a warded lock with a spring retainer that must be lifted before the bolt
can be moved.  Now while the amount of lifting you do to a retainer is not
critical, for a lever lock it would be.

----------                                                       ----------

     This concludes the chapter on lever locks. If you are somewhat
unclear, don't worry 'cause chances are low that you will see a lever lock.
This section was added so that you can have a complete working knowledge of
lockpicking if you are ever called upon to use it.

  So that ends this chapter of lockpicking. Next will be chaper 4, pin
tumbler locks.  And possibly more, depending upon how lazy I am..  So I
sign off saying...

<><><><><><> Maturity is Flushing the Toilet When You Are Done. <><><><><>

Have I used that before?  (oh, and thanks Gary..In
                           case you ever read this)

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