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Lock Impressioning - a different kind of lock picking

Posted by Chris Dangerfield on

Hello friends.

UPDATE: 8/8/2016 - Discount code at the end of this article, get your Impressioning tools discounted!

If you don't know, lock impressioning is where you use a blank key to take 'impressions' from the pins in the lock, file down the impressions, repeat until the lock opens. World champion impressioners Jos Weyers and Oli Diederichsen can both do this in under a minute. I know because I have seen them, in the flesh, and it was magic!

lock impressioning

Oli Diederichsen, impressioning

I'm not a world champion lock impressioner. At best I can do a 5 pin lock in under 10 minutes. And that's on a good day. But when you think about it, to be able to open the lock AND provide a working - in under 10 minutes - is pretty good, actually, it's amazing - and YOU can do it too!

Jos Weyers impressioning

All the information is available (Oli's book is The Bible) and the tools are well designed and easy to understand. In fact, for a technique shrouded in so much mystery and with an almost mythological reputation among lock pickers, impressioning is actually a very logical, practical skill. Perhaps the best way to explain it is to look at the tools and describe their function:


There are a variety of Key Grips on the market but we go with the best, the one Jos and Oli use, there's no place for cutting corners with impressioning, and a key grip that holds the key completely tight and fast is essential. Any 'give' in the key grip will affect how you take impressions and you'll soon become frustrated. This is the best.

Framon Key Grip 


Impressioning requires a smooth clean surface on the key to adequately - that is, clearly - take the next set of impressions. Using the wrong type (or badly made) file will mean the key is too rough and either the impressions will not show, or not take. Time and effort of those who have come before mean we know what the right file is. You need a Swiss cut No4 (the numbers refer to the quality of the cut or pattern on the file) which leaves a very clear surface. Glardon Vallorbe make the best files in the world and that's why we use them.

The beautifully smooth Swiss No4 cut Vallorbe file


It is possible to see the impressions with the naked eye. But why not take advantage of a bit of light and magnification. We provide a slick little set of illuminated magnifiers meaning you won't be tilting your key into the light and straining your eyes. Bearing in mind the impressions are a fraction of a millimeter, and are often confused for other little marks on the key, some sort of light and magnification is a great boost In my experience as a supplier, people who purchase impressioning kit go on to purchase magnifiers later.

Illuminated Magnifiers


Knowledge is power - Oli wrote the most lavishly illustrated book on the topic, going into incredible detail and covering impressioning all types of locks including pin cylinder, laser, and dimple. A superb resource that puts you in charge of what you're doing

Oli's incredible book


You can't impression a lock in your hand. Absolutely no way. So unless you have a few old doors with lock in them I really recommend a vice. Our lock pickers vice is designed for lock picking, and will trap the lock fast and tight, precisely what's required for impressioning. Standard vices tend to have the wrong kind of teeth, the wrong shape or material, such as rubber, causing the lock to move about. This will prevent successful impressioning and drive you nuts.

Lock Picker's Vice - perfect for impressioning

Blank keys

People have looked high and wide for brass blanks - such as the classic Yale 1A - as they feel these are better for impressioning. However, I'm not convinced, and nor are Oli and Jos. Standard nickel silver keys work just fine and also prepare you for the types of keys you'll end up working with when out on the job. We supply this set of mixed blanks (see product page for profile details) which will set you up nicely to practice with all manner of locks. A load of industry standard generic 'Universal' blanks are included too.


Lock Pickers Workmat

These are great for all lock pickers, but especially good for Impressioning. Having all your tools on the mat means you can keep things in order, which is essential for impressioning. With your discount code, it's a great time to get one!

LAB workmat.

So, there you go - it's a technique that is waiting for you. Don't be intimidated, get the right tools and the right information and you are ready to go. Imagine how good it would be to be able to impression locks, you can even give your customer a working key - in minutes!

Here's links to all the products mentioned in this blog:

DISCOUNT CODE: Use code treat4me at checkout to save 5% off any impressioning tools. But hurry - this ends in TWO DAYS time 10/08/2016

Alternatively you can see all of our impressioning tools, HERE

If you have any questions or require further information or assistance with impressioning - or any lock picking technique - drop me an email and I'll be happy to help.

Take care


UK Bump Keys Ltd.

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