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Bumping locks - the Bump Key and the Dampener.

Posted by Chris Dangerfield on

Hello Lock Pickers

It is with some pride that I write this blog. I invented using Dampeners with bump keys. There, I said it. At the end of this blog I've Embedded a video, a pretty bad quality one too - cos things were different then, it was ELEVEN YEARS ago, and I borrowed the webcam from the only lad in my town who had one. It looks like Lego it's so pixelated, but it ads to the charm, a little!


2007 - That's a long time ago, and I know you won't find older.


You will not find a single mention of Dampeners, or 'donuts', or 'rings' or various other names people have given them, anywhere else before this video. This was the first mention of them anywhere. Pretty cool, eh?

The reason they came about was because I was struggling with the conventional bump key and bumping technique. The shoulder of the key would whack into the bit above the keyway, damaging it, and the tip of the key would whack into the back of the lock. Somewhere between that you would hope to bump the lock, which happened, occasionally.


My beautiful - and devastatingly effective bump keys. Notice the shoulders are removed and the three different bumping patterns cut into the keys.

What was frustrating about this 'whacking' wasn't only the damage it did to the lock, but also that you had to reset the bump key, every time you struck it. Think about that. An average successful bumping will take around 20 strikes. You occasionally get it first time, but on average twenty strikes. That's twenty times you have to remove the key, reset the pins, insert the key, pull it out a little bit and strike again. Not only is that exceptionally dull, it takes lots of time, it hurts your wrist, and also, you'll almost certainly get a couple of blood blisters when you miss and hit your finger, which you do, believe me.


There you go! Perfect! The best Bump Key available and the best dampeners available. Give it a tap, and bingo! It's open.


So how did I work it out? I wanted something to correctly space the bump key, it isn't a question of just inserting they key and hoping, you need to have it so all the peaks on the key are directly in front of the pins in the lock. This isn't always easy to work out, and again, annoying as Hell having to do it each time. I started by putting a pencil eraser between the key and the lock. Shaving it down with a razor to get it right. But that brought problems as each lock was different, AND the shoulder of the key made it impractical.

I realized I needed to remove the shoulder from the bump key. This is a laborious and time consuming thing to do - and the reason most bump keys still come with a shoulder - even when sold with Dampeners (because they don't know what they're talking about). It's easy to throw a load of blanks into a machine and turn out a load of bump keys with shoulders. Whereas to hand grind off the shoulder, then hand deburr and polish the ground shoulder takes time, takes manual work. Which most chancers don't want to do.

Having removed the shoulder the rest was easy - find some rubber rings that could take the whacking, find them in different widths so you could use different combinations to get the correct spacing for every lock, and find the ones with just the right amount of 'spring' to ensure the lock would be bumped, and the key would be reset.


A Bump Hammer - these didn't exist back then. We used to make them from meter long steel rulers, which we painted and attached a door-stop to the end. One of our loyal customers still uses his, and told me the measurements are starting to show through! 11 years use isn't bad though!


We went through literally hundreds, me and the team here, before finalizing the perfect set. A big black silicone grommet, and a couple of different width silicone washers. Having tried all the available variations, these are by far the best dampeners on the market, they are what I use and I bump locks for breakfast.

There you go. Nearly 12 years ago I changed the way we bump locks. We still make the best bump keys, 3 different bumping patterns in our 3pc set to tackle different types of pins, different states of pins (old, new, loose, tight, etc) and of course, no shoulders. And then we added Dampeners, a technique now used the world over. So yes, I am proud of this, and I am proud that a zillion more locks have been successfully bumped because of it.

So, grab some bump keys, some dampeners and a bump hammer and relax, knowing you're buying from the best, the people who redefined what bumping is, and start opening more locks!


3pc Bump Key Set

6pc Bump Key Set

19pc Bump Key Set


Bump Hammers

Bump Key Sets

Bumping Technique Book


Best Wishes

Chris Dangerfield

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