There's not many 'celebrities' in the lock picking game, but Dutchman Jos Weyers has captured the imagination of lock pickers everywhere. Not just because he is an absolute unit, as wide as he is tall, and often wearing a kilt, but because he has remarkable Impressioning skills. If you don't know, impressioning is a lock picking technique where you start with a blank key and a lock, and end up with the lock open AND a working key. Sound good? Well, I've had the pleasure of meeting Jos, and I've seen him impression brand new locks, out of the packet - in LESS THAN A MINUTE!
Yes, you read that right. With enough practice YOU can go to a lock, with a blank key and have that lock open and a working key in LESS THAN A MINUTE!
He's won countless Impressioning competitions, including World Champion a couple of times, and when I asked him how he developed such an amazing skill, he answered: "I locked myself in a room with a 1000 blanks and a lock." which I believed. And when you see the look of other worldly determination in his eyes, you'll believe him too.
Here Jos explains his process, so you too can become a lock picking Uber Genius....
You've probably seen lock picking explained on several "hacky" websites. You
might even have tried it yourself. But what if you need to open a lock a number of times? Wouldn't it be great to have an opening technique that would supply you with a working key in the process? A method to do this has existed for quite some time, but until some years ago it has remained quite unknown. Impressioning locks got "re-invented" by the lock pick community and the skill evolved to the level now shown at several international championships. What is it? How does it work? What skill is involved? Why is it the most interesting way to open a lock? These questions, and more will be answered now.
Step 1: Blank Key
To start of you need a blank, uncut key that fits in the lock. Preferably it should be brass, but other materials do work.
During the impressioning process, we will need to search for tiny marks on the surface of the key. As you can see in the picture the untreated surface is rather rough, so marks will be hard to see.
Step 2: Prepping Key
A quick swipe with a file will take the toplayer off.
If your file is too fine, the surface will become too shiny. (which will be a bad thing in one of the next steps)
I recommend a Swiss cut #4 file for this step
Step 3: Smoothed Blank Key
The idea of this step is to get a consistent surface (preferably non-shiny). This will make it WAY easier to recognize the marks, or 'impressions'
Step 4: Getting Initial Marks
While applying a moderate turning force on the key, rock the key up-and-down.
Turn the key in the other direction and repeat the rocking motion.
Using too much force WILL break your key. Using too little won't produce marks. Practice makes perfect.
Make sure you have back-up blanks - at first, you'll need them.
Applying just enough force will probably not work bare-handed.
There's many Impressioning grips available.
Step 5: Identifying Initial Marks
Using a magnifying aid will help tremendously in identifying marks. If marks are hardly visible, changing the angle of the key can make a huge difference.
Step 6: Filing the First Cuts
On the spots where marks are visible, remove some material.
Try to leave sooth surfaces in the valleys you are creating.
Step 7: Rinse, Repeat
Put the key in the lock again and repeat the turn-and-rocking motion described earlier.
After examining the key you might find marks in the valleys you just created, or on new spots.
File those spots.
Step 8: More Rinse, More Repeat
Keep repeating this process.
At some point you might see "crater marks"; marks that are WAY bigger. These marks don't always occur, but when they do they indicate that cut is almost at the correct depth. Be careful not to file away too much material!
Step 9: Success
If done correctly, all of a sudden your key will turn! This will either mean you broke your key or .... SUCCESS !!
You have created a working key. If this key won't turn smoothly, check for cratermarks and remove a tiny bit of material.
Step 10: More Info...
Unlike lockpicking, impressioning creates a fully working key for the
lock which can be used to lock and unlock the cylinder at will. With practice, this technique can consistently open a lock in 10-15 minutes (and potentially faster)!
Jos's friend Oliver Diederichsen wrote THE BOOK on Impressioning, which you can buy HERE. It contains loads of photographs, in-depth instructions, and how to impression door locks, car locks, dimple locks, and more.
Written by Jos Weyers and edited for UK Bump Keys Ltd by Chris Dangerfield
Photos: Dennis van Zuijlekom
Happy Impressioning people!