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Raking - Rapid Lock Picking for Beginners

Posted by Chris Dangerfield on


Rapid Lock Picking for Beginners

A UPVC Eurocylinder opened with a Wriggler Rakes. (customer Photo)


Hello all

Man I'm tired. Is that how life works? You have more of a laugh than you deserve for the first thirty years and then you're exhausted until you meet your maker? Maybe it's just me. Perhaps I'll stop eating cake for lunch and join a gym. Perhaps. There's other ways to get through in life when you're permanently exhausted. Save time. Do things that are efficient. If you can hang a picture quickly, you're standing for half the time. Solving problems quickly is also just cool. The only slow-motions in action films are car-crashes, and no one wants that as a metaphor for their life. Things happening quickly is so god on so many levels. And so no surprise that our shared indulgence lock picking has it's car-chase. Yes, lock picking has it's super-fast, lightning speed, technique. It's called RAKING and to do it we use 'Lock Rakes', or just 'Rakes'. We've got a whole section just for rakes right HERE have a look.

My own SOHOS - beautiful and incredibly effective on many locks. The handle of the one you're not using is the Tension Tool


Raking is so easy to learn and so effective that in my experience most lock pickers will rake open a lock without even knowing how they did it. It's the accidental technique we learn when we first fiddle around with a pick and a wrench in a lock. Before we've even heard about the more advanced Single Pin Picking, the binding effect and other mysteries, a lot of us would have opened a lock or two - by raking - without even knowing it. Add a bit of experience, and a bit of knowledge, and it's not uncommon to rake open a lock in seconds.

There are slightly more advanced raking techniques which I won't go into here, but there's lots more to learn than what I'll write here, if it piques your interest, there's plenty out there on this technique. And there's plenty of VIDEOS on our individual product pages for all of our rakes, so you can see them in action.


The incredible Bogotas. Shiny, simple, and devastating. Three ASEC padlocks humiliated!


To rake a lock you'll need some rakes. My favourites are without doubt the wriggler rakes, but a set of rakes can cost you as little as about a fiver - the world famous Bogota Rakes, or my own design the SOHOS. They're all amazing and proven on many, many locks. We've got loads of rakes, have a look at the videos for each one, you'll see a few techniques, and get a good idea of how it works.

You need a tension tool to rake a pin tumbler lock. There are rakes for wafer locks where you can get away without one, and Jigglers - which I guess is related to raking - can be used without. But I suggest you get a tension tool, pop it in then a select a rake from your set. The more rakes, the more 'patterns' you have to try. The pattern is the way the rake is shaped to produce different responses from the pins when moved around in the lock. You can tell they are all basically variations on the shape of a key. Some more complex, some more obscure - something like the Wave Rakes could be lined up against keys and not look dissimilar at all. put a bit of tension in the wrench, a tiny bit, we're dealing with mm's of metal here, be gentle on that wrench. If you have a decent wrench, you'll know when to apply more pressure, it will tel you. And then move your rake in and out. At varying speeds, at varying angles - if possible. And gently increase and decrease the tension. Sometimes I will 'pulse' the tension tool in time with the in and out of the rake. What you're trying to do is trick the lock that's it's all happening at once. By getting all the top pins to sit on the ledge, like they would if the right key was inserted - raking is trying to mimic the right key, by offering variations over time.We're back to talking about time. I should have been a watchmaker. Anyway, in a certain position, and with a certain amount of tension, one of the pins is going to 'set' - that means it's going to sit on the shearline, the little ledge we have created between the plug and housing. Without any tension, this couldn't happen. But using the tension wrench has turned the plug a fraction of a mm, meaning there's now a ledge. If the split between the two pin reaches the shearline, it might have an opportunity to sit up there. If the rake has managed to raise the pin stack to the right level, it will - if the tension is right. Moving the rake in and out and varying the tension causes, one by one, the splits in the pins to hit the shearline and sit on the ledge. When they've all done it, the pressure you're still putting on the wrench, will turn it and open the lock. Well done! You have raked your first lock. Now I am aware. I'm aware this is complicated and confusing, but I thought I'd try. You see, I could have easily said, apply tension with a wrench, move the rake in and out. Raking is as simple as it is subtle. It's as brash as it is delicate. But watch our videos, I'm in a couple of you want proof that I don't know how to shave.  


Close-up of the 20 different rake patterns from the Wave Rake sets. Tough picks, big range, low price and they laugh at locks all night long.


As I said earlier, there are some more advanced raking methods, and you can rake with standard picks such as the hook, and the half-diamond. But 'real' rakes do a far better job as they were designed for it. Most sets have a few rakes in, some sets -  like the Custom SouthOrd set they put together to my specs -  is about half and half rakes and picks, with and a good selection of tension tools too. Have a look if you're thinking about getting started. A set like that will last you for years.

Give raking a go - I've been at this game over a decade and I'll still get my rakes out first when approaching a pin cylinder lock that needs picking. If you want to read more about the different picks available, there's a great blog HERE where you can find out all the beginner needs to know before making a selection. Have a look HERE for a nice blog about all the different types of techniques and tools, and what they're all for.

Feel free to link to any of my blogs, and if they've helped, great stuff!

Now go rake some locks.....

(Thank you to the customers who supplied some of the photos, I get sent so many, I try and Tweet them all - but keep them coming, I love them!


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