My short bio: locksmith based in sheffield, England. Happy to answer any questions.

My Proof:

Edit: home security advice available at

Edit: Thanks for all the questions, I'm off to bed now but will try to answer more in the morning.

Comments: 1839 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

Mr_Murdoc1614 karma

How long did it take you to get your lock picking to 100?

Pre_locks841 karma

how do you mean 100?

TheMahatma997 karma

Who are you? How did you get in here?

Pre_locks1737 karma

i'm a locksmith, and i'm a locksmith :-)

capitainawesome476 karma

Do you carry your house/shop keys around or do you just pick the locks?

Pre_locks796 karma

keys. it not as quick to pick a lock as the films make out.

billbillbilly180 karma

Or rather, a locksmith is likely to use locks that are not easily picked. =)

Pre_locks449 karma

I couldn't pick the lock on my door, it's too good, i'd have to drill it

Troll_Man24338 karma

How do I pick a lock?

Pre_locks643 karma

For obvious reasons I cant explain exactly how it is done. Plenty of people pick locks just for a hobby and there's lots of tutorials on you tube. But basically, if its a pin lock you use a pick to set all the pins one by one to the position each would be in if they were been pushed down by the key. A tension wrench is used to keep the set pins in place and when all are set correctly the lock will open.

madeyouangry125 karma

But... you just went on and described exactly how it's done?!

Pre_locks267 karma

its not as straight forward as that though, you need to know what your feeling for.

Rotom-W306 karma

Do you ever use your locksmithing talents for use outside work?

Pre_locks519 karma

not for anything illegal, abusing been a locksmith can land you in more trouble than the average burglar.

riotgirlckb243 karma

strangest situation you have been called to?

Pre_locks460 karma

to fix a door after an off duty cop had kicked it open cos his teenage daughter was inside with a guy or gong to a break in and realizing the burglars were hiding upstairs still.

riotgirlckb173 karma

geezus that would have been fucked haha what did you do when you found the burglars?

Pre_locks725 karma

the police were there and found them so they went straight to jail and didn't pass go.

paplan196 karma


Pre_locks182 karma

where are you from? I'm in England so locks available might be different.

Pre_locks175 karma

I very rarely use bump keys, my pick gun works much quicker which can open locks in 5 seconds, that generally worries people, that its that easy. There is a rise in bump resistant locks in England but the main problem is lock snapping here so most people are upgrading to anti snap locks.

Pre_locks147 karma

I was lucky that a friend of mine has been a locksmith for 20 years and a company he did contract work for wanted someone new so I trained with him and started just been a sub contractor. The problem with expecting local locksmiths to take you as an apprentice is that when you are trained you will be there competition. The best way is to do a course and practice, practice, practice and then begin by been a sub contractor for other local locksmiths or national locksmith/trademen companies.

BaaBob39 karma

Thanks. To be fair I was between 18 and 20 at the time with dreadlocks down to my ass, probably not the most trustworthy looking person.

Any advice on dealing with anti pick tumbler pins (you know, the ones that look like little dumbbells)? I'm pretty good at manipulating different types of tumbler locks, but throw one of those in the mix, even if I put it in myself and know where it it, it pretty much stops me from opening the lock.

Pre_locks45 karma

try setting that pin first

kirbysdownb120 karma

The 'credit card method' is 100% bullshit or does it work but only on really really shitty doors?

The_Evil_Within162 karma


Pre_locks222 karma

you need to get a lock with a dead locking bolt then.

Pre_locks101 karma

lock who?

Pre_locks75 karma

If anyone wants advise on keeping secure at home please see:

radiouss56 karma

Is lockpicking illegal?

Pre_locks81 karma

In England it is legal but I think in the U.S you need a license and even owning lock pick sets is illegal.

g25332 karma

Hi, I'm from Belgium and have been considering for a while to become a locksmith ; my idea would be to do it as a part-time activity first (on weekends and/or evenings for example) and keep my day job, then do it full-time if it works out.

My problem is that I can't find a schooling program other than some kind of apprenticeship where you work four days a week for a very low pay then go to school one day a week, for like three years. I can't afford to lose my current income so I need evening classes or some other way to learn the skills and get the certification.

I have three questions :

1) How can I learn? Do you know of any online resource / other type of school? In Belgium I couldn't find anything but I'd be willing to spend a few months in another country.

2) Do you think I could make a good living only answering calls from people who lost their keys and / or working for the authorities? I have zero interest in opening a shop or making duplicates all day.

3) What initial investment would I need, roughly? (for tools, etc)

Pre_locks52 karma

I was born in Belgium. I did an apprenticeship with a locksmith I know, takes alot of practice and keeping up to date with new technology. If you are wanting to learn in your spare time there are plenty of tutorials available on line eg youtube. First you need to get an understanding of locks and how they work. There are weekend long and week long training courses in England but there's that much to learn that they only give a basic understanding, there's no substitute for experience. See if you can shadow a local locksmith for a for tools i built up as I went along but probably 400-500 euros should get the basics and then the costs of web advertising as most people search for a locksmith on the internet. A good living can be made if you are good at your job and I spend more time repairing locks and doors and changing locks than I do letting people in who have lost there keys.

Pre_locks31 karma

never come across one, there only really used in some hotels.

Thats_him30 karma

When you open a safe for a client, do you ever look into the safe once you've opened it or do you walk away without a glance?

Pre_locks61 karma

I usually get someone else to open safes but if im there i might have a nosey, never seem anything interesting though.

pooroldedgar29 karma

Have you ever been in a situation where someone desperately needed you to open a lock while was simultaneously desperate to avoid you seeing what was inside?

Pre_locks57 karma

I do alot of warrant work and there's often people inside who don't want us to get in at all. Usually hiding cannabis farms.

pooroldedgar23 karma

Wow. Not what I was thinking of, but interesting. Does that mean there's a swat team standing behind you waiting for you to finish?

Pre_locks41 karma

nothing that exciting usually house repos or people stealing gas and electric by fiddling their meters.

gkiltz27 karma

Ever got attacked by a dog while opening a lock??

Pre_locks76 karma

not dogs but people when doing warrants.

Bevteke26 karma

Does it boil your piss watching the telly and seeing someone break in within seconds. Eg Inspector Frost and Dexter.

Pre_locks34 karma

just makes me laugh, wish it was always that easy, i'd be laughing.

writeress23 karma

knock knock

Pre_locks35 karma

whose there?

Goatcrusher21 karma

Hi fellow Yorkshire type.

My question: Are bump keys really that effective? I've heard horror stories from a friend of mine who has some very unsavoury acquaintances and have heard some wild claims about how well they work.

Pre_locks25 karma

they do work. I use them sometimes but you really need a bump key that's made for each make of lock and even then it may take a few attempts, some new locks are now anti bump.

MailBoxD16 karma

What video game represents Lock Picking better ? Skyrim/fallout , Oblivion , Mafia 2 ? if you don't know how it looks like , you can probably find it on youtube.

Pre_locks30 karma

i don't think any of them really. Look on you tube for lock picking tutorials and see what you think.

Dragonvine4 karma

Currently in canada locked out of my house, mind helping me out?

Pre_locks7 karma

sure, just pay my air fare, I need a holiday.

lula24884 karma


Your website doesn't prove that you're a locksmith

Pre_locks9 karma

I have just added a post on my website for you.

KennyLog-in1 karma

Thanks! You might want to edit that link into the text box under the title so that the users don't have to search for it.

Pre_locks3 karma

thanks for the advice, first time on here.

Pre_locks4 karma

what else would prove it for you?

Pre_locks3 karma

nearly, need something a bit more flexible and only on certain locks.

cohumi3 karma

If some locks take 5 seconds why do you charge such astronomical amounts?

Pre_locks5 karma

I don't, I strive to be the best and cheapest about £40 to open a lock, but bear in mind the costs of travel and insurance etc and it's not a job where your day is constantly full, you might only get 1 or jobs a day.

_Doh_3 karma

When someone asks you to change their locks, how can you know it's actually their house?

Pre_locks4 karma

I ask for ID like a drivers license with name and address on.

bluesyasian3 karma

My friend got locked out of their house, and the guy they called ended using a drill to unlock their door, and then overcharged their accounts. Turns out the guy they got was part of a scam. Is the drill method actually legit, or was everything about this guy a scam?

Pre_locks4 karma

Sometimes you have to drill if you can't pick it. I always try and pick but sometimes its unavoidable.

teaparty62 karma

Where can I buy some good picking tools?

Pre_locks2 karma

if your a hobbiest and in England have a look at UK bump keys