Hi, my name is Ian. I've been a locksmith for nearly 3 years now out of eastern North Carolina and I'm interested in sharing some advice and stories with you guys. Nothing is off-limits, if you have a question, I may have an answer!

Here is a photo of my awfully messy workshop, and here's a second photo of my workshop with a note I wrote out.

After a good long sleep, I'm back to answer more questions!

Comments: 836 • Responses: 87  • Date: 

pladhoc840 karma

Who are you, and how did you get in here?

HeyMyNameIsIan353 karma

Click out of 1, 2 is binding... and we're in.

HugoZHackenbush2507 karma

During the pandemic, were you classed as a key worker ?

HeyMyNameIsIan459 karma

Me and my friend chuckled at this, but yes, we were classified as key workers. haha!

iztheguy317 karma

Has anyone approached you for unethical work?

HeyMyNameIsIan735 karma

Yes! Back when I started I used to have a slogan, "I don't get paid to ask questions." When it came to ownership of per say, a car. But now-a-days I ALWAYS require drivers license, proof of insurance, and a full receipt written out. There wasn't any defining event that made me up my security, I just realized I was being a reckless little shit.

xSGxSamurai313 karma

Full thoughts on LockPickingLawyer?

HeyMyNameIsIan615 karma

Out of all the locksmith YouTubers, I could consider him the most professional and honest. His sense of humor is great and his explanation on things is on point.

However... I do NOT like his website. Hos merchandise is fantadtic, but selling specialized tools that are regulated in some states without checking for a license at all does not sit well with me.

Smoothrecluse254 karma

What are the prospects for someone looking to get into the business?

HeyMyNameIsIan449 karma

Pros: Great Pay, choose your own hours, set your own rates, only take the jobs you want, lots of free time in between jobs (I usually park somewhere and play my switch)

Cons: Starting out you'll probably be a sub contract technician for a company and they pay usually isn't that great. I made 40% starting out which was one of the more generous rates in the area.

HeyMyNameIsIan162 karma

Also it's incredibly easy to get into. Most states don't even require a license, however most companies won't hire you without one, so.

Sacred-Squash55 karma

Specifically when it comes to companies, why the gate keeping? I always found lock-picking to be a fun hobby when I was younger and would love to get something going on the side. Digital Marketing is one of my skills I’ve acquired over the years and feel most smiths in my area have no idea where to begin in that sense so since it’s not heavily advertised digitally, I feel that is a space I could do well in or potentially join on a company and help them do well in. Would appreciate your insight.. thanks!

HeyMyNameIsIan108 karma

One word: Liability.

shag377226 karma

Besides opening car doors, homes and cutting keys, what else do you do?

HeyMyNameIsIan424 karma

Currently at the moment, I can.. Unlock houses and homes, do fresh installation on a home (as in, drilling a deadbolt), replace locks of all kinds, I can make car keys, including some models from the 90's that require flashing the ECU (which is a rare talent to have!), I do some business work as well, mostly working on panic bars, rekeying, and installing locks. I'm not so good with safes at the moment, they're tricky to get into but if it's one of the cheaper ones that uses a wafer lock, I can pick those over as well.

MoobooMagoo130 karma

Have you ever had to unlock a sex toy? Like if someone lost a key to a chastity belt or something?

HeyMyNameIsIan260 karma

I'm riding out a rough storm right now and my power went out as I typed the original reply to this.

Basically, no, however I have unlocked a treasure chest full of sex toys for a lady. She had locks installed because she has kids and, I can see why, there were some choice toys in there.

lukeCritchley128 karma

What's the worse scenario that you showed up to and helped out?

HeyMyNameIsIan563 karma

October 29th 2021, guy calls me to Henderson which is an hour from me. OK. I travel out there to unlock his acura, meet him out front and he said the car is behind his house. I pull up the side and 3 dudes jump out and are screaming at me to get out. I keep all my big bills in the back in a lockbox, but the small ones like ones and fives are kept up front in case I need to give change. So, I took a hand full of bills and chucked them out the window and told them to take it. This was at like, 9 at night so it was dark, and as soon as I threw the money they were scrambling trying to pick it up. Drug addicts, you know. Anyways I shifted into reverse and I guess I panicked and backed out at an angle because my back end went right and my front end went left, and one of the dudes knees got stuck between me van and the house but I didn't give a fuck, I sped out of that place. Went straight home, HOWEVER... Henderson is bad for drugs, and I got pulled over on the way out of town. Officer was incredibly understanding of why my nerves were shocked and he took my number and said he'd keep me up to date. Followed through a few days later and told me the guy whose knee I smashed admitted himself into the hospital with a broken leg. Was just a nasty time all around.

Puzzleheaded_Food26173 karma

Glad you made it out of that. Shiesty

HeyMyNameIsIan104 karma

It wasn't more than $150. I guess that's what a broken leg was worth to them.

CrassDemon121 karma

What's your income?

Looking for a new profession.

HeyMyNameIsIan331 karma

It depends on the area. Call around and get quotes from local locksmiths in your zone, see what others are charging.

for me, House and car lockouts are $125 starting and House rekeys are $80 service + $21 per lock.

Some weeks are slow, maybe $400 at the slowest. Some weeks are fast, like $4000 fast. Black Friday of last year, $6700 in a weekend.

CrassDemon86 karma

Thanks for the perspective.

HeyMyNameIsIan181 karma

Always. It's a good profession to get into, one of the things I didn't mention is that tool costs are soooooo low. $500 would get you sitting comfortably with a license and the ability to open houses and cars.

Security_Chief_Odo76 karma

In which state? I do lockpicking as a hobby and for fun but if I could make $6700 in a weekend with a $500 investment, I might need to rethink some things.

HeyMyNameIsIan124 karma

No no, sorry, I should have been more clear. $500 in NC will land you a full license with a study guide, a good car lockout kit and both residential lishis to open homes. In regards to the $6700 quote, I doubled my prices for black Friday weekend, however it's still not entirely unreasonable to make that on a regular week. You would just have to land a lot of commercial and access control jobs- I pocketed $2250 in one day last week doing a full hardware swap on a tire storage facility and rekeying a duplex. Tire storage, $1580, duplex, $670 for 12 locks.

CoyoteTheFatal99 karma

I’m currently applying to become a locksmith and have an interview tomorrow. Any advice? (For background, I’m always enjoyed working with my hands, building and taking stuff apart, and I actually have a lockpicking set I bought when I was 14/15 and taught myself how to pick locks)

HeyMyNameIsIan119 karma

Dude, first off congratulations! Also second off, shoot me a dm real quick

joshhhdcx84 karma

My laundry room key is broken. Management won’t give me a new one. It says “do not duplicate” on it. Is there any way a locksmith could cut me a new one or repair it for me?

HeyMyNameIsIan221 karma

By law management would have to provide a new key, at least in my state. If management won't provide a new one, my first suggestion would be to tell them you'll cover the cost as long as they give approval to a locksmith. My second recommendation is to find a locksmith that doesn't require approval. Do Not Duplicate is not a law, it's not a rule, it's not really anything. It's basically a stamped formality that says, "hey, this is a regulated key, please don't duplicate it." But in most cases, or at least in my case, if a customer comes to me with a DND key and I can tell they're sincere, or they have some form of paperwork, I will gladly do it.

But also, you should 150% take the broken key to a locksmith and ask for a replacement! Most of the time they won't even ask, since you already have the key, its just broken.

lomlslomls77 karma

So back in the day you could buy a 'slim jim' to get into cars. I used to keep one in my trunk when I found folks who'd locked their keys in the car (I worked at a busy college bar back then). My son has a 2005 Corolla and has locked his keys in the car twice now so I was looking for one.

I can't find a slim jim anywhere, online, ebay, etc. Any idea on where to find one or an alternative? BTW, we have AAA but they suck and take 4+ hours to show up, so, no.

HeyMyNameIsIan101 karma

They sell them at Autozone. lol. They're actually really common here, but keep in mind, Slim Jim's only work on cars that have those pencil style locks that sit at the lower corner of the windshield, not on cars that have the lock above the door handle. Or, at least, that's what I was told, I just pick cars open or bag the door nowadays.

TackoFell34 karma

What does bag the door mean

Security_Chief_Odo129 karma

Means using something like this for propping open car doors. These let you put the inflatable bag between the door and the frame, giving you room to stick a hanger or hook in between in order to press the door unlock button.

  • Note, in some states, having those tools without a locksmith license will result in a crime.

HeyMyNameIsIan64 karma

Sometimes it's a crime - most air wedges are built to withstand 350+ lbs of pressure and are actually meant for construction, locksmiths just love them because they fit so well with our jobs, but in regards to the latch pole and the rest of the kit, the police would probably never do anything as you can say they are for your own personal use.

Lalocal4life69 karma

With the increase in Bluetooth locks and electronic keyless entry quality, I have reduced my requirement for a locksmith as a landlord to zero dollars per year. I had a day and night time locksmith on call 365 days per year. Have you noticed an increase or decrease in service calls and what are your plans for the future if the trend continues?

HeyMyNameIsIan116 karma

I've noticed an increase in calls because most electronic locks are manufactured poorly and will still malfunction often, and most of the time the HO doesn't know where his key is because they haven't had to use it in so long.

bluemitersaw23 karma

Any electronic lock that you do recommend from a reliability stand point?

HeyMyNameIsIan72 karma

A schlage encode with the actual lock replaced with serrated pins is beautiful.

HeyMyNameIsIan17 karma


BanMeGayMod67 karma

I used to rekey homes in the foreclosure business. The company would send us the pin positions and we would do them as specified. Most companies I worked for would use the same rekey pins for every home. This way after the initial rekey everyone who needed to get into any of the homes already had a key.

What locks/keys can never have a twin?

HeyMyNameIsIan82 karma

I'm not fussed about homes being on the same key, the chances of someone ever opening your house with their house key is astronomical.

I don't quite understand your question, I think you're asking me what doors have to be separate from the entire home. Bedroom locks are always separate, 100%. Storage sheds and exterior sheds always have their own key as well unless requested by the home owner, with the exception that they're attached to the house.

Also, Schlage and Kwikset which are primarily what most people have, the keys are not interchangeable. Schlage keys do not fit in Kwikset locks and vice versa. That's 99% of all residential lock types in my area.

BanMeGayMod18 karma

The third part answered my question. Looking at it now I understand how it doesn't make sense.

To clarify my question should have been worded as "what are the chances of my key opening someone else's door?"

valdus30 karma

The chances of someone else's key fitting? Guaranteed there's another one or ten or hundred of your key out there. The chances of someone actually trying their key in your lock and it working? Pretty much nil. Ignoring different types of keys (there are 2-1/2 common blanks for houses, dozens more if you get into pricier options), there are tens of thousands of possible pin combinations. On the other hand, a plumber once accidentally used his house key to open the utility room door at a building I worked at. Old worn out locks might start accepting multiple keys, as well. Master-keyed locks will also accept many different keys by simple virtue of their design (a lock set to accept key 1-2-3-4-5 and master key 2-2-3-4-6 for example will also accept a 1-2-3-4-6 and 2-2-3-4-5).

But really, it's not worth worrying about. It's much easier just to pick a lock or kick the door open, depending on how fast and quiet you want in.

Badbullet36 karma

This actually happened to me at an apartment I lived at. My place was on the 3rd floor, but after a long day at work my brain told me that after walking 1 flight of stairs that I was on my floor. My key opened the door, I walked in and after walking in 5 feet, completely confused that the living room was not laid out like I had it, and the furniture was completely different. Then this gall comes walking out from a bedroom, probably expecting her roommate, only to see some strange guy looking confused in her living room. Management came and we tried my key again and it didn't work. I can only assume some of the pins were stuck in the unlocked position or I jiggled it just right.

I'm just glad she didn't scream or worse, be armed.

HeyMyNameIsIan17 karma

Apartment keys are the same quite often. In terms of residential homes it's basically zero.

Gottalovecoffee61 karma

Have you ever had to unlock properties long after someone died or to a hoarders house?

HeyMyNameIsIan109 karma

Godddd yes. I do evictions all the time, and some of them are downright fucking nasty. Like smeared shit everywhere nasty.

I've had to unlock a few houses where the HO was deceased. I had to do one where the body was still in the home. Bless her heart.

Gottalovecoffee23 karma

Ewww. Bad tenants making a mess for the landlord?

Ever got babies/kids out of hot cars?

HeyMyNameIsIan70 karma

If they're within 10 minutes I will head straight to them, otherwise I tell them to contact police immediately, as a kids life is worth more than a window. That 10 minutes gets some leniency if the car is on and the AC is running. Otherwise, yeah

Raioc243646 karma

What’s the key to her heart?

HeyMyNameIsIan123 karma

Food and butt rubs

k0uch36 karma

How are you programming the 2017-up Fords that require access to ford’s servers?

HeyMyNameIsIan62 karma

Is there something I missed? Because I just did a 2019 Ford Edge last week and it programmed just fine using the SmartBox Mini. No hassle at all.

k0uch12 karma

Done any 2017 up superduties lately?

HeyMyNameIsIan22 karma

Not yet no, but I've done a fre 2017+ Edge and Escapes in the last few weeks

PoopChipper2 karma

That's subscription based, yeah? Or does it use tokens? I'm always happy to add additional programmers to my arsenal but absolutely refuse to support token or mandatory subscriptions.

HeyMyNameIsIan6 karma

$10 per use but fuck it's fantastic.

minizzizim36 karma

There is a constant fight between ever more complex locks that are difficult to open and tools to open them. Have you contributed to this in some way?

And because I have to take this opportunity, what resources do you recommend to those who would desire quality locks?

HeyMyNameIsIan91 karma

To answer your first question, I actually have. I came up with, what I refer to as, a K12 which is an under-the-door tool I use on commercial buildings to open lever-action door handles. One locksmith saw me use it, asked for one, spread the word and now most of the guys in my area have a K12 in their possession.

Quality locks is kind of a loose term because most locks are made with materials provided by the cheapest bidder. In terms of what you can do to INCREASE your home's security, I would recommend having your locks rekeyed to remove the top pins and replace them with serrated pins. Even with all my experience, serrated top pins will sometimes take me 5-20 minutes to pick where a regular lock would only take 2-3. One of the big things I can suggest is to do research, for example, the Kwikset Smart Key Locks are great. Getting into them requires a very specific $350 tool, and even then it only tells you how to cut the key, it doesn't actually open the lock. I doubt most people trying to break and enter a home would carry it, nor a key cutter, but then that also harkens back to the materials the lock is made out of. I've had some customers request the most basic, $10 locks, where some have requested Medeco locks which can be upwards of $350 per lock. It really just depends on the customers budget.

minizzizim12 karma

Wow! Thanks for the response!

HeyMyNameIsIan22 karma

For sure! It's an AmA after all

Bear_Stonewall33 karma

How do you approach a job where you're unsure how to fix the problem (such as a car you're unfamiliar with or newtypeof homelock)? Do you just google it or watch youtube vids?

HeyMyNameIsIan78 karma

95% of the time I'll just take photos and send them to my other locksmith friends and they'll give me advice. sometimes I YouTube things, but almost always one of my buddies has seen or dealt with what I'm stuck on. We all scratch each other's backs.

Istar4732 karma

Who are you and how did you get in here?

HeyMyNameIsIan62 karma

I'm a locksmith. Also, I'm a locksmith.

dramaticFlySwatter31 karma

Has anyone called you to open a safe? If yes, did you use a stethoscope or drill like we see in the movies? If no, how quickly would you join an Oceans 11-esque crew if asked?

HeyMyNameIsIan64 karma

No Safes yet, and I would quit same day to do Oceans 11

Kordiel23 karma


HeyMyNameIsIan40 karma

Ironically, you're close, it was a 14 year old 7 pin schlage commercial Lock where the pins were worn down to the bone, it was GOD awful. Almost a full hour of picking.

Humble_Blueberry947521 karma

Do you ever get a click out of one, two is binding and nothing on three?

HeyMyNameIsIan22 karma

Literally all the damn time

upinthenortheast19 karma

What are your thoughts on the Bowley lock? Have you ever seen one out in the wild? https://www.bowleylockcompany.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html

HeyMyNameIsIan15 karma

Them things scare me and no, lol.

LastThymeLord18 karma

Do you think keys will become obsolete (or a niche security method)? Day-to-day I don’t use keys - car and work are fobs, and my house is keyless combination.

Do locksmiths have a future with keyless systems?

HeyMyNameIsIan38 karma

Sure do! Someone has to work on them. Traditional locks will never go out of style.

-xpaigex-15 karma

Stupid question but are there even female locksmiths…? I’ve never heard of any locksmiths being female. I work at a safe sales shop (gun safes, TL rated and such) and honestly locksmithing has been something that has piqued my interest. Is there a lot of heavy lifting or something? Asking as a female, myself lol.

HeyMyNameIsIan32 karma

No heavy lifting, no real labor, just being able to stand and bend down is basically it. Occasionally you may have to crawl through a window. I know quite a few female locksmiths. They're all cool as fuck, I met a ton of them at the AKS Lishi Event last year. Shoot me a DM if you wanna known more about the job, the rest of these questions are just curiosity but if you're actually looking to join the field, I answer dm's.

Tony49UK14 karma

Locksmiths in the UK have a pretty poor reputation at the moment.

You do a Google search and the ad says that they'll come out and pick the lock for £50 but when they turn up they always have to drill the lock and then replace it. Charging about £100 for a £10 lock and a bill for £250. With TV "bait" houses showing the "locksmiths" to have accidentally unlocked the door but continue to drill the lock anyway. Just to make more money. I believe that it's a common problem in NY as well.

How would you suggest finding a good locksmith?

HeyMyNameIsIan5 karma

First off, ask them if they've opened those locks before, and if so, how. Let them know beforehand that you are 150% against drilling and will NOT allow it if they come - usually if thats what their intentions were, then they'll deny the job then and there. Everything regarding the total bill is negotiable, but 1000% make sure you ask the TOTAL and FINAL price. A lot of people in my area quote $29 as as starting price but not a total price, and then charge what they want since they didnt quote you a maximum. I've always told customers to find out what the total and final price is beforehand, that way if it's more, you have an excuse not to pay it.

acam33314 karma

My wife walked in on me reading this and wants to know if you know the "lock" ness monster?

HeyMyNameIsIan54 karma

I do! He owes me about tree fiddy.

Few_Highway_204512 karma

Can you break into my ex girlfriend's house so I can put a giant black dildo in her room? Her mom spies on her in there when she's not home and if she found a giant black dildo it would be a world of shit for that bitch. While you're there, get back my iPod.

HeyMyNameIsIan24 karma

What about the giant blue dildo you left in my car

smudgetimeusa12 karma

If you wanted to make my house as safe from you as possible, what would you recommend?

HeyMyNameIsIan56 karma

With budget in mind and a reasonable approach from a financial standard, I would put double sided deadbolts on all doors and rekey them to include serrated wafers, with an alarm system that included broken windows. Most people put single sided deadbolts with a thumb turn on the back on doors with glass, and it's jot hard to break the glass and just flip the locks, however if it's a double sided and they need a key to open it, then they'll have to go through a window, of which you'd hopefully have an alarm.

Alternatively, gun

StargazerNataku12 karma

Huh, this was good timing.

kI was just wondering if it is possible to get a new key made for our safe? We lost the original copy, and it isn't locked so it's not that big of a deal, but it woudl be nice to have the ability to lock it.

HeyMyNameIsIan20 karma

Depends on the model! Easiest way to do it would be to contact the manufacturer. Some safes you can order new parts though, so I'd have to have an idea of what model it was to give you a good answer.

661714sunburn11 karma

Specialized tools with out a license you say?? I’ll definitely keep away from that site.

HeyMyNameIsIan13 karma

I'm aware this is probably satire but yes. that's my biggest quarrel with that site.

SonOfZaknafein9 karma

Thanks for the AMA, OP. So, I'm a business owner as well. I've been a carpenter for over twenty years. I've spent a shit ton on tools and hours and hours of hard work. Could I just have taken a few classes, kept the classes up to date and made more money by doing this? It seems insanely easy.

HeyMyNameIsIan23 karma

I'm self taught off of YouTube. The only class I took was the mandatory one to get my license. Everything else was ungodly easy. Less manual labor. Less shit to go wrong. Less money tied up in tools and stock. It's a decent time all around. Pm me further if you have questions.

SonOfZaknafein8 karma

Thanks, man. I've thought about this for years. I have no idea why I haven't done it sooner. For fuck's sake, I live in a tourist town full of breweries. Surely I'll get business. As a trim carpenter, I already install locks, doors and and all of that.

HeyMyNameIsIan14 karma

Double down and master 2 professions dude!

thealbinorhino5048 karma

I could probably Google this, but sometimes I have trouble picking older locks (usually house doors) where the pins seem jammed or gummy. I have to put more force into lifting a pin than I feel comfortable doing without bending a pick. How do you handle that? Do you spray WD-40 inside the lock or something? I'm just a hobbyist, not a pro. Only pick locks I own or got permission for.

HeyMyNameIsIan35 karma

Those are serrated pins, dude. If they feel jammed at all or you have to put so much downward force you feel like you're gonna damage your tool, I'm almost 100% certain you're referring to serrated pins. You'll have to look up how to get past them in depth, but the general idea is to ease off the tension a bit and they should fall into place just fine.

thealbinorhino5049 karma

My man. Thank you.

HeyMyNameIsIan15 karma

Let me know if you need help learning how to pick

HeyMyNameIsIan5 karma

Serrated Pins also being referred to as Spool Pins

thinksteptwo8 karma

What are your top three recommendations for a homeowner to a single family dwelling?

HeyMyNameIsIan8 karma

in regards to what, home security?

from-Sir-to-Sir7 karma

Is there a particular home safe that has the best lock. Something for your important documents?

HeyMyNameIsIan9 karma

Would it be something bolted into the ground or are you looking for a portable option?

marklein7 karma

Is the job good enough that you could do it for the rest of your life?

Are the customers mostly nice or bitchy?

HeyMyNameIsIan12 karma

Yes, even when I'm older I can see myself doing this and being great at it. Very little is required physically.

Almost all of them are nice. There are some that bitch about the price, but hey.. I wasn't the one that locked the keys in the car. I usually hang up on anyone who shows a severe lack of respect though, but I can also understand that people are frustrated.

SuperBiteSize7 karma

Is there really a tool that opens almost any door lock?

HeyMyNameIsIan12 karma

Depends on country. In america: Sc1 and Kw1 lishi will open 90% of homes and businesses.

MiserableProduct6 karma

How do you program a 2007 Toyota Camry key fob? I can’t find a locksmith in my town to help me, and I don’t want to pay our local dealer.

HeyMyNameIsIan5 karma

Proximity or remote head key?

masturkiller5 karma

Ive wanted to learn how to pick locks as a hobby but it may come in handy in a pinch. How would you recommend I start or where would is start?

HeyMyNameIsIan37 karma

Purchase a clear practice lock, and a GOOD set of lock picks. I recommend Sparrows Lock Picks. Single pin raking is a fantastic skill to have under your belt but rake picking is as well.

Definitely get a rake pick, also called a city pick, a double Bogota pick, and a single pin pick. it's also good to practice on locks you can't see into, my recommendation is to buy the cheap $10 locks from Walmart, practice on them and then return them once you've gotten good at it. Nobody ever buys them anyways, they sit on shelves for months.

dbaughcherry11 karma

Not OP or a locksmith but knowledge is key almost more so than the tools you're using. You can bypass a lot of locks on the market if you know how they function. If you're looking to pick locks specifically then they sell lock pick sets for cheap and even clear practice locks where you can see the pins moving to help with practice. You don't need to be a full blown locksmith with a suite of tools to be handy with locks.

HeyMyNameIsIan8 karma

This is all 100% true

sottopassaggio5 karma

How easy are smart locks to pick? I had a guy charge 250 for mine and wondering a. Is that reasonable and b. Could I or someone else pick my own lock?

HeyMyNameIsIan9 karma

Smart Lock being an Electronic Deadbolt or a Kwikset Smart Key Lock? Smart I'd a weird term nowadays. But I would never charge $250... most I do house lockouts for is $150 if it's within a reasonable distance.

MsCatMeow5 karma

How secure or crackable are average front door handle locks and deadbolts?

Is anyone safe or do we all just have a false sense of security?

How about digital or electronic locks?

Thank you!!

HeyMyNameIsIan10 karma

Standard store bought locks are ✨️meh✨️ bit they can be beefed up easily. Kwikset Smart Key locks would be the best security for your home- and it's worth noting that 90% of a doors lock security comes from the deadbolt. Even more so if it's double sided.

comradequiche5 karma

How often do you “pick” locks vs “bumping” them?

HeyMyNameIsIan17 karma

Bumping is for the chums, I've done it maybe once. Picking is where it's at. so, like, 99.9% picking

element84 karma

Have you ever broken a lock you were trying to open?

HeyMyNameIsIan12 karma

Hell yes, back when I first started. Sometimes intentional, sometimes not, just depends on the situation

kabekew4 karma

Is it possible to create a key for a wafer lock, just given the lock? I have a new house with a home automation box in the basement that I don't have a key for. I don't just want to pick it open, but get a regular key for it.

HeyMyNameIsIan5 karma

There isssss a way, it's called impressioning a lock. I would YouTube it for an example, it's fairly hard to do if you don't know what you're doing.

kabekew4 karma

Is it something you or a typical locksmith could do?

HeyMyNameIsIan5 karma

Typical, no. Me? no. It's a very niche ability

Flat_Passage_19354 karma

I have a weird old broken lock I have a picture of that has broken and I can’t seem to get the 50+ yr old wooden chest open. Any advice? I can pm a picture if needed of the outside of it

HeyMyNameIsIan8 karma

Shoot me a picture I'll gladly take a look

WhaleSexOdyssey4 karma

You play elden ring ?

HeyMyNameIsIan8 karma

For sure lol

Dentstar4 karma

My car key broke, is that something a locksmith can fix instead of going to the dealership?

HeyMyNameIsIan6 karma

Yes. and it's cheaper to get a new key made when you have the blade/metal portion of your old key already. Skips having to make the key from scratch which will usually land you a discount, just make sure to mention that you have it. What model car?

Dentstar5 karma

2011 honda odyssey, the plastic part that has the buttons for lock and open the doors broke apart

HeyMyNameIsIan13 karma

Oh, dude, then you don't even need a locksmith. Go on YouTube and look up how to do a SHELL swap for a key fob. You basically just order a new shell and transfer everything over. It's actually fairly easy, the only annoying thing is the roll pin they put in to keep the blade in, but just go to a hardware store and get a fine point punch.

HeyMyNameIsIan7 karma

All in all you could do it yourself for maybe $30

paramedic-tim3 karma

Are you the LockPickingLawyer?!?!?

HeyMyNameIsIan16 karma

Thankfully no. I love the guy but his videos are a little glammy.

R_Rahman3 karma

My 97 F250 trucks key ignition won’t catch to turn on…any advice?

HeyMyNameIsIan11 karma

Send me a photo of the key. Keys are supposed to be sharp, straight, and well defined. If they're even remotely smooth looking, your ignition is probably fine, your key may just be worn down. Lubricant will help an ignition, don't be afraid to flood it with Houdini or Wd40 and run the key in and out lik 20 times.

HeyMyNameIsIan9 karma

Also, if your key is worn down, just get a new one. Don't even try to save it- and do note it's easier and cheaper to get one made when you have one than not.

ares54041 karma

Is there a point where it becomes so easy you do it subconciously once started?

HeyMyNameIsIan2 karma

I'm already at that point with Lishi'ing residential locks, and car lockouts. Most of the time I won't even look at the car first, just grab the lishi or air bags and get to it.

zeb07771 karma

Your take on the Lockpicking Lawyer?

HeyMyNameIsIan2 karma

Answered previously but, he's a good guy, I just don't like the website he has up.

BassandBows1 karma

How did you get into the profession? Is this something you wanted to do for a while beforehand?

HeyMyNameIsIan5 karma

Honest to God, I got locked out one day, the guy told me a bit about the job, then I got into it. Never considered it a day before then. I saw the little amount of the tools he had and had to get in on it.

Tronguy93-1 karma

What are your thoughts on the Lockpicking Lawyer?

HeyMyNameIsIan7 karma

I answered this in a previous question, but basically, he's a good guy and he's the most honest Locksmith YouTube in my opinion, however his online store does not sit well with me.

chronoboy1985-6 karma


Recently had to call a locksmith on a Sunday because we got locked out of the house by our toddler. The bill came out to about $200. Why is service so pricey? (Living in California).

HeyMyNameIsIan6 karma

  1. Because it's California and 2. Because that's what the guy valued his time and service at. I hate to say it but, it's not easy being an independent Contractor. Would I have charged $200? Probably not, but it also depends on how far he had to drive, the time of day, and what type of locks you have.