How to Pick a Lock with a Knife: Expert Techniques Explained

Gaining the ability to open a lock with just a knife is an interesting capability that could be beneficial in some scenarios. While it may not be the most conventional method, utilizing a knife as an improvised lock pick can come in handy when traditional tools are unavailable or impractical.

In this blog post, we will explore four distinct methods for picking locks using knives. These techniques range from employing Swiss Army knives and non-wide blades to creating your own makeshift lock picks from available resources. We’ll also delve into combining traditional lock-picking techniques with these unconventional methods for increased effectiveness.

Additionally, we’ll discuss the crude raking technique specifically designed for cheap locks and provide insights on picking mortise locks using only a knife. By understanding these various approaches, you’ll have multiple strategies at your disposal when faced with the challenge of how to pick a lock with a knife.

Pick Locks with a Swiss Army Knife

Use a Swiss army knife or another thin blade to pick low-level locks by inserting it into the keyhole and applying rotational force while rocking it back and forth.

Choosing the Right Tool

  • Find a thin, flat blade with no serrations or jagged edges.
  • Ensure the handle is sturdy for better grip and control.
  • Butter knives or steak knives can also work.

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Analyze the keyhole to determine how deep your improvised pick needs to go.
  2. Select your tool and gently insert it into the keyhole.
  3. Rock the tool back and forth while applying rotational pressure.
  4. Set each pin in place until all are aligned properly.
  5. Maintain pressure against the door frame for better chances of success.

Picking locks with a Swiss army knife is an effective way to bypass low-level security measures, but always practice responsible lock-picking habits and use these techniques for legitimate reasons.

Pick Locks with a Swiss Army Knife

Method 2 – Creating Your Own Makeshift Lock Pick from a Knife

Learn how to create your own lock pick from a knife by designing the right shape and using essential tools to refine its form.

Designing an Effective Lock Pick Shape

Analyze the lock mechanism and determine the picking end of the knife blade before drawing the desired shape with a marker.

  1. Consider the type of lock – cheap locks may require simpler designs while deadbolt locks might need more intricate ones.
  2. Choose the right part of the knife – steak knives work well due to their thinner blades.
  3. Draw an outline of the desired shape on one side of the blade using a permanent marker.

Tools Needed for Crafting Custom Picks

Gather essential tools like a metal file, pliers or vise grip, and fine-grit sandpaper to refine the shape of your custom lock pick.

  • Use a small metal file to remove excess material and shape edges according to specifications.
  • Hold the knife securely with pliers or a vise grip while filing.
  • Smooth out rough edges and polish your pick with fine-grit sandpaper.

File away excess metal around drawn outlines until you achieve the desired shape of your custom lock pick, maintaining a consistent angle as you work on different sections of the blade.

Trial Runs: Testing Your Makeshift Lock Pick

Practice with test runs on practice locks before attempting to use your newly crafted knife-based lock pick on an actual locked door.

Gain confidence in handling your improvised tool before moving up from cheap locks to more advanced deadbolt systems, always abiding by responsible lock-picking practices.

Method 3 – Combining Traditional Techniques with Knives

Learn how to combine traditional lock-picking techniques with the use of a knife to bypass various types of locks.

Tension Wrenching Basics Explained

Use a tension wrench to apply rotational force on the locking mechanism while manipulating the pins inside with your improvised pick.

  • Insert the short end of your makeshift tension wrench into the bottom part of the keyhole.
  • Apply gentle pressure in either direction while manipulating individual pins inside with your knife blade or another suitable pick.

Using Alternative Household Items Like Paperclips or Bobby Pins

Both paper clips and bobby pins can be used as improvised lock picks.

  1. Insert your makeshift pick into the keyhole above your tension wrench.
  2. Feel for each individual pin within the locking mechanism by gently probing with your pick until you locate them all.
  3. Lift each pin upwards using an upward raking motion while maintaining constant pressure on your tension wrench.

With practice and patience, you’ll soon become adept at bypassing various types of locked doors using nothing but everyday household items.

A Word of Caution

Please exercise due caution and respect the property rights of others when attempting to pick a lock, as any unauthorized or unlawful use is strictly prohibited. Additionally, attempting to pick a lock may cause damage if done improperly, so proceed with caution and respect other people’s property rights at all times.

Crude Technique for Cheap Locks (Method 4)

If you’re dealing with a cheap lock and need to gain access quickly, this fourth method might be your best bet.

Zipping picks are tools used by locksmiths worldwide to rapidly pick locks by mimicking the action of a key being inserted and removed quickly.

This crude but effective technique can work wonders on cheaper locks with less sophisticated locking mechanisms.

  • Know your local laws: Before attempting any form of lock picking, make sure you’re aware of your local regulations regarding these activities.
  • Pick only your own locks: It’s essential never to use these techniques on someone else’s property without explicit permission from its owner.
  • In case of emergencies: If there’s an emergency situation where gaining entry into a locked space is necessary, consider calling professional help like a licensed locksmith or emergency services instead of attempting to pick the lock yourself.
  • Practice on dummy locks: If you’re interested in learning more about picking locks, consider purchasing some practice locks, which are designed specifically for this purpose and won’t damage your actual door lock mechanisms.
  1. Select a knife with a thin blade, such as a butter knife or steak knives.
  2. Insert the knife into the keyhole while applying pressure against the pins inside using an improvised pick (such as a paper clip or bobby pin).
  3. Rake the knife back-and-forth rapidly until all pins are set in place.

While it’s not our favorite method due to its crude nature and potential risks involved when dealing with sharp objects like knives, Method 4 can still be useful when facing cheap locks that need quick bypassing.

Bypassing Mortise Locks with Knives

Mortise locks are tough to crack, but with some knife skills, it’s possible to bypass them.

Characteristics of Mortise Locks

Mortise locks are durable and secure, with deadbolts, lever handles, and tough internal components made from brass or stainless steel.

  • Deadbolt: Mortise locks come with deadbolts for extra security.
  • Lever handle: Lever handles are more accessible and easier to use than knob-based handles.
  • Tougher materials: Mortise locks are made from brass or stainless steel, ensuring long-lasting performance.

Strategies for Tackling High-Security Door Locks

If you’re trying to pick a mortise lock with a knife, try these methods:

  1. Method 1: Use a Swiss army knife or another non-wide blade to insert it deep into the lock and rock it in and out while applying rotational force.
  2. Method 2: Create your own makeshift lock pick from your knife by drawing the desired shape onto the blade, removing any redundant metal areas, and thinning out and polishing the pick.
  3. Method 3: Combine traditional lock-picking techniques with Method 1 and add some tension wrenching action by varying rotational forces applied during each attempt.

Investing in professional-grade lock picking sets is also a good idea for tackling high-security locking mechanisms like those found in mortise models.

FAQs in Relation to How to Pick a Lock With a Knife

How to Pick a Lock with a Knife?

If you want to pick a lock with a knife, choose a Swiss Army Knife or a non-wide blade, insert it into the keyhole, and gently rock it while applying rotational force.

How to Pick a Lock with a Knife and Bobby Pin?

Pick a lock using both tools by inserting the flat side of the bobby pin into the keyhole as a tension wrench and your chosen thin-bladed knife into the keyhole above it, then apply gentle pressure on both tools simultaneously until pins align correctly and unlock.

How to Pick a Lock with Butter Knives?

A butter knife can be used for picking simple locks like cheap padlocks or door knobs by inserting its tip in between the shackle’s base and the body of the padlock or the latch bolt mechanism within the door knob hole, then applying gentle upward/downward pressure along the edge until it unlocks successfully.

What is the Easiest Way to Pick Locks?

The easiest method involves using the raking technique, which requires inserting an improvised rake tool (like a paperclip) inside the keyway while applying constant torque via a tension wrench simultaneously so that all internal pins are lifted up at once, allowing cylinder rotation and completing the unlocking process effectively.

For more information on lock picking, check out this guide.


How to Pick a Lock with a Knife:

  • Method 1: Insert the knife into the keyhole and jiggle it until the lock opens.
  • Method 2: Use the knife to create tension on the lock while using a paperclip to pick the pins.
  • Method 3: Cut a notch into the knife blade and use it to push the pins up one by one.
  • Method 4: Use the knife to pry open a padlock or combination lock.

Remember, these techniques should only be used in emergency situations or by professional locksmiths.

And if you’re wondering why we’re talking about this, well, let’s just say it’s better to be prepared for any situation.

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