Specialty Tools: The Locksmith’s Best Friend

Get the job done easily and quickly -- be it installing a mortise cylinder or peeking inside a lock to read the wafers -- with these specialty tools.

The RW4-Plus was designed with future updates in mind. New software and key blanks are being developed for additional applications all the time.

More Info: www.kaba-ilco.com.


Lishi 2-in-1 Pick/Decoders

Back in the early 70s, when I was first learning the locksmith trade, an older locksmith introduced me to the concept of “picking and reading.” The way he did it was to pick the lock and then use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to look into the keyway and estimate the cuts by looking at the wafers.

Things have come a long way since then, and the new Lishi 2-in-1 Pick/Decoders have brought picking and reading into the 21st century. Once the tool has been inserted into the lock, the probes can be positioned precisely over any tumbler and used to pick the lock. After the lock has been picked, the same probes provide accurate readings of each tumbler in the lock. Because the tool works with the lock in the picked position, it is much less susceptible to false readings caused by variations in the components made by different manufacturers. A great example of this is with the FO38 Ford 8-cut 2-in-1 Pick/Decoder. This one tool will give accurate readings regardless of whether the lock was manufactured by Strattec, Huf, or Valeo. This makes those pesky Ford Focus and Escape door locks much easier to read.

Each 2-in-1 Pick/Decoder is specific for an individual keyway. Some are easier to use than others, but this is more a function of the locks than of the tool. The Ford 8-cut tool is the easiest to use of the ones I’ve tried. It’s easy to feel when each tumbler is picked, both through the probes and through the built in tension tool. There is a very solid click and a slight movement of the plug as you pick each tumbler in turn.

On the other hand, the HU100 pick for the new GM side-milled locks require patience and a very light touch for picking, but once the lock has been picked, the tool gives an accurate reading of the depths of cut in all eight positions in the door lock.

Any picks designed for locks that have split-tumblers will require patience and a light touch. The problem with split-tumbler locks, such as those used by Honda and Lexus, is that once the plug begins to turn, some of the split-tumblers on one side of the plug will drop into the chambers for the split-tumblers on the opposite side of the plug, causing the lock to “hang up.” When this happens, you will have to pick the tumblers that are hung up before the lock can be turned the rest of the way so that it can be decoded. Then, you will have to repeat this procedure when you turn the lock back to the key-pull position, because the same tumblers will hang up again.

More Info: www.lishitools.com.


And, in case you’re wondering how I managed to solve the problem of being locked out of a car with no tools, here is what happened. Fortunately, my friend had a four-door Chevrolet Cavalier, and I was able to unlock the rear door with a ballpoint pen. If you have my Quick Entry Manual, you can see the procedure on page USA 13.


Steve Young founded Tech-Train Productions in 1988, and has produced numerous educational videos. Tech-Train automotive tools include the original Jiffy-Jak, Steve Young’s Quick Entry Manual, and Steve Young’s Quick Reference Automotive Manual. Tech-Train Productions is now a part of Lockmasters, Inc. Steve can be contacted at: steveyoung@lockmasters.com.

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