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Archive for January 2013

Chubb Lichfield safe












Got called to repair this Chubb Lichfield safe. The handle had been damaged in a burglary and was spinning, disconnected from the spindle (which had fallen to the bottom of the pan) This model is called a Lichfield, it has a cash rating of £3000. The safe contains a nice little lock, a Chubb 6K202 which can be picked with a 2 in 1 pick but in this case it is a newer version and is a pretty hard lock to open. A dedicated pin and cam tool is the best way of defeating this particular safe lock.

The original chrome handle had sheared off so a few emails and checking my files I found that Gunnebo still stock retro handles for most of the Chubb range. Thank you to Dave for getting it out to me so quickly, customer was very pleased!

The handle / spindle required some modification prior to it actually working in the safe. This was a straight forward task though and caused no problems.

Everything was tightened up and secured, I got my photos and measurements and the safe was again, working. This job was also a test for my new camera, it is my dedicated site camera and from the shots tonight its certainly earned its place in my tool kit already. Going from SLR cameras I was hesitant to go back to point and shoot but the Nikon V1 is proving to be a very capable little camera.

Tool making

As it has been quiet of late I have started on all the projects left over from late last year. This particular job is to make a bespoke tool for the lock shown in the foreground. The lock is from a Mottura wall safe. It contains a number of levers and is operated by a double bitted key. Here I am making a 2 in 1 pick for the lock as I do not currently have one. The safe operates with two locking systems,  a three number combination code and the key lock. If the incorrect code is set the keys will not open the safe. It is a simple mechanism but its pretty effective. The keys look impressive but it appears that half of the levers are for show. The lock needs to be picked two times (or the key needs to be turned twice) to retract the bolts fully which is a fairly common trait of European mortice locking systems these days. The pick is complete and tested. It needs to be finished off and cleaned up but the main thing is that it works. Once I’ve tuned the pick I will re-install the locks into the safe and test it out as there is nothing like practicing on a real safe. I have made several tools over the past year, some more successful than others but its good fun and teaches you about locking mechanisms. I’m looking forward to getting a micro milling machine and lathe, hopefully in the near future so I can make more complicated tools and equipment. I really enjoy tool making and enjoy making old locks works and cutting keys to antique locks by hand, its very therapeutic but it is very time consuming. When working as a bench locksmith I found these frustrating as they really require 100% concentration and trying to run a shop and answer a phone really was not conducive to getting these keys cut. Found a fantastic site searching the web of a guy who restores and turns old locks and keys into art. This is something I think I may try my hand at in the near future as I personally own some lovely old locks.

Tann 9 Lever lock picking


Happy new year, hope 2013 will be a great year for all my readers.

As things have been pretty quiet of late I have been getting out all the locks I own and I’ve been honing my picking techniques. Every lock is different, they all respond differently and require tools designed especially for that lock. Some pick easily and some are a absolute nightmare. The Tann 9 lever has been on my hit list now for some time. It is a lock that should be respected as it can trap you very easily with its anti pick notches either side of the gate. The lock contains 9 levers, 8 of which (in all the examples I have) have anti pick notches either side of the gate, one lever which acts as a control lever is plain and it is the first lever to set. After this it is a matter of plotting and remembering where the gates are.

The Tann 9 lever lock is found on higher security safes, sometimes two are fitted to the same safe. The following safes contain this type of lock:

Bankers, Cashier, Clarendon, Consort, Fortress, Superbullion, Tenacity, TS1, TS2 and TS3 – there are more and there are variants of this  lock too. Almost all of these locks are protected by glass or other relocking devices so drilling is normally out of the question.

I can open and replace a Tann lock if required or re-lever it to suit a new key