Being locked out of your property is a nightmare. Whether you’ve lost your keys, locked them in or the lock is playing up, professional locksmiths have the tools and expertise to get you back in. Two of the tools they use are lockpicks and drills. Here’s a quick guide on how Tony’s locksmith uses these tools to help their customers in Cardiff.

    What Does a Locksmith Do?

    Locksmiths are trained professionals who work with locks and security systems. They offer key cutting, lock installation and emergency lockout services. When faced with a locked property locksmiths use various techniques and tools to open locks without causing damage.

    Lockpicking: Non Destructive Entry

    Lockpicking is the first method a locksmith will use to gain access to a locked property. This involves manipulating the internal components of a lock to open it without the original key. Here’s how it works:

    1. Understanding the Lock: A locksmith will start by examining the lock to see what type and mechanism it is. Most household locks in the UK are pin tumbler locks which can be picked with standard lockpicking tools.
    2. Using the Tools: The primary tools for lockpicking are the tension wrench and lockpick. The tension wrench applies slight pressure to the lock cylinder and the lockpick is used to manipulate the pins inside the lock.
    3. Manipulating the Pins: Inside a pin tumbler lock are several pins that need to be aligned at the shear line to open the lock. The locksmith will insert the lockpick into the lock and feel for the pins. By lifting each pin to the correct height while maintaining tension with the wrench the locksmith can open the door.

    Lockpicking takes skill and patience. Experienced locksmiths can pick a lock in minutes, non destructive entry.

    Drilling: A Last Resort

    While lockpicking is the preferred method due to its non destructive nature, there are times when it’s not possible. For example high security locks or damaged locks won’t respond to traditional picking. In these cases locksmiths may have to drill. Here’s how drilling works:

    1. Assessing the Lock: Before drilling the locksmith will assess the lock to see the best approach. This involves identifying the lock’s structure and the drilling point.
    2. Choosing the Right Drill Bit: The locksmith will choose the right drill bit for the lock. High security locks will need more robust drill bits to drill through hardened steel.
    3. Drilling the Lock: The locksmith will drill a small hole into the lock at the correct location, usually where the pins are in a pin tumbler lock. This will destroy the pins and the lock can be turned with a screwdriver.
    4. Open the Door: Once the lock has been drilled and the internal mechanism compromised the locksmith can turn the lock cylinder and open the door.

    Drilling is a last resort because it destroys the lock and will need to be replaced. However it’s an option when other methods don’t work.

    Professional Service

    When choosing a locksmith make sure you choose a reputable and experienced one. In the UK many locksmiths are accredited by organisations such as the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) which means they follow high standards of practice and ethics.


    Locksmiths use a combination of skill and special tools to help customers gain access to a locked property. Lockpicking is the preferred method due to its non destructive nature, it requires precision and expertise to manipulate the internal components of the lock. When lockpicking is not an option drilling is an alternative but the lock will need to be replaced afterwards.

    Now you know how locksmiths use these tools you can rest easy next time you get locked out, knowing they have the tools to get you back in quickly and professionally. Whether it’s the delicate art of lockpicking or the brute force of drilling locksmiths are there to get you back in when you need it most.


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