How to unlock a mini yale lock

Written by michael wolfe
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If you're faced with a lock that needs opening but for which you lack a key, the best method of unlocking it is to pick the lock. Picking a lock allows you to open it without damaging the lock itself or the thing to which it's attached. According to Yale Lock's web site, Yale mini locks are all basic pin tumbler locks, which can be opened by nudging the pins at the top of the lock into place with a thin piece of metal while using another, similar piece of metal to turn the lock mechanism.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Yale mini lock
  • 2 stiff, flat, thin pieces of metal, such as street sweeper bristles

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    Making Your Tools

  1. 1

    Before you can pick the lock, you first have to make your tools. This is done by twisting the metal pieces into appropriate shapes.

  2. 2

    Bend the last centimetre of one of the metal pieces so it forms a 90 degree angle. This is called your torque tool.

  3. 3

    Bend the last 2 centimetres of the second piece of metal into a small pyramid shape, about 1 centimetre in height. This is your pick tool.

    Picking the Lock

  1. 1

    Insert the torque tool in the bottom half of the keyhole, bent side facing up, and twist it to one side, in the way that you would if you were unlocking the lock with a key. Continue to do this for the rest of the procedure.

  2. 2

    A basic Yale mini lock has pins at the top of the keyhole that correspond in height to the ridges on the lock's key; when a key is inserted, the pins are set at the correct height and the door is unlocked. Run the pick tool, pyramid side up, back and forth along the top of the keyhole to try to knock these pins into place.

  3. 3

    Listen carefully: when your pick knocks one of the pins into place, you should hear a little click sound. Yale mini locks have five pins, so you will need to do this five times.

  4. 4

    Continue running the pick over the pins until all the pins have been pushed up to their correct height, at which point the pressure applied by the torque tool should open the door.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not release pressure on the torque tool, as this will cause the pins to fall out of place.
  • Don't give up. While mechanically simple, it can often take a long time to set all the pins in place.
  • While having them in your own home is never a crime, it is often illegal to possess specialised lock-picking materials in public, due to their potential criminal misuse. Check your local regulations before carrying the materials around with you.

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