How to Unlock a File Cabinet When You've Lost the Key

Written by heide braley Google
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How to Unlock a File Cabinet When You've Lost the Key
(Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Filing cabinets are designed to keep documents safe and are therefore easy to lock. When you lose the key or inherit a filing cabinet with no keys, you may find it frustrating to break into. Some people try to drill out the lock, or bang at it with a screwdriver and hammer but there is no need to get so radical. You can get a lock to open with a few tools and a little patience.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Tension wrench/Allen wrench
  • Small screwdriver
  • Paper clips

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  1. 1

    Analyse the face of the lock itself. See if you can find the manufacturers name and the number of the lock etched into the metal. Jot these down on a piece of paper in case you scratch up the face of the lock too much to read it later.

  2. 2

    Slide a tension wrench or an Allen wrench into the lock and apply medium but steady pressure in a clockwise motion. Use a paper clip doubled back on itself if you don't have lock-picking tools.

  3. 3

    Slide a small flathead screwdriver into the hole of the lock and move the first point of resistance--the first wafer--up and down slightly until you are able to move the tension wrench a little.

  4. 4

    Move the second wafer up and down slightly until it gets into the right position to move the tension wrench a little more. Continue with each of the wafers until the tension wrench can twist far enough to open the lock.

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