Transporting safes

December 17th, 2013

Jord Knaap from KJS tools has come out with a new line of products in his 2014 catalog.

With one of his products he solves a problem that is encountered by safe-technicians around the world: how to transport a heavy safe with just one person? Or how to transport a heavy safe without a specialized hydraulic van?

Jord solved this with his KJS-safe transporter. And I really like it a lot!

With this simple tool just one person can transport a heavy safe. As you can see in the video it’s pretty simple to load and unload and transport it. The nice thing is that you can also use it for transporting other objects the size of a euro-pallet.

Jord does not have all his tools available online. If you are a safe-tech (or high-end locksmith) and want his new ’2014 catalog’ I suggest you contact him directly.

LockCon Preliminary schedule

November 13th, 2013

This year’s theme for lockcon is the “makers view”. We have some of the best speakers in the field and it promises to be interesting as ever before.

On Friday people are welcome in the hostel from 15:00 on and dinner is served at 19:00.
Around 20:30 there is the opening speech followed by a ‘who is who’.

Saturday breakfast is served between 08:00 and 09:00
09:00 – 12:00 Peter Field will give one of his famous presentations about high-security locks
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 13:30 Michael Huebler about the current state of The Open Source Lock
13:30 – 15:30 Prioritizing Pick Designs by Christina Palmer. An illustrated presentation and open discussion of picks and turners design.
16:00 – 17:00 ******* (No Press: presenter asked not to be mentioned on public site)
17:00 – 17:30 Warren Rockley: UAP locks, their security features and how to pick them.
17:30 Dinner
19:30 Alexandre Triffault about Moveable element in keys, how it works, it it’s defeated
20:00 Alexandre Triffault Abloy protec : duplicating a key from a photography and the use of a 3D printer
20:30 Impressioning championships. Abus was kind to sponsor the event again with locks and blanks.

08:00 – 09:30 breakfast
09:30 – 11:00 Ken Person will demonstrate some of his opening tools and talk about their design.
11:30 Start “Dutch Open” lockpick championships
12:30 – 13:30 lunch
13:30 – 15:30 finals “Dutch Open”
16:00 Closing ceremonies
17:00 Diner

There will also be a Toool memberships meeting (ALV) on Friday. At this meeting the new Toool president Walter Belgers and vice President Jos Weyers will inform the members about the way Toool-NL will be run.

We are almost fully booked btw. If you did not receive a mail from Jos a couple of days ago please make sure to mail to confirm your stay!

*Updated the schedule. Somehow the talks of Michael and Alex were missing in the timeline.

Dates for LockCon 2013: November 22/23/24

August 5th, 2013

Mark your calendars, we have a date for LockCon 2013.


The weekend of November 22/23/24 we will be in the good old youth hostel in Sneek for another edition of LockCon.

More information can be found here and the request for talks / presentations is open!

One of the topics will be me resigning as president of Toool. At the OHM conference Walter and Jos became the new Toool president and vice president.

The reason for me leaving is that I am currently very busy with my full-time job. More about that later. First we have to get LockCon going. If you want to visit or give a presentation please email us at

* Edited August 11: put the correct e-mail address in place (Thank you Emiel!)

Electro picks, lockpick competition and back from Poland

December 3rd, 2012

Toool lockpick competition

Interesting news. The Dutch Toool division just released the locks for tenth Toool lockpick competition.

It does contain some interesting locks. A lot of people donate to the collection and my contribution are locks picked up in south-Africa and other countries.

Not all locks have been identified by Jos Weyers (who photographed all the locks). If you can help him identify some of the unknown locks that would be appreciated.

multipick electropick

At the competition only manual hand picks are allowed. Electro-picks are not allowed. If they were, I know what tool to use. By far the best electro-pick on the market is made by Multipick in Germany.

I spoke with one of the developers at the Interkey locksmith show in Poland last weekend and got some impressive demo’s. They make the smallest, most powerful, most silent and (unfortunately) the most expensive electro-pick on my wishlist.

I hope Santa will not forget about me this year…

(more info on my trip to Poland via twitter: barrywels )

* Update 12 December 2012 VIDEO of the electro-pick

Czech lockpick championships

November 22nd, 2012

czech lockpick championships

Just a short blogposting this time to get me starting blogging again :)

Last weekend had a great time near Prague at the Czech lockpick championships. The Czech are friendly, well organized and sure have a lot of very exotic locks.

Our German friends from SSDeV kept scores on their blog (in German).

Below a small video of one of the rounds in ‘freestyle’. Many electronic pickguns and very fast opening times.

International Lockpick party in Hamburg Dec. 28

November 15th, 2012

At the end of the year there always is the CCC congress (see FAQ for details). Very informative and worth your time.

This year the congress will be in Hamburg (instead of Berlin like previous years).

lockpicker party Hamburg

Since Hamburg is the city where locksport more or less was born, it is the ideal place to organize an international lockpicker party. On December 28th all lockpickers are welcome at the party.

And this weekend there is the Czech lockpick championships. I am curious what kind of locks they will use!

Hope to see you there!

Impressioning champion … of the world?

July 28th, 2012

There was a little confusion how to call the championships at LockCon. Should we call them US open or World Championships?

Barry Wels impressioning champion 2012 ... of the world?!?

To keep a long story short: I won the first US impressioning championships. And it was a close call.

The close call was whether or not I would participate. I did not prepare and did not even bring gear (suitcases were full of heavy stuff anyway). It was my new friend Ben Sherman who persuaded me to participate and generously gave me his file. And Jord gave me his spare handle. What followed was me winning all three rounds. And in the third round I was nicely focused and the only finalist to open the six pin lock in 60 minutes. We are all happy the title goes back to the Netherlands.

Even though I won a number of international championships, I am not really much of a competitive player. For me it is more important to be able to open a wide variety of locks in a decent time. This is what I teach at Lock-Experts (PDF) and rely on as a locksmith at But I can not deny it is a good feeling to win.

LockCon 2012 LockPick championships … of the world?

Lockpick champions ... of the world?

Torsten Quast won the lockpicking games, followed by Julian Hardt and Jord Knaap.

I ended sharing the fourth place with “handcuff Ray”. And that is a pity because after a long number of elimination rounds both Julian and I were the only ones who were not defeated. But then I got into a pool of three people and lost, followed by a battle to the finals with Ray. And we both did not open any of the US Corbin locks ending us both at the fourth place.

All fun aside, Torsten seemed to like the idea of being the ‘unofficial’ world champion lockpicking. The Toool board had long discussions on how to organize the first “official” world-championships of LockPicking and Impressioning in the future (in corporation with other sportgroups like SSDeV, Fools etc). The way we envision it is that every locksport and (possibly) locksmith community in the world should organize their own championships and the winners of each of these competitions will be sponsored to fly to LockCon for the first official world championships. But don’t hold your breath for it to happen soon.

What else happened at LockCon?

Besides the warning for tornado’s all went fine.

tour trough the S&G factory

LockCon was held at the LSI facility. A great place with its own museum. Good for ours of looking at special locks. There were unique locks and keys all over the place.

We organized some workshops on interesting topics. At the tour trough the S&G factory we learned they had the ultimate safe to protect what is precious to you.

Lots of networking was done at the late night parties. People would show off their latest tool development, reverse engineer interesting hardware, make new friends and drink till all becomes blurry.

Just google for lockcon and find lots of interesting archives full of nice pictures.

Thanks everyone for making LockCon possible and hope to see you soon at a new event!

Picking 17th century cultural heritage locks

June 30th, 2012

If the key to something you do not use every day is lost, it can take a little while before a locksmith is called. In this case it took them a couple of hundred years to find us!

But that is ok. I like mysteries, especially if I can help solving them. Last week was good for mystery solving and there still are some to be solved (edited 8-july: solved!) .

We were invited into some sort of museum where they had four 17th century treasure-boxes without key. They did send some images that allowed me to do some Research (via barrywels on twitter).

When we arrived we inspected the boxes and padlocks with endocsopes and decided they could probably be picked with simple steel wire bent in an L shape. Click on the image below to see how a similar mechanism is opened using two hooks. One hook lifts the hammer while the other moves the bolt.

lever picking

In a little while we did mange to open a number of padlocks and one of the boxes.

Currently three 17th century treasure boxes are waiting to be opened and at least one of them contains a number of ‘heavy objects’. This is interesting, especially if you consider the boxes were used to transport valuables in ships.

Jord was asked to make a key for the lock(s) and that is quite a task with the special warding. Hopefully I can make a blackbag posting out of that too as it is an interesting process to create such a key. (more nice keys on

The exact location of the remaining boxes has to be kept secret for now not to give anyone any ideas. There will be a follow up soon (after LockCon.US) and hopefully we can solve some more mysteries then.

Just one month: LockCon 2012 (Nicholasville, Kentucky)

June 14th, 2012

LockCon 2012, home of the world championships lockpicking, impressioning and safe combo manipulation

If heaven exists, LockCon is it for us mortal lockpickers. And in one month from now it will be held (July 17/18/19)!

LockCon 2012 in the US

After a number of very successful LockCon conferences organized in Europe, this time the circus will travel to the US.

It is never easy to find a good spot for this kind of event but this year we found the best possible location: the headquarters of LSI (Lockmasters Security Institute) in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

The LSI facility is just perfect for LockCon because of the many areas where the LSI instructors normally train their customers on how to open various kind of locks. These rooms will offer the right atmosphere for our hands-on sessions and championships. And of course there is the in-house Harry Miller lock-museum (that offers napkins so you do not drool over their rare locks)

One thing that I would like to point out is that we have the same agreement with LSI as with Peter Field. Both LSI and Mr. Field will not talk to us about how to open locks. LSI only lets us use the facility on certain hours of the day and Peter Field will only talk about locks in general (in a very nice and detailed way I might add). As he said before: “I am here to talk about locks. How to open them is up to you ….”.

The US Championships in lockpicking, Impressioning and combo-manipulation


Besides many presentations (by Peter Field and others) and hands on sessions (spectacular!) LockCon will also host the US championships of lockpicking, safe combination-lock manipulation and impressioning! There will be people coming from all over the place (to name a few: Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, UK and of course the US) to see who will be the fastest lockpicker in the world. And there are very nice prices to win as our sponsors are known to be very generous. I am curious how people like Julian Hardt and Jos Weyers will do against the people in the US.

Want to join or compete?

There are still a few seat available although getting in may not be as easy as it sounds. We do have a rather strict policy of having to know you before letting you in. Having said that, we can always be persuaded if you have a kick-ass presentation to give on lock-related topics. Memebers of Aloa and/or Savta are also welcome to (try to) register.

You can always try to register or visit our CFP page and see how far you get.

Hope to see you all in one month from now in Kentucky!

Intact-Noodopening (Intact locksmith service)

March 26th, 2012

Sorry for the low volume of blogpostings but I am currently involved in many projects. For example: with Lock-Experts I am preparing some private classes that involve interesting locks to study and come up with solutions.

slotenmaker amsterdam

And with the help of some friends I have set up a locksmith service with the name (intact emergency opening). The idea behind intact-noodopening is to practice what I preach during the lock-experts classes and open locks in the field without damaging them. It is the best of both worlds: make people happy by opening their locks make some money while learning. For the moment Intact-Open is active in the Amsterdam region in the Netherlands. For special projects we are available wherever needed.

Especially the safe-opening jobs are interesting and rewarding. It is a great buzz to open safes without damage and it is highly addictive. In a few cases I have manipulated open some mechanical Sargent & Greenleaf and LaGard combination locks while in other cases I have picked and decodedsome lever locks for customers.

There is a group of locksmiths/specialists that will (try to) answer the phone 24/7. So fee free to give us call (or send us a mail) when you are in need of a locksmith.

Happy new year (in case you are bored)

December 28th, 2011

There is a lot to say and write. Lots of interesting things happening. As always. And 2012 will be an interesting year. In many aspects.

Instead of writing an exiting blogposting I wasted some time on making a puzzle. How many lock related terms/names/organizations (etc) can you spot? (click on the image for a bigger version)

Note: there is no hidden message, just a bunch of words. Any foul language you find is purely accidental.

Lock-Experts at Milipol

October 17th, 2011

Somehow this exercise reminds me of a trip I took with Han Fey in 2007. Except this time I am with some other people and in a different country. But the idea is the same: first time at an exhibition trying to explore new markets.

Hello there!

I have a good feeling about it. If you are visiting MiliPol be sure to stop by our booth in Hall 1 B093.

LockCon 2011 schedule

September 28th, 2011

The LockCon 2011 announcement It’s about time

The big question always is: how to pack a four of five day event in just one weekend? The answer lies in the (preliminary) LockCon 2011 schedule:

Friday, October 21 2011

Visitors are advised to arrive before 18:00 (if possible). Toool representatives will be present in the hostel from Thursday on, and be available all day to assist visitors and assign them rooms and explain the (simple) rules of the event.

18:00 – 19:00. Dinner will be served. We hope the kitchen stays open till 19:30/19:45 for latecomers.

Friday 20:30 – 21:30 “Masterkeys for a non-masterkeyed system” by Han Fey

Many keysHan Fey likes to investigate. On the second hand market he found locks from a facility with180 individual locks. These locks were not masterkeyed. Han did however discover a flaw in the system, allowing a relatively small set of try-out keys to open all the locks. In this presentation he goes into detail how he identified the flaw, narrowed down the keyspace and optimized his attack. Fascinating material.

Saturday, October 22 2011

08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast.

Saturday 09:00 – 14:00 “5 hours, 50 locks, 500 slides” By Peter Field
(Includes Lunch around 12:00)

As many LockCon attendees know, Peter Field has an extraordinary way of looking at locks. Like a pathologist, he cuts locks in many thin slices and captures the result with high quality photography. This unique methods of creating a cutaway view is world renowned. With it he has set a standard many people tried to copy but only very few can even get close.

Peter Field, Lock Pathologist

We are proud and honored to have Peter over for yet another long presentation about the different elements in high security cylinder lock design. Combining his unique cut-away imagery with illustrations from old patents, he will explain how engineers classify the cylinder elements, modify them, develop new ones, and re-combine them all to invent new products for the constantly evolving security market. You will leave this presentation with an outline and a clear understanding of the design constraints and functions of most of the various elements you may find in any lock cylinder.

About Peter Field: he started locksmithing in 1960, and in 1978 was asked to join Medeco Security Locks, where he is now Director of Research. He has over 15 US Patents pertaining to high security locks, with several more patents pending. Being a employee of Medeco one thing is clear: Mr. Field will not discuss any opening techniques. As he told us in previous years: “I am here to talk about locks. How to open them is up to you ….”.

15:00 – 15:45 “State of the art locks in the Stasi era” by Oliver Diederichsen

StasiOliver Diederichsen managed to get his hands on some unique material: complete Stasi manuals of the department responsible for covert entry operations. Many of the techniques and tools can still be converted to work on modern locks. Oliver will highlight one part of the files that talks about the state of the art in locks around the late eighties, and how far the stasi got in bypassing them.

16:00 – 17:00 “Magnetic locks and how to defeat them” by Datagram

Magnetic decoder pick Datagram is a well known expert in the field of lock forensics, but also does lots of other interesting research. Magnetic locks are still considered amongst the most high-secure locks. And in some cases rightfully so. During his presentation Datagram will show what progress he made on bypassing some of these magnetic locks, and demonstrate his custom made opening and decoding tool.

17:15 – 18:00 “Impressioning Abloy Classic” by Jaakko Fagerlund

Abloy impressioning Jaakko Fagerlund is a big fan of Abloy locks and knows a lot about them. And of course he is interested how to tackle the system/ Together with Jord Knaap they improved on Barry Wels his ‘reduced contact area‘ impressioning technique for disc-locks. They found a way to get better marks and make the process more easy, and share their findings in this workshop.

18:00-19:00 dinner

20:00 – 23:00 Impressioning championships.

Impressioning is the fine art of opening a lock by filing a key from a blank. It is an ancient technique that still works on an amazing number of (high security) locks. The championships speak for themselves: who will be the fastest filing a working key to a lock his year? The impressioning championships will be played by the new rules. Meaning 45 people start with impressioning the same lock, and the first six people to open the lock will move on to the finals. Abus reserved some old stock just for these games and donated the C83 cylinders and blanks again this year. Thank you Abus!

Sunday October 23

08:00 – 09:30 Breakfast.

10:00 – 11:00 “Fichet F3D lock analysis” by Michael Huebler

Fichet F3D The Fichet F3D lock is one of the most intriguing locks that came out in a long time. Not easy to get, quite expensive and contains many, many parts. The innner working of the lock also is quite interesting and unique. Michael will take you trough the lock step by step, and there will be an interesting discussion on how this lock maybe could be bypassed.

11:30 – 15:30 Dutch Open lockpick championships.

championshipsWe are not going to play the one-on-one, and ‘winner takes all” that we did last year. It will be fair and balanced how we do it, and it will allow for many small picking contests against a direct opponent. In these games two people will be playing against each other, and the one with the most locks opened, or the fastest time if the same amount of locks are opened, will go trough to the next round. If the two contestants do not manage to open any of the locks they are both out of the game. In case we have an odd number of contestants, there will be three people competing against each other and the fastest two go trough. The last man standing wins!

There always is question about the selection of locks that will be used in the game. The brands will be kept secret, but we will try to arrange just two types of locks and make sure one of these locks is ‘relatively simple’ to open by an experienced picker. The locks used will be ‘standard’ five or six pin locks (so no dimple locks or special high security locks in the finals).

16:00 honoring the LockCon champs

17:00 Early dinner for those who need to travel

More information on how to register for LockCon2011 can be found here.

Expect this posting to change a little in the days to come.

More LockCon

September 8th, 2011

Just a quick reminder: Lockon 2011 will take place in the weekend of October 21-23.

The location is the good old Sneek hostel, and the rules are more or less the same as last year(s). I expect to come out with more news on LockCon around Monday September 12.

We are still looking for people who want to give a presentation (although we already have quite some excellent talks scheduled).

Places are limited, so if you would like to come now would be a good time to let us know.

Hope to see you all there!