We received a safe as compensation from the owner of another safe company. Photo 1 shows a Bischoff TRTL15x6. A formidable high security burglary safe that provides torch and tool resistance on all six sides of the safe. We received the safe locked. Yup, the owner didn’t have the keys or the combination to the safe. Luckily, one of the combination locks was unlocked. On this particular safe, the two combination locks are set up with a redundant mechanism. This means that only one combination lock needs to be unlocked to unlock that portion of the safe mechanism. The key lock also needs to be unlocked to open the safe door.
To open this safe as we had it, I needed to unlock the key lock. There are several ways to defeat a key lock in a safe. One way is to drill the vital area of the key lock to remove the blocking component that prevents the lock from unlocking. Once the block component is removed, the key lock can be unlocked with ease. I always use this approach with caution and take several things into consideration. The first consideration is, is there is a readily available replacement lock for the one that would be drilled? The second consideration is how difficult of a job is drilling the lock going to be? In this particular case, replacements were hard to come by and the drill job could be time consuming and messier than I would like.
The second method is to pick the key lock. Key locks found in high security safes are quite different than the locks used to secure standard commercial and residential doors. Special training and a pick made for the specific model key lock is needed. The practice and training to become proficient is quite time consuming. As a result, there are VERY FEW technicians that are proficient in picking high security key locks. Also, the picks are fairly costly. Being expensive and requiring a lot of practice keeps most safe technicians from becoming proficient at this rare skillset.
The method I chose was to pick the key lock. I chose this method because I am proficient at picking some high security key locks and it would be less time consuming than trying to find a replacement lock. The blue tape on the safe door contains the notes I recorded during the picking process. Picking the key lock took approximately 30-45 minutes. Photo 2 shows the door of the safe opened.
Photo 3 shows the key lock from the Bischoff safe. In order to make the keys to this key lock, I first had to find a suitable key blank. Try as I might, this proved to be a harder endeavor than I thought. I ended up making my own key blanks for this key lock. Yes, you read that correctly, I made the key blanks in the shop. Photo 4 shows the completed keys alongside the key lock. All that was left to do was reinstall the lock in the safe and the job was the complete.
In case you may be wondering, making bit keys from scratch is not something most lock or safe shops are capable of doing. One of our specialized services is machine shop work. This allows us to make a wide variety of parts needed for our lock and safe work.