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Locksmithing is a trade that integrates lock picking, metalworking, technological expertise, and even basic carpentry. Locksmiths today serve different purposes and specialize in different skills. They can change locks or create keys for homes and offices. Locksmiths also install high-quality locks and design sophisticated locking mechanisms.

Basic lock-picking tools come from the arsenal of the locksmith. There are key turners, lever picks, manual picks, and tension wrenches. More experienced locksmiths may use special opening tools like bells and cylinder crackers, as well as milling machines with grinder discs or bits, cutting burs and grinders.

Different keyways require the use of different tools. Slim-line lock pick sets (narrower than standard) are best for Euro locks, affording the locksmith greater access to pins in the keyway.

Pulling and cracking devices are also called destructive tools. Some locksmiths equip themselves with toolsets containing bells with pulling screws. The bell can crack door-lock cylinders. Wedges are also utilized in unlocking doors. A device known as an air wedge is slipped between a door and its frame. The locksmith pumps the wedge full of air, thus increasing the space in the doorframe and allowing his tools more access.

The technique for opening car doors uses an instrument similar to the air wedge. An airbag is slid into a space in the doorframe. This affords the locksmith space to use a lock pick or a lasso, which is an instrument to procure the keys from inside the car. The lasso can also be used in vehicles with upright door locks. The lasso’s noose is tightened around the lock and subsequently pulled. This works with mushroom or thumb-style locks as well.

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