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How to Pick a Lock With a Knife: 3 Simple Methods to Practice at Home?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to pick a lock with knife

Many people question whether it is possible and how to pick a lock with a knife. The answer is yes, with a suitable knife structure and the right method.

The craft of lock picking lies in your manipulation of tiny components inside a lock through its tiny keyhole. This task requires a great level of agility and precision, which a normal knife fails to provide.

Since most knives are relatively bulky with the only precision point at their shank’s tip, they will have a hard time lifting accurately, which is necessary for lock picking.

Nonetheless, it does not mean you cannot open a door with a knife. This article introduces and explains the top 3 methods you should take advantage of to unlock any door with a simple knife at home.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial


You can certainly pick a deadbolt lock with a knife in no time with the 3 following methods that are highly recommended by professionals for their effectiveness.

  • Method #1: Stick And Wiggle
  • Method #2: Get Some Help
  • Method #3: Put The Knife On A Diet

How to Pick a Lock with a Knife Step by Step Instructions

There are 2 popular tools required for a successful lock pick: a tension wrench to rotationally apply torque to the lock and a pick to manipulate the lock’s pins. We will dive further into each method, so you can opt for the most suitable option.

Method 1: Stick And Wiggle


In the first method, we will guide you on how to make use of one knife to serve two purposes: being the tension wrench and the lock pick at the same time.

Make sure you have a knife blade smaller than the keyway; the blade should fit into the lock without shifting the pins too much out of their place. You may move on to try other methods in this article if the knife cannot meet these requirements.

This method of Stick and Wiggle aims to wiggle the lock’s pins up into the correct position, similar to the way you would do with a lock pick rake.

Step 1: Start inserting the knife as deep into the door lock as possible. Stop when you feel its tip hitting the back of this lock.

Step 2: Apply light pressure on your knife as if you are turning a normal key.

When the lock’s core undergoes a slight rotation, it will apply a necessary force on the pins, allowing you to raise them up to the shear line. This step ensures they will not sit at the same height the right key will raise these pins to.

Step 3: Gently rock the knife in an up and down motion, simultaneously, move it in and out of this lock. Continue this step for 10-15 seconds.

In case the lock does not open, restart by releasing your rotational force on the lock to allow the drop of any pin(s) you have set. Reapply this force again.

Step 4: Be flexible and try to apply diverse degrees of force when you lift up the pins and rotate the knife. When you do lock picking with this rocking motion, lighter forces tend to get the job done easier.

Method 2: Get Some Help


Instead of solely relying on the knife to be the turning tool and a lock pick, we will use your knife only as the tension wrench.

You need to choose a different object for the aid of being your pick — for example, a bobby pin, an actual lock pick, paperclip, or a random item that is thin and stiff enough to fit into the keyway.

Keep in mind that this method requires you to pick a lock with a butter knife and still make room above it to use the improvised pick.

Step 1: Insert the knife into the keyway’s bottom; at the same time, rotationally apply a light force.

Step 2: Take the improvised lock pick and insert all of its length into the lock.

Step 3: Start raising the pick until you see the pins are lifted. After that, quickly jerk this pick out of the door lock, so your pick pulls across all of the pins.

This lock picking technique is known as zipping, and it will add enough force to strike these pins and raise them up into the door lock.

Step 4: If the lock does not open after 4 to 5 good zips, restart this method by releasing your force on this lock so any pins you might have set will drop. Reapply the rotational force again.

Similar to method #1, make sure you are applying different force degrees as you rotate your knife.

Method 3: Put The Knife On A Diet


The third method will require you to plan a little more, so it would not be a good idea to use your new set of steak knives that costs $100.

Instead of picking the door lock with a big and bulky knife, and risking dealing with unwanted problems, why don’t you turn your knife into a pick?

You can certainly create a cool item that slaughters locks by spending quality time with a few good metal files and elbow grease. We are certain that you will be amazed by the amazing results you can get from planning thoroughly.

Step 1: Determine the way your knife-pick will look.

Step 2: Use a marker to draw the desired shape of the lock pick on your knife. This helps you estimate precisely the amount of metal to be shaved off.

Of course, there is no problem in free-handing. But remember that adding some guidelines is the most certain way to not grind away more than needed. You can always get rid of more metal, but putting it back on is impossible!

Step 3: Begin with removing the redundant metal areas around your template. Be careful not to accidentally cut yourself when working with the blade.

Moreover, be extra gentle and cautious of the amount of metal you will file away once you get closer to the marked lines. It is best to cut the smoothest edges on your pick as possible.

Step 4: Considering the thickness of your knife, you might need to thin out the pick by filing down its sides as well. If this new lock pick has a thinner blade than a US quarter, it would be able to tackle most types of locks.

Step 5: In addition, you may cover this new knife-pick with a beautiful polish from sandpaper. It helps minimize friction when getting inside the lock, so your pick will perform much better.


Those were 3 effective and reliable methods for picking a lock with a knife at home. Though it may not be the ideal tool for this job, a regular knife is clearly not the worst solution for lock picking.

Tell us what you think in the comment section. If you find the information in this article helpful, make sure you spread the word with friends and family, so they also know how to pick a lock with a knife. Thank you for reading.

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