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How to Pick a Lock with a Nail in No Time? – 6 Steps

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to pick a lock with a nail

Locks are meant to keep your valuables safe and away from prying eyes and unwanted hands. However, they can do more harm than good in situations where you lose the key or it becomes inoperable.

Fortunately, in these dire circumstances, you can always pick the lock, granted that you know how to do it. You do not even need professional tools as long as you can work with household items.

So, I will show you how to pick a lock with a nail in this article.

Step-by-Step to Pick a Lock With a Nail


Picking a filing cabinet locking mechanism with a nail is the same process as picking it with a tension wrench and lock pick. To pick a file cabinet lock, follow these steps:

1. Choose a nail.

Your nail should be flexible and malleable enough so that it can be bent or flattened with a hammer. Also, choose a nail that is as small as the size of the keyway you are going to pick.

2. Take a nail and form it into a tension tool.

Bend the nail in the middle until it forms a 90-degree angle. Flatten the pointy end of the nail until it is tiny enough to enter the keyway.

3. Take another nail and form it into a pick.

Grab a hammer and pound the pointy end of the nail until it is flat enough. Make sure it forms a hook on one end.

4. Insert the nail tension tool.

Make sure the tension tool sits below the keyway. Maintain a force on the tension tool using your left hand fingers.

5. Insert the nail lock pick.

Take your nail lock pick and insert it at the top of the keyway where the pins are located. Wiggle your pick up and down on each pin so that they can be set.

6. Set all the pins.

After the pins are all set, the lock will automatically open on its own, granted that you have maintained force on the tension tool. If the lock doesn’t open, you might have missed a pin, so you have to set it again.

You now know how to unlock filing cabinet without key using a nail. Share this trick with your friends so that they know how to do it too!

Helpful Tips


Other ways to pick a lock with household items

Nails can be unsafe and might prick you if you are not careful. If you cannot find any nail in your household or you deem them too big, try picking your lock with these common household items:

1. Pick a lock with bobby pin

To pick a lock on a file cabinet using a bobby pin, get two bobby pins and form a tension tool and a pick by bending them. Insert the bobby pin tension tool and turn it to create a force, while the bobby pin pick will set the pins inside the lock.

2. Pick a lock with paper clips

Picking with paper clips is the same as using bobby pins. The only difference is that it might not be easy to pick a lock on a filing cabinet with paperclips, as they can be easy to break.

3. Pick a lock with nail clippers.

Insert the file on the clippers inside the keyway of the lock and wiggle it around to open it. This method can help you break into a file cabinet within seconds. If you have trouble picking your drawer, work with a nail file that has a curved tip.


Even without tools, you can always retrieve the items from your file cabinet or any locks for that matter. Don’t beat yourself up and waste time looking for the key when you can open locked file cabinet with a simple trick.

Knowing how to pick a lock with a nail is best for temporary or emergency situations where you do not have time to call a locksmith. Just be careful when handling nails, as they might prick you in the process.

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