Impressioning is the art of making a working key for a lock without having to dismantle any part of it.
In my opinion, it is a “must have” skill to any working locksmith, and also a great fun for the hobbyist.
I was first introduced to this method by Barry Wels from Toool Holland. It was in his hotel room at 2 am when he made a working key to a Corbin within 3 minutes or so. I then got a nice kit from UKBK and started practicing by myself. My first key took almost an hour, so I decided to practice at least 3 locks a day and the results came – I was finally able to impression a key in a few minutes.
In order to use this method, all you need is a blank key and a good hand file.
Here is an example of how it works:
This set was bought from ukbk and it is very good one:
After some practicing I moved on to more high-security locks
Kaba 12 pins lock
A Tubular key
I then moved to vehicle locks. Car locks are a different game, as you will need to get 8 different wafer but only 4 at each side. This means that you can only use the key in one direction. Most of the car locks will have 8 wafers with only 4 heights, the exception were Fiat lock with 9 wafers and a Hyundai lock with 5 heights
This is a Mazda key
After the key opens the lock, you will need to cut a new one on a cutting machine, cutting both sides on each side of the key to make it work in both direction
This is a good impression aid I got from Hong-Kong lock picking site
This is a plug I made for marking the pins positions
And finally, a short video with a different approach to impressioning