How to Unlock a Box-Lock With a Paperclip

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Learn to pick a box-lock with simple household tools.
Learn to pick a box-lock with simple household tools. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Sometimes, keys get lost and the need to get into a locked box becomes reality. If this happens, one option is to call a professional locksmith. Another is to buy special lock-picking tools. However, sometimes this just isn’t practical because of the cost or urgency. Absent special tools, a few good old-fashioned paper clips can unlock a box-lock quickly and easily -- most of the time.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 jumbo-sized paperclips
  • Pliers

Make a tension wrench out of one of the paperclips. A tension wrench is a piece of metal bent at a right angle. To form the paperclip into a tension wrench, use a pair of pliers to unfold and straighten the paperclip, leaving one U-shaped bend. Use pliers to squeeze the bottom of the U-shape closed. Next, use the pliers to bend the paperclip at a 90-degree angle.

Make a pick out of the other paperclip by removing one portion of the bend in the metal so that a pick extends from the paperclip. The part of the paperclip that was not unbent will serve as the handle. It is helpful to have more than one paperclip available because they may break from the force of being manipulated.

Grasp the lock-box and insert the paperclip that is serving as a tension wrench firmly into the lock. Apply a little bit of pressure to the tension wrench, which will be used to apply pressure to the inside of the lock. Keep the pressure on the paperclip in the lock without moving it around.

Insert the other paperclip that is serving as the lock pick into the keyhole at the same time as pressure is being applied to the tension wrench in the lock. Move the lock pick paperclip around gently inside of the lock while holding the tension wrench firmly in the hole. The lock pick will be used to press up and down on the pins.

The wiggling of the pick will eventually loosen the pins inside of the lock, as long as the tension wrench has been inserted properly. As the lock pick is being manipulated inside the lock, the person holding the pick will feel the movements of the lock mechanism as the lock pins shift. With the right pressure and movements, the lock box lock will open.

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