Learn How to Make DIY Lock Pick Tension Wrench

Key Takeaway

  • DIY Tension wrench can be easily made from wiper blade inserts, paperclips and bobby pins.
  • Wrenches created from wiper blade inserts are more durable and looks similar to original ones in form and function.

If you are a student of locksport, there will come a point in your journey when you would want to make your own lock picks. More than the affordability aspect, the urge will be driven by getting your hands dirty and get that wow feeling of crafting your own tools the way you want.

In this guide, we will discuss the step-by-step process to make a durable and effective BOK (bottom of the keyway) tension wrench, touching upon the selection of materials, proper shaping techniques, and important considerations to guarantee a successful outcome. With a little practice and patience, you’ll have an authentic, reliable DIY lock pick tension wrench in no time.

So let’s begin the DIY project.

3 Ways to Make Tension Wrench Substitutes

In my experience, a BOK tension wrench substitute can be easily made with these household materials –

  • Wiper blades insert – The Best substitute of real tension wrench
  • Paperclip – Makeshift Arrangement
  • Bobby Pin – Makeshift Arrangement

Out of all the materials mentioned above, wrench made out of wiper blades insert is the most durable and effective on different kinds of locks. In-fact, you will not be able to differentiate between the DIY tension wrench and the real bought one.

Tension wrenches made out of paperclips and bobby pins are more of makeshift arrangements that will prove worthy of efforts in a few situations only.

Theoretically we can also use screwdrivers and coat hangers as tension wrenches but I have never done it so we will skip those for the sake of this article.

Before We Begin

There are a few pointers that we need to keep in mind and tools that we need to gather before we actually start making the tension wrench.

Measuring the Wrench Dimensions

The first step is to measure the dimensions of the wrench that we want to build. For this, the best way is use an existing tension wrench as a template. Generally, “L” or BOK tension wrenches have a length of 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm), while the width is roughly 0.1-0.3 inches (0.5-0.8 cm).

Material Selection

Typically, a tension wrench is made of steel. Some manufacturers like Peterson use Government Steel in their products, which is even better. Steel is a recommended metal for wrenches since sound travels fastest in steel. This means that even the slightest feedback from the lock is transmitted to us in least amount of time.

Wiper blade inserts are also typically made from steel thus making them a perfect choice to build our DIY tension wrench.

Tools Required

Here is the list of tools that we will need in the DIY project.

  • Pliers
  • A file or sandpaper to smoothen the edges
  • Propane torch
  • Cutter
  • Measuring scale

DIY Tension Wrench Craftsmanship

Let’s now begin our little project of making tension wrench in step-by-step procedure.

Making Tension Wrench from Wiper Blade Insert

Follow these steps to make your own tension wrench from wiper blade inserts –

  • Rip the rubber blade from the wiper
Wiper blades. Src: turner motorsports
  • Measure the steel insert length. Ideal length is original wrench length plus the bend end length. Keep some margin for mistakes later on.
  • Hold one end of the insert with the plier and heat the other end with a propane torch.
  • Once the other end becomes red hot, bend it 90 degrees using another plier
  • Immediately soak it in water to steam off the heat
  • If the edge is rough, use a sandpaper or nail filer to smooth it out
  • Your own DIY tension wrench is ready now.

Making Tension Wrench from Paperclip or Bobby Pin

Making a tension wrench from paperclip or bobby pin is similar in nature. Follow the steps below –

  • Straighten out one end of the paperclip.
  • Bend the straightened out end by 90 degrees using pliers.
  • Your DIY tension wrench is ready and should look something like this.
small "L" shape
“L” tension wrench from paperclip

Please note: Tension wrench made from paperclip is a makeshift arrangement and will not work on all locks.

Putting Your DIY Tension Wrench to Test

It’s time to put your homemade tension wrench to test. I recommend trying it on Master Lock 140d as it comes with 4 standard pins (and no security pins) and doesn’t require special tensioning techniques.

If you followed all the instructions mentioned above well, you should not have any difficulty in picking 140d.

Frequently Asked Questions

What alternative tools can be used if a tension wrench is not available?

If a tension wrench is unavailable, you can use alternative tools like a paperclip or a bobby pin to apply tension to the lock. To create a makeshift tension wrench, bend the paperclip or pin into an L shape, ensuring the shorter end is around 3-5 mm in length. While it might not be as effective as a dedicated tension wrench, it can be a convenient substitute in a pinch.

Is it possible to pick a lock without using a tension wrench?

While the tension wrench is a key component of most lock picking techniques, it is possible to pick a lock without one. Bumping and impressioning are two methods that don’t require a tension wrench. However, these techniques can be challenging to master, and you’ll still need specialized tools like bump keys and impressioning files.

How is the top of keyway tension wrench different in usage from a standard tension wrench?

The main difference between a top of keyway (TOK) and a standard (bottom of keyway) tension wrench is where they are inserted into the lock keyway. A TOK wrench is placed on the upper part of the keyway, whereas the standard wrench is inserted at the bottom. TOK wrenches can give you more control, allowing for better feedback and more room for your pick. However, they require more practice to use effectively, and not all locks accommodate TOK wrenches.

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.