Raking Techniques

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Torque = turning force × lever length
TorqueµLightMedium HeavyRotate actuatorBend turner
oz·in¼½ 1248163264
g·cm9183672 144288576115223044608

Applying appropriate turner torque is essential for effective raking. Use as little torque as possible to avoid seizing the pin stacks while allowing the pins to set, but use enough torque to compensate for plug friction and return springs. Some locks require virtually no torque, or microtorque just sufficient to keep the turner from falling out of the keyway, and hundreds of times more torque to rotate the actuator which throws the bolt or releases the shackle. Gradually increasing torque while raking can be effective for padlocks with strong plug return springs. Grip the rake firmly while simultaneously using a gentle touch on the turner. Measure force with a digital scale and multiply by distance from the keyway to calculate torque. Apply force closer to the keyway to reduce torque. Modulate torque as necessary.


Not every lock can be raked, but with good tools and technique, raking can be much faster than single pin picking. There are many types of rake, but most of them are not very effective. The snake and batarang rakes span only 2 pin stacks, requiring almost as much movement as a diamond or hook to set all of the pin stacks. The most effective rakes span all of the pin stacks with a cycloid or sinusoid wave structure, such as triple and quad wave rakes. Bogota style triple wave rakes with an integral turner have a shaft length optimized for full insertion into standard locks with 5 pin stacks, but quad wave rakes require less insertion depth precision with 5 pin stacks and work better with 6 and 7 pin stacks.


Oscillating with an 8Hz ⅛" in-out stroke is an extremely effective technique with wave rakes and bogotas that requires practice to master. The pins should glide up and down the wave troughs without crossing multiple wave crests. Because the common triple wave rakes barely span 5 pin stacks, insertion depth must precisely align with the pin stacks. A firm grip is required to oscillate at full speed without drifting out of alignment or drooping the rake tip. Lift the pin stacks less than ¼ of the way, and oscillate while maintaining force on the pin stacks. With good technique, some locks will open instantly.

Scrubbing is easy, but not as effective as oscillating with good form. Use long smooth strokes. Stroking is unidirectional raking, often using a hook. Gently caress the pins on the out stroke. Ripping is violent stroking. Using high speed and force for an instant open may damage lock pins. Rocking is easy and gentle on the lock. Rapidly modulate the angle while slowly moving in and out. Lifting is similar to rocking. Raise the pin stacks, altering the angle and insertion depth with each lift. Modulating the angle, force, speed, and stroke sometimes succeeds when simpler techniques fail. Mixing raking and single pin picking can be faster than using either technique alone for difficult locks.

Oscillating Scrubbing Stroking Ripping Rocking Lifting Modulating Mixing