How To Pick A Lock With A Knife – Step By Step

Have you ever been locked out of your house or car and didn’t have a spare key? Well, if you have a knife, you can pick the lock! It may seem daunting, but with a little practice, it’s not that difficult.

We often lose our keys to the doors of our homes and become helpless. Sometimes we try to unlock the door with a pin, knife, screwdriver, and other stuff. 

Many people asked me whether or not a door lock could be unlocked with a knife. So today, in this guide, I’m going to share some of the easiest methods with you about how to pick a lock with a knife. 

There are a few methods that you can apply to your door locks to pick them. Though all of them may not work with all the lock systems in your doors, but you can go for them and try.

Read: How To Install A Pocket Door Lock [Easy Guide]

So, let’s jump into it.

Unlock door with knife

Steps to Pick A Lock With A Knife

Before applying the following methods, you need to know a few things. 

First of all, all the door locks are not the same. Some of them can be unlocked easily with these unlocking tools or a Swiss Army Knife, and some of the locks are so much complicated that you need to call a locksmith or an expert. 

Swiss Army Knife
Swiss Army Knife

So if you can’t pick the lock, don’t be disappointed. Just keep patience, apply the methods one by one and repeat them several times. If the lock is not complex, you can pick it up in two or three attempts.

Second, you need to take the right knife for the job. Because the knife we use for cutting is so bulky, you can’t pick a lock with it. You can have a butter knife or something that has small and narrow knife blades. 

Next, you must be very precise and agile while doing this. Also, ensure that you don’t cut yourself in the process. 

Required Tools

You need to pick up the right tools to unlock the door. The following tools will help you.

Method 1: Stick and Wiggle

Usually, everyone uses two tools for unlocking a traditional lock. You need a strong tool to apply tension on the keyhole to turn it to the unlocking direction, and a lock pick to manipulate the pins in the locking mechanism.

But in this method, you have to use the knife only. The knife blade has to enter the keyhole and manipulate the keys, and at the same time, it also needs to twist the locking mechanism. This is why your knife blade should be smaller and narrow enough to fit into the keyhole. So, choose accordingly.


First, insert the knife blade into the keyhole. Keep inserting the blade until it hits the back of the lock. 

Now, apply force to the lock in the unlocking direction. You’ll see it turning a little bit.

Next, move the knife blade up and down so that the pins inside the lock can be in the proper position to make the lock unlocked. Apply rotating force on the knife at the same time. This rotation will force the pins inside to raise and stay at the shear line. 

Finally, apply more rotating force and move the blade up and down until all the pins raise at the correct height that the key would do for unlocking. When the pins are in the right position, twist the knife to open the door lock.

If the lock doesn’t open in this process, repeat it three or four times from the beginning or move to the following method.

Method 2: Getting a little help

This method of picking a lock with a knife is to get a little help from the knife. The previous one required only a knife, but now you will need a knife as well as a strong paper pin. You’ll use the knife as a tension wrench this time, and the pin will do the rest.


  • Take your knife and insert a little of the nozzle into the keyhole and twist it in the unlocking direction.
  • Now take the pin, and insert it into the keyhole as well. 
  • After inserting the pin, put pressure on the inside pins. If the pins are on the upside of the lock, then put pressure on the upside by the pin and at the same time apply force by the knife.
unlock door with knife-pin
  • The turning force created by the knife will keep the lock pins in the right position to unlock. 
  • Move the paper pin towards the lock pins and jerk the paper pin quickly out of the keyhole. 
  • Do the same thing several times until the lock pins fit correctly.
  • Now apply more turning pressure with the knife and do the same with the paper pin.
  • After a few attempts, you’ll be able to twist the lock by the knife easily and open the lock.

If you can’t succeed on the first attempt, start the process from the first step and do the same thing. It may take a little patience. The more you are precise, the more the success rate will be. 

Method 3: Put the knife on a Diet

This method requires a little extra work. In this method, you need to turn your knife into a pick. How to do that? Don’t worry; I’ll guide you.

Before giving your knife a pick-looking shape, you need to get a few metal files and elbow grease. Please don’t take your favorite steak knife because it won’t be useable after this. So take an ordinary one. The knife shouldn’t be bulky as well. 


  • Take your knife and a marker to create the lines on the knife blade. 
  • Using the marker, draw the shape you want your knife to be. 
  • Then take the metal file and start removing the redundant metal from the knife blade. While doing this, make sure that you don’t pass the line you drew already because you can’t put back the metal once you grind away. So be more careful in this process. 
  • Also, be very much cautious and gentle while using the metal file. Don’t cut yourself while working with the knife blade. 
  • Consider the thickness of the blade. You can make the blade thin using the file. Give the blade a perfect shape, so it fits nicely into the lock’s keyhole and works as a pick.
  • You can make your new pick look shiny and polished using sandpapers, though it’s unnecessary. But if you do this, the tool will work more smoothly because of less friction in the keyhole. So, you can consider applying this step.
  • Now take the knife and insert it into the keyhole of the lock. 
  • Put pressure on the lock pins and twist the lock towards the unlocking direction. And that’s it. Your door will be unlocked.
Source: Art of Manliness

Should you pick a lock with a knife?

My answer is No; you shouldn’t. Because using a knife to pick a door lock can permanently damage both the lock and the knife. It can create accidents, and you can be injured in this process. 

So, you shouldn’t try this until you have no other options. If you’ve lost your keys, contact an expert or a locksmith to do the job for you. But if you can’t get help from anybody, only then should you go for this option of picking a lock with a knife.

You can follow any of the above methods to pick the lock. Please be very much careful when applying any of the methods. If you face any issues, contact an expert immediately.

How to pick a lock with a knife and bobby pin?

I’ve already mentioned the process above. You can use the knife as a turning tool and the bobby pin as the pick. 

Insert the nozzle of the knife blade a little bit into the keyhole, and then insert the bobby pin in the same direction. 

Then apply, jerk the pin out of the lock and do it repeatedly until the pins are in the correct position. After that, apply a rotational force on the knife, and your door will be unlocked.

You can read our other guides:


Picking a lock with a knife is never suggested. Though sometimes there remain no other options, and in case you need to go for this option, you can use any of the methods mentioned above.

Never use an expensive and sharp knife, and always keep your hands safe so that you don’t get cut accidentally. Follow the steps one by one and apply them several times to get success. I hope this guide on how to pick a lock with a knife helps you get rid of such issues.

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