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Help with Impressioning

Do you struggle with impressioning keys? If you do, you are not alone, but here’s a technique to help you get back on track!


In my experience, impressioning is mostly skill, but the remainder is confidence. If you find yourself struggling with impressioning, your confidence goes down and it's not going to go very well. I can relate it to golfing. There are times I'll go out and I'll be hitting the ball. It's wonderful even my miss hits seem to land in the general area that they're supposed to. Other times I go out and I am hitting houses. Having all sorts of problems, my confidence goes way down, and I keep hitting bad shot after bad shot. I think that's what happens with impressioning. A lot of times, we can go through these cycles where it's difficult. So, allow to show you a method that can help you get back on track

I learned it from a guy who was good at impressioning. I was like, ‘How do you do it? What are you doing? Show me!’ And he was like, ‘Simple. I don't use a pile.’ It doesn't make much sense because how do you impression without a pile? Instead, he uses his code machine. And that's the method we're going to be going over.



Put your pile aside because you're not going to be using it. Get a disk tumbler lock that has keys to with code series. We want to go disk and not pin because a disk has a lot more tolerance, and it's a great place to start.

Code cut a key - look the code up in your code program, and then cut a key for it. Once you've got the right code series, bitting, and cut a key that works, take the keys that work and just set them aside.


Take a blank key and clean off the top a bit. You can use a pile.


Once you've cleaned off the top of the key, you're going to be looking for the marks. Put the key in and try to get those impressioning marks.


Where you believe you've seen them, put the key into your code machine, and go down one depth on those areas.

This is where it gets good because a lot of times when we're Impressioning, we're not sure if we went deep enough or if we went too deep. What we're doing here is making you make the decision, ‘Is that a mark or not?’ And if you believe it is, you're going down one depth. There's no halves here.


Once you've done that, put the key back in and try to get those marks again. Once you identify where the marks are, put the key back into your code machine. In those spaces where you see the marks, go ahead and bring those spaces down an additional depth. Keep doing this until you get a key that works.

As you go through this technique, your decision making starts to be firm. Like, ‘This is a mark. I'm going to bring it down a depth or it's not a mark?’ You're going to get to the spot where there's no 15 little depths on the key. And as you keep going through this method, all of a sudden, the key is going to work. Now hopefully at that point, you're going to find yourself being like, ‘I get it. I'm seeing the marks; I'm bringing them down a depth until I get a key that works.’ There are other times where you're going to be, ‘I thought that might have been a mark, not quite sure. And so I just left it and I just started working on the other marks.’ That's going to help build your confidence. Once you are comfortable and successful in this technique, start using it on locks that you don't have the key for or don't have the key pattern memorized. As you do that and as you progress, you can bring the pile back in, and you're going to be a lot more in tune with what's going on.


There you have it, a fun and basic technique that can help elevate your impressioning game. I want to know how many of you out there have used this method; have you found it helpful? And if you're good at impressioning, do you have any tips or tricks that you can put in the comments to help other lock boss community members? Thank you, and we'll see you next time.

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