Recovering the Combination for the Sesamee Combination Padlock (concl.)
Recovering the Second or Fourth Digit

This procedure takes some practice and skill, but cuts the number of combinations to try down from 100 to 10. You may choose to skip ahead to "Moving the Thumbwheels Up a Quarter Turn to the Correct Numbers in the Combination" and just try the 100 combinations.

You already have modified your feeler so it curls up at the end. Now, add a small bend up at about 1/16 inch from the tip. The idea is modify the feeler so it will slide over a bumpy surface. Now, be sure that the first thumbwheel is precisely on the groove between numbers. Turn the second thumbwheel precisely to a groove between two numbers. Reinsert the feeler at the first thumbwheel as you did when you recovered the first digit. The feeler should insert to about the same depth, but it may insert deeper. If not, work the feeler around and try to get it to insert deeper. Note that it will insert deeper at only one of the 10 grooves on the second thumbwheel. After the feeler inserts deeper, try moving the second thumbwheel back and forth. You should find some resistance when trying to turn beyond the numbers on either side of the groove. Just feel for light resistance, a little more resistance than it takes to turn the thumbwheel when the feeler isn't there. If you apply enough force, the thumbwheel will turn. The light resistance will tell you that you found the spot that you are looking for. If you don't find resistance, the feeler may have gone into a space between cams.

If the feeler doesn't insert deeper, move the second thumbwheel to the next groove and try again. Continue trying until you observe the behavior described, or until you have tried all 10 positions. If you have tried all 10 positions without success, you can go back and try again. Also, you can try to recover the fourth digit using the same method. Replace "first thumbwheel" in the above instructions with "third thumbwheel," and second with fourth.

Moving the Thumbwheels Up a Quarter Turn to the Correct Numbers in the Combination

Move the dials for the first and third numbers in the combination up to the number below the groove. If you have followed the steps for recovering the second or fourth digit, move that thumbwheel to the number below the groove, also. For each thumbwheel, if the number is 2 or higher, move the thumbwheel up two more positions (example, if number is 4, move to 2.) If the number is 0 or 1, the thumbwheel will stop at 0, so move down 8 positions, to 8 or 9, the same place you would reach if you could go up two positions.

Trying the 10 or 100 Combinations


If you have recovered the second number or fourth number, just try the remaining thumbwheel in each of its ten positions, at each position trying to open the lock in the normal way, as described in the next paragraph.

If you haven't recovered the second or fourth number, you may take some "educated guesses" first. See paragraph below. Otherwise, set both the second and fourth thumbwheel to 0. Try to open the lock in the normal way: push in on the shackle and then pull out. Note that some locks are sticky and hard to open even after the correct combination is dialed. If the lock is weathered or shows signs of having had hard use, on each try, push the shackle in and pull out hard several times, to avoid skipping over the correct combination. If the lock still hasn't open, move the fourth thumbwheel to 1 and try again. Continue with 2, 3, 4 and so forth, until you reach and try 9. Now move the second thumbwheel to 1 and try the fourth thumbwheel in each of the 10 positions, 0 through 9, again.

Be careful not to accidentally move the first or third thumbwheel along the way. Continue with the second thumbwheel at 2, 3, 4 etc., until you have tried all ten numbers on the second thumbwheel. Hopefully, the lock will open somewhere along the line. If it doesn't, don't get discouraged and give up. Go back and recheck you work carefully for finding the first and third numbers. Also, note that, if the lock hasn't been opened for a long time, it may be hard to open after the correct combination has been dialed. Listen for a different sounding click when the shackle is pushed into the lock. Work the shackle several times to attempt to release stuck parts inside the lock.

Educated Guesses

Remember that the combination was set by a user, and the user may have chosen a combination that was "easy to remember." If the first and third number differ by two, try a sequence. For example, first digit was 3 and third way 5, so try 3456. If the first digit is 1, the combination may be a year in the 1900's, so try 9 as the second digit, and all 10 possible fourth digits.

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