Hot Topics: Unlocking a Mystery Wardrobe

Here on we enjoy providing a place where home improvement novices and experts can come together to share ideas and advice. Inside our Forums, users can browse threads to see what exchanges are taking place on a topic of interest or start their own dialogue by posting something for the community to take part in. With over 250,000 members and counting, this resource is quite active so each week we highlight one of the conversations that may just help you with that next DIY project.

Lots of people love antiquing. It’s a good way to spend a weekend on the hunt, and you can save money decorating or furnishing your home, with pieces that were made to last. But when parts are missing (or your significant other loses them) they can be hard to replace or even identify. That’s where the Forum comes in.

Original Post: Any idea what kind of key this is? Antique Wardrobe key

wardrobewoes Member


My boyfriend purchased an antique wardrobe on craigslist with a lock and key door. Somehow in transit he managed to lose the key to the wardrobe. I have a beautiful, locked, wardrobe in my bedroom and would love to break in somehow. I had a locksmith come to try and open it to no avail. He didn't have the tools for an antique item.

I'm wondering if anyone knows what kind of key this is from the few photos that I have. Any other tips you have on how to break into the wardrobe are welcome! I've tried taking the hinges off but it's proving difficult.

Thank you!

Highlights from the Thread

PJmax Forum Topic Moderator

I believe it would be called a hollow shaft skeleton key. Not a high security key by any stretch of the imagination. Most older locksmiths would know how to pick it open.Skeleton keys

Northern Mike Forum Topic Moderator

I learned how to pick them pretty quickly when I got myself stuck in one of our bathrooms. (Long story, was pretty funny though.)

You can buy "blanks" or "master" keys at most security key shops. I picked up a couple of them for around $4 each. They are not as nice looking as the originals however.

wardrobewoes Member

Thank you everyone.

I will try and find a suitable skeleton key to get it open. I am surprised that if this is such a common key, the locksmith I tried wouldn't have the tools to open it. I guess I will just have to ask around.

Thanks for all your help!

PJmax Forum Topic Moderator

It only takes a paper clip to open it but most younger locksmiths have probably not worked with them before.

Northern Mike Forum Topic Moderator

If the lock is in good working order, this is correct. I have a few of my many locks that where stuck due to not being used in 50-75years. My locks are all interior doors, so they may not have seen the weather that lock has seen.

Alternatively, the locksmith may not have wanted to be responsible for any damages. Those locks are easy to damage internally due to their age (I damaged my bathroom lock picking it).

Read more: //