The National Locksmith Guide to: Advanced Wafer Lock Reading by Robert Sieveking 

ISBN: 193592064-2
Publisher: Sieveking Products Company
Pages: 243 Pages
Dimensions: 8 ½” x 5 ½”  
Price: $49
Purchase Instructions: Via the author’s web site.


  1. The Wafer Lock A good introduction to wafer locks, including the GM sidebar lock, master-keyed wafer locks, single-sided, double-sided convenience, and true double sided locks. 
  2. Wafer Lock Reading Tools  A discussion of Key-Scope and Welch Allyn Otoscopes, a wafer depressor/reader that Sieveking sells, and how to make a spring shutter tool to help with automotive doors. 
  3. Key Making Techniques  How to lay out spacings on keys even when the spaces are unknown, how to do it via impressioning, and a discussion of depths and filing technique.  
  4. The Reading Method  How to use an otoscope and a tool to pull down the wafers one at a time and read them. 
  5. Reading Cabinet Locks  Goes over specific locks and their unique characteristics as applies to sight reading: Guissani flush T-handle, L-handles from Yale, National, and Bauer, T-handles from Bauer and National, and furniture/tool box locks from Haworth, Corbin, CompX, Shaw Walker Pundra, Huwil, Fort, Hon, ESP, National, Global, Staples, and Hurd.  In some cases, spaces and depths are given, along with key blanks and other useful information.  There are a model or two that would throw off most locksmiths and this chapter describes how to deal with them.   
  6. Chrysler 7 Wafer Y-154 This, and the other automotive sections, shows how to use the Fast Facts books to find the key blank, spaces and depths, and what positions the wafers are in in the various locks on a car.  It walks through an example of each lock. 
  7. Chrysler 7 Wafer Y-157 
  8. Chrysler 8 Wafer Y-159 
  9. Ford 10 Wafer H-54 
  10. Ford 8 Wafer H-75 
  11. GM 10 Wafer 
  12. GM “Z” Wafer 
  13. GM 6 Wafer Side Bar These cannot be sight read the normal way, but there is a work around. 
  14. Foreign Autos This covers dealing with stepped wafers 
  15. Motorcyles 


This is an exhaustive book on making keys for disc tumbler locks via sight reading.  It is a very useful skill when a key cannot be made by code.  Impressioning is often used to make keys for locks without codes, but impressioning can be rough on locks and can be time consuming.  Sight reading is where a locksmith looks into a disc tumbler lock, observes the relative heights of the wafers, and cuts a key accordingly. 

The first time you look into a lock, write down the observed disc heights, cut a key accordingly by space and depth, and it works the first try—that is a mile stone.  It can be fast and has no risk of damaging a lock—so easy it is almost fun.  But it does require some skill and some special tools.  The Foley-Belsaw course, and the old Locksmithing Institute course each had a chapter on sight reading, but they were just enough, in my opinion, to introduce the topic.  There could be a steep learning curve going up against anything but the most ordinary locks.   

This is where this book comes in.  It goes over a lot of the potential landmines and could save someone a lot of frustration in learning the skill. 

It is a useful skill in automotive locksmithing, but it can be used for non-automotive wafer locks as well.  This book devotes a very large chapter, around 60 pages, to sight reading non-automotive locks, including nuances specific to certain locks that could throw you off.  So it is a useful book even if you have no interest in automotive work but do need to make keys for office furniture, L and T-handle locks, or locks for tool boxes. 

Sieveking has a less-expensive book for an introduction to sight reading, but for a little more, why not get the big book?