How to Make a Bogota Rake From Bra Underwire, or Bragota; a How-to.




This instructable is dedicated to the mysterious art of lockpicking. In it, you will learn how to take a section of bra underwire, and turn it into a matched pair of Bogota Rakes.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: What the Heck Is a Bogota Rake, and Why Do I Desperately Need One?

Let's begin with what this device is and how it is used. 

A bogota rake is a special variety of lockpick designed by a brilliant lockpicker by the name of Raimundo. He named the pick after the bogota mountains, because of their sharp peaks and rounded valleys. A rake is a term used to describe a lockpick that has peaks and valleys, and is used to manipulate the pins in a lock by 'raking' (moving the pick in and out) against the pins. A bogota rake is used slightly differently, described by Raimundo as a “jittery motion”, as though the user had consumed too much coffee.

If you are planning on making these, I will assume you know how to pick a lock already, if not, checkout youtube and search for bogota rake.

Take a moment to look at the template above. The advantage of a bogota rake may not be immediately apparent, but using one will make you a true believer. The speed at which most common pin tumbler locks fall prey to this set is extraordinary.  

Step 2: Materials and Whatnots.

Here is a list of things you will need:

1.) Bra Underwire.
2.) Diagonal Cutters.
3.) Chainsaw Sharpening File. I picked up a 3 pack of different sizes from Harbor Freight for like 5 bucks.
4.) Pliers. Anything will work really. I like vise grips, but feel free to use whatever you have laying around.
5.) Needle Files. Again, purchased from harbor freight for a pittance.
6.) Wet/ Dry Sandpaper. Get the black stuff, silicon carbide. Assorted grit pack from Harbor Freight cost very little. 
7.) One thing I have not pictured here is a bastard file. You can get by without it though.

This is a suggested list, however, I assure you that you can make these beauties with various tools. Feel free to make substitutions based on what you have at hand.

Step 3: Cut Them Down to Size.

First thing you're going to do, take your cutters and cut a couple pieces. To do this, take a look at your underwire. You need to look for a piece that mirrors another piece. This is easier to do if you are cutting from 2 underwires from the same bra. If you aren't lucky enough to have both, cut a piece about 5 inches long and then lay it on the remaining section. Move it around until it kind of lines up. To be a matched pair, these sections have to sit together, so you want to find 2 sections that are reasonably similar in curvature and length. If that isn't exactly clear, check the photos provided, they may help.

Step 4: Giving Them the Bends.

Next step is to give the pieces of underwire the characteristic bends. These bends are very important to the jiggling method mentioned before. What you need to do here, is lay the pieces so they are together as best you can and then clamp them with vice grips about an inch from one end. Put a bend in them, but don't try to make it too sharp. A rounded bend is okay. Also, this bend doesn't need to be 90 degrees. A bend of 60 or 70 degrees is appropriate here.  The most important part of the bend is to make sure the pieces are held tightly together. This will make them sit with each other.  

Next, grab the pair about an inch and a half from the bend you just put in the picks. It's time for the twist. Grab the fore- end with another pair of pliers and give it a 90 degree twist. *Note* The twist you put in should rotate the interior of the curve in the same direction as the downward bend you put in a moment ago. Check the photo if this is confusing.

Now, study the pictures carefully, yours need to look like mine. Study them and make that happen.

Step 5: Angle of the Dangle.

Here, i grab the picks together, so that what's done to one, is done to the other. Next take a file, and file the points. This is difficult to explain, but what you need to do, is file the point, so that the exterior of the pick is shorter than the interior of the curve. Enlarge the picture to see exactly what I mean.

Step 6: Lonesome Valley.

Next up, we grab the picks again. I used a small c-clamp to hold them together. I also like to wrap the end in some tough tape to make sure there isn't any unwanted movement. 

Next, I align the chainsaw file so that the diameter of it will intersect with the slope of the filed point. Now, I know that sentence is garbage, so do yourself a favor, study the template from the intro and make the first valley look like that. 

I swear, do it once, and from then on, you will be a bogota machine. The final picture in this set shows exactly what the picks should look like at this point.

Step 7: Twin Peaks.

At this point, it's more of the same. However, you need to separate the picks and from here on out you are going to work with them individually.

One of the picks will have only one peak, the other will have a total of three.

Look at the photo and make it look exactly like that. There is no easier way to describe this and the only tip that I can give is to go slow. Remove very little material with each pass. 

Step 8: Downward Slope.

Here you are going to take your file, and gradually slope the material from back by the twist getting thinner until you reach the lowest point in the most rearward valley of each pick. 

Again, a picture is worth a thousand words here. This takes a while, but perk up! You are getting there. Soon, you will be the envy of people everywhere.

If you are having trouble seeing, open the image, and zoom in. Don't mess this up. I'd hate it if you had to start over, and your underwire supply will begin to dwindle.

Step 9: Filing and Filing.

In this step, you are going to take your triangular needle file and remove the material from beneath the peaks. 

This step removes some of the the weak points in the picks, helping to ensure that they don't snap off inside locks. 

In the first picture, I am pointing to the area you need to remove with the tip of my file. As the pictures progress, you can see the material going away. I didn't want to take too many intermediate pictures because I didn't want to get metal powder in my camera. Continue to follow along with the pictures as I have them laid out. You are getting so close now. 

Step 10: Sanding.

This is a very important step. Some might say this is the most important step. The smoother these picks are, the easier they are going to glide in and out of cylinders. I start with 220 grit paper, and work forward to 1200 grit. This puts an excellent polish on them and makes them superbly smooth.

Now, I'm going to stop you right there. At some point in the sanding, you are going to think to yourself, "I have a dremel! I don't need to do all this sanding by hand!" Hear me now and believe me later, the sanding is tough, but it is necessary. Sure a power tool is going to make it easy, but the chances of destroying all the work you have done so far is just too high. I've done it, learn from my mistakes.

Cut your sandpaper into the size of common playing cards. Then fold them in half. Take your pick and work it back and forth in the fold of the sandpaper, gradually progressing to the finer grit. Soon you will have the perfect polish. You are just going to love it. I am so excited!

Safety reminder: When you are working your picks back and forth in the crook of the paper, you are going to stab yourself. You will do it. Trust me. I stab myself in the thumb at least once for every pair of these i make. Be careful, the only thing between you and tetnis is how hard you jab yourself with the increasingly sharp pick.

Step 11: Polishing.

This is the only point in the build where I can condone the use of a dremel. Take your dremel and your buffing pad and buff the newly sanded picks until they are mirrors. 

Step 12: Finishing Touch.

To finish, take a spring from a click type ball-point pen, and place the picks inside of it. The spring will serve to hold the picks together in transport. 

Pro-tip: Take the picks in the spring, and put a safety pin through it, use the safety pin to attach the pickset to the interior of your clothes.

Step 13: Summation!

These are a handy thing to have around in all sorts of situations, you really owe it to yourself to have a pair. 

That being said, bogota rakes were invented by Raimundo, if you want the real thing, why not head over to Serepick and order up a pair. While this design has been disseminated all over the web, I owe all credit for the shape and method to Raimundo.
I have not seen anyone else make them out of bra underwire. So, I wanted to  share what I had learned from whipping up a few sets of my own. 

This instructable was put together mainly for the folks over at, hope you found it useful!

Here is a video of them working, sorry about the poor quality, it's an hd cam, I'm kind of miffed about the 360 nonsense.

Pocket Sized Contest

Participated in the
Pocket Sized Contest



  • Indoor Lighting Contest

    Indoor Lighting Contest
  • Metal Contest

    Metal Contest
  • Make It Fly Challenge

    Make It Fly Challenge

31 Discussions


3 years ago

I did start from step one, I'm still having a hard time figuring this out. Would you please help out in layman terms. I understand the cross section, just not getting how your doing it. Thanks

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

I am looking at the picture you posted. It looks as though you are simply bending the wire. The pick end requires filing not bending. Do you have a round chainsaw file? You can not get the points on the tip without some serious filing. Bending will not give you the peaks and valleys, furthermore sideways bent like that it won't even fit in a lock. If you post more pics of what you have maybe I can guide you but it really doesn't look like you are filing anything, just bending it. That will never work.

Finally made it and it looks like crap compared to yours. But I got in my door within 10 seconds on the first shot. Great instructable!

1 reply

Man I'm dying to make thus but my print out for it isnt printing out big enough or to big too. how do itt print it out correctly? using gimp for the dpi i think it's called. it's close for sure just want it to be prefect. maybe ill go with the smaller and eyeball it.

1 reply

Thats the best part about rakes like this, it doesn't have to be perfect, often variations in the way they are made end up advantageous for different sizes of locks! So many keyways and pin combinations make for a wide range of usable sized tools. Make one set and if they turn out too large for whatever lock you are fiddling with, make another set slightly smaller. You will use the larger one on some old Schlage cylinder some day.


4 years ago

sweet. how about you make me a pair instead lol. will give this a shot


6 years ago on Introduction

Underwire........ you are putting WAY to much thought into this AND at the wrong times!

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Ha! Oh how I wish it was as simple as my mind wandering. I have an issue throwing stuff away, and apparently bras are not made to last. So, my thriftiness and bras disposability made it only natural that I would have to find a use for the metal in them.


6 years ago on Introduction

King, If you have a local bike shop or REI they can order you packs of flat spokes if you ask. I work at REI and know they will. I should also mention they are made of some pretty solid steel.
I need to build a deadbolt rig and practice more with my set. So far I've only been successful at my house.

2 replies

6 years ago on Introduction

Great instructable! I just made a set from a pair of blade style bike spokes and thy work pretty great!

1 reply

Excellent! I'm glad they work, I have never tried the flat bike spokes. Maybe in the near future I can find and repurpose some.


6 years ago on Introduction

That set looks to have come out nicely! The curve on the pick shaft is a bit odd, but I must admit curiosity as to how that affects utility... does it help, impede, or is it neutral in its effect on use? Personally, I'd think it might detract from the function, but that is only speculation based on how the normal bogota interacts with the pins. It may very well prove to be beneficial. I think I may have to make a set with a curve on it like that to find out how they work for me.

Also, DIY bogotas always make me think of the BIGGOTA I made for MBI over at Keypicking as part of a novelty pick set I did for him (The lightning bolt is pretty cool too.) There is a pic of it in the following thread over there:

1 reply