Damn, I just can't get it!

As a mechanical engineer, I'm one of those people who wants to be able to do everything.So,
I've been trying to learn the art of lockpicking. Made my own set of picks and started playing
with locks. Well, after a year I've reached a point where no file cabinet, lock box, padlock,
toolbox,handcuff, etc. can resist me. But, Damn, I can't pick a door lock to save my life. I've
tried several manufacturers, even pulled an old door lock apart, studied the pins, reassembled
it with the pins diagrammed, and still couldn't pick it. Is there something I'm missing that someone
might be willing to share with me. I realize you guys don't like to give out specific info (and rightly
so), but could you throw out a pointer or two that might help me "discover" my problem on my own.
For what it's worth, I'm not a "pin bouncer". I'm trying to learn a pin by pin feel but I can't seem to do it
on a door lock. Are they THAT different from say, a padlock, or could it just be some weird mental
block that has me feeling that a door lock is that much different. I mean, S**t, I can generally open a
padlock in a half a minute.
Thanks for any help you can offer
Reply to
Nomen Nescio
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Practice. Practice. Practice. Learn to pay close attention to what the lock is telling you. Develop your dexterity.
Sorry, but that's what it comes down to. This is a skill, nearly an art; there are things you can do to try to improve your skills -- which we WILL NOT discuss here; see the FAQ for flaming on that topic -- but in the end it may in fact turn out that you're one of the folks whose sense of touch and coordination and ability to visualize really aren't well suited to this task.
Cheap padlocks are sloppily made -- what do you expect for $5? -- and since picking is tremendously easier when a lock has manufacturing errors (pin chambers not perfectly in line), that means these tend to be less pick resistant. Better locks are made to tighter tolerances, which makes them less vulnerable. They generally also have more pins, and pick resistance goes up more than linearly with number of pins. Depending on the lock they may also have other features such as spool pins which explicitly increase pick resistance.
Working at a different angle also does make a difference. I find I can pick a lock more easily "in hand" than mounted on a door. See above: Practice. Practice. Practice.
"If at first you don't succeed, try try again. Then give up. No sense in being a damned fool about it."
Reply to
Joe Kesselman (yclept Keshlam
USE THE FORCE, Luke.... said a movie.... if you can pick all the other things, YOU ARE TRYING TOO HARD...
get a door lock... a Kwikset, take it apart and put 1 pin stack in... pick it, FEEL IT... take the pin stack out and move it to another hole, try again...
put 2 stacks in... then 3... etc....
THEN once you got your nerve up, got get a glass door cylinder, a schlage or Yale keyway and try that... in 10 years I have NEVER picked a padlock, and really dont care to any more.
Reply to
Biggest mistake most make when learning is in the tension wrench. Use barely more than it takes to keep it from falling on the ground. Most newbies apply way too much even when you think it's light tension - lighten up. Practice, Practice, and practice - is the best advice to anyone here can give you.. Mike Thomas Lock & Key For an email list discussion of locksmith related marketing concepts join us:
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Bounce those pins!!! for argument sake lets say their are 20,000 different possibilities- trying to feel it is going to take forever, you are not cracking a safe. Most locks are only 5 pins. I have done several thousand lock outs in my career & like a post earlier said, use light tension; & to take it a step further, use varying tension- often you can pick a lock one way & not the other so try changing directions. The key to my success in lock outs is working around locks, not always through them. I have met many locks I could not pick open but, I always got in with minimal damage. On the tension wrench thought, some times I had more luck using a double tension wrench that would allow my pick to drop to the bottom of the keyway opposed to the kind you see in movies.
If you can figure out how to manipulate springs in a pair of handcuffs then picking a lock with pins (as long as they are straight up & down) should be easy for you. When I started as a locksmith we had a set of cylinders very much like the post above described. 1 had 1 pin, 1 had 2 pins etc... I worked the 1st one until it was a joke & moved down the line
Reply to
For what it's worth your success and relative lack thereof probably have more to do with the individual locks than any particular type. Some door locks (key in knob or deadbolt) are very easy to pick while some padlocks are very difficult. Most toolbox and other similar wafer locks are in general not difficult to pick.
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