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Author Topic: I Might Start a New Hobby: Lock Picking Updated: Lockpicks Have Arrived.  (Read 2402 times)
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ATB
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« on: December 15, 2008, 03:35:17 PM »

Seems like it might be a good skill to develop.  Gerstmann listed a set of lock picks on his Christmas list over at Giant Bomb. I followed the link and sure enough there's a set there and a book on how to do it.

I would use this power only for good though...
« Last Edit: December 22, 2008, 08:09:26 PM by SensuousLettuce » Logged
wonderpug
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2008, 03:50:43 PM »

14 pieces?  That seems a bit overkill.  You're just going to end up using one torsion wrench and your one or two favorite picks.  My favorite pick shape is the second pick from the left in this picture (third tool from the left).



That pick shape is great because it really lets you feel each individual pin and really get a sense for what's going on.  The other shapes might be better for raking or other quick & dirty techniques, but as a hobby I think the finesse option is more satisfying.

I'd practiced entirely on a small collection of padlocks at home, but it was a glorious moment of heroism when the skill came in handy in a real-world application.  A neighbor of mine in an apartment complex had locked herself out of her house, and she was desperate to get back in because of some crisis or whatever.  The landlord wouldn't be able to rescue her until the end of the day, and by then the crisis something something.  She knocked on my door asking for help, and I asked if she wanted me to try and pick her lock.  She did.

Boy is it a lot harder to do on an unfamiliar lock when someone is watching over your back and extremely desperate to get in as fast as possible.  It took a minute or two, but *click!*, I got her in!  I was bragging to my then-girlfriend now-wife for weeks on end.  "My useless geek hobby actually had a practical application!"  "My useless geek hobby actually had a practical application!"
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2008, 04:02:19 PM »

a friend of mine bought some lockpicks from Galls.  the first time I played around with them it took me about 30 seconds to pick the lock on their apartment door.  I imagine it didn't make him and his roommate feel too secure since it was my first time ever using lockpicks.  just remember, they're only handy if you're locked out and you actually have them on you  icon_wink
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2008, 04:04:06 PM »

Of course, that comes up against the legality of owning and/or carrying lockpicks in your jurisdiction.  Having this as a hobby tends not to be looked upon highly by the local LEOs.
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2008, 05:06:26 PM »

Pug, you are so quietly... awesome!   nod

All you lockpick folks put my bent-butter-knife skills to shame.  I'm really, really good with a Lock Jock, though, getting people into their cars.  And yeah, I keep it in my truck, so it's only good to let other people into their cars.  Luckily, I've only ever locked myself out of my car once in my life, and hopefully will never do that again.   icon_razz
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2008, 05:32:14 PM »

You know, it would be funny if I hypothetically had a group of 9 other guys, who were hypothetically going to Vegas to hypothetically pull off the biggest heist in history. So Pug, how are you at safe cracking?  ninja
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2008, 05:35:37 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on December 15, 2008, 05:32:14 PM

You know, it would be funny if I hypothetically had a group of 9 other guys, who were hypothetically going to Vegas to hypothetically pull off the biggest heist in history. So Pug, how are you at safe cracking?  ninja

You need to know if Pug drives a minicooper.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2008, 06:51:47 PM »

Once I locked my keys in my car taco bell. A locksmith came and tried but could not get the door unlocked with his tools (he was probably just crappy I guessed). The window was down on the passenger however, just enough to get a straighted coathanger in. After being unsuccessful with trying to open the lock from the inside with the coathanger, I decided to try to get the keys out of the ignition. After a few attempts and re-forming the end I was able to hook onto the keyring and pull the keys out of the ignition. The force of the pull knocked them off my coathanger but they landed in the passenger seat thankfully, so I was able to rehook them. I was really excited as I pulled the keys up to the tiny crack and realized I had an additional problem, that being a keyring full of keys does not really fit through a tiny crack. Eventually though I was able to get my unlock key through the crack and was able to remove it from the key ring that was on the other side. Yeah! That was 20 years ago and I haven't locked my keys in the car since.

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wonderpug
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2008, 07:09:16 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on December 15, 2008, 05:32:14 PM

You know, it would be funny if I hypothetically had a group of 9 other guys, who were hypothetically going to Vegas to hypothetically pull off the biggest heist in history. So Pug, how are you at safe cracking?  ninja

You almost had me, but after getting in trouble for some reason for helping the above-mentioned neighbor get into two dozen other apartments she had locked herself out of (she's really just such an airhead) I'm a bit wary of these kinds of favors.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to help these nice Los Locos stereo repair people get into all these parked cars and then help my good friend Oscar dig a tunnel to his safehouse.
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mytocles
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2008, 07:41:50 PM »

Quote from: Toe on December 15, 2008, 06:51:47 PM

Once I locked my keys in my car taco bell. A locksmith came and tried but could not get the door unlocked with his tools (he was probably just crappy I guessed). The window was down on the passenger however, just enough to get a straighted coathanger in. After being unsuccessful with trying to open the lock from the inside with the coathanger, I decided to try to get the keys out of the ignition. After a few attempts and re-forming the end I was able to hook onto the keyring and pull the keys out of the ignition. The force of the pull knocked them off my coathanger but they landed in the passenger seat thankfully, so I was able to rehook them. I was really excited as I pulled the keys up to the tiny crack and realized I had an additional problem, that being a keyring full of keys does not really fit through a tiny crack. Eventually though I was able to get my unlock key through the crack and was able to remove it from the key ring that was on the other side. Yeah! That was 20 years ago and I haven't locked my keys in the car since.

I'd have to say, since it was 20 years ago, that the locksmith must have been crappy, lol.  Some newer cars may have deterrents built in, to keep the Lock Jock from getting where it needs to - but 20 years ago, there were almost no cars you couldn't unlock with it.  I think I was unable to unlock one car, lol... in 25 years as a cop.  And tow truck drivers used them all the time, to tie off the steering wheel or release the emergency brake, etc. before towing... and they didn't fail any more often than I did.  Practice makes perfect!  nod

One helpful tip, if anyone finds themselves in the same fix... make sure that whatever tool the responder is using, that they use it on the passenger side.  If they screw it up and break the lock, or disconnect it inside the door, you won't want it to be on the driver's side!
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2008, 08:17:42 PM »

I once locked my keys in my car. Got the door unlocked with a ruler. Yep, good ol'fashioned wooden ruler. (it was an '86 Monte Carlo if you are wondering).
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2008, 08:21:51 PM »

i actually considered fabricating my own picks.  i've also read a few guides for it and attempted a few times on padlocks i own.  it is a pretty cool feat to pull off.  never had to use it in a real situation though. 
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ATB
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2008, 08:30:43 PM »

I left my keys in the car of my 88 mustang.  Those stupid cars had their doors unlock when you pulled the door lever, so fashioning a lasso out of my shoelaces, i dropped it down through a crack in teh window, looped it around the handle and pulled it open.
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2008, 11:19:55 PM »

I didn't realize we had so many MacGyver's on this forum.
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2008, 11:42:40 PM »

Quote from: Toe on December 15, 2008, 06:51:47 PM

Once I locked my keys in my car taco bell.


dude, you had a taco bell car? awesome.
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Biyobi
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« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2008, 02:09:56 AM »

Quote from: happydog on December 15, 2008, 08:17:42 PM

I once locked my keys in my car. Got the door unlocked with a ruler. Yep, good ol'fashioned wooden ruler. (it was an '86 Monte Carlo if you are wondering).
I never really paid attention to the year and model name of my rulers.  You're hardcore, man!
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« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2008, 04:45:23 AM »

Quote from: Toe on December 15, 2008, 06:51:47 PM

Once I locked my keys in my car taco bell. A locksmith came and tried but could not get the door unlocked with his tools (he was probably just crappy I guessed). The window was down on the passenger however, just enough to get a straighted coathanger in. After being unsuccessful with trying to open the lock from the inside with the coathanger, I decided to try to get the keys out of the ignition. After a few attempts and re-forming the end I was able to hook onto the keyring and pull the keys out of the ignition. The force of the pull knocked them off my coathanger but they landed in the passenger seat thankfully, so I was able to rehook them. I was really excited as I pulled the keys up to the tiny crack and realized I had an additional problem, that being a keyring full of keys does not really fit through a tiny crack. Eventually though I was able to get my unlock key through the crack and was able to remove it from the key ring that was on the other side. Yeah! That was 20 years ago and I haven't locked my keys in the car since.



I only ever did it once, 35 years ago. I was enrolling in community college and I had to drop off a form, because in those days the internet was made of paper. I didn't want to hassle with downtown parking, so I just pulled up in front of the admin building, jumped out of the car and sprinted indoors -- illegal parking was a dastardly offense in my hometown, but I was literally going to be only a minute or two. You have already guessed what I discovered when I sprinted back out to my Opel a minute or two later.

I went across the street to the parking garage (wishing now that I had just given them their 50 cents) and borrowed a coat hanger from the attendant. I was trying to jigger my lock, without results because my foreign car didn't have the American convention of popup knobs that yielded so well to coat hangers. Then the police showed up.

I don't know how he did it, but the cop had me inside my car in 30 seconds. With my first parking ticket, of course.
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« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2008, 02:15:33 PM »

Had a locksmith at my door a few years back, took him all of 10 seconds to open it... nice security I thought.

Anyways, its illegal in denmark to own lockpick tools, and its a jealously guared secret how to do it. Actually kinda reminds me of how guilds worked in olden days, with craft secrets and all...
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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2008, 02:25:15 PM »

In America I think there's only a handful of states where just plain possession of lockpicks is illegal without a license.  Everywhere else it's like owning a crowbar: as long as there's no malicious intent it's not against the rules.

If you're worried, just buy the torque wrench; that's the hardest piece to makeshift replicate. It's not a pick, it's just an L-shaped piece of metal! slywink  Then whenever you need to get into something, it's really easy to make the actual pick out of a paperclip.
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ATB
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« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2008, 03:35:33 PM »

Lockpicks and lockpicking books are en route to my house. Next stop: Bank Vaults.  ninja
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« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2008, 04:23:21 PM »

Back in my Navy days I was coming out of the grocery store when I noticed an older woman parked a couple spaces down from me struggling to get into her car.  I asked her if I could help and she said that she'd locked her keys in the car and had no way to open the door.   I happened to have a coat hanger in my car so I quickly bent it into the appropriate shape and hooked her door lock.  A quick tug and her door was unlocked and she was able to get into her car.

She thanked me and asked if I was a police officer and I replied, "No ma'am.  Convicted car thief."   She suddenly seemed in a hurry to get out of there.


There was a guy on my ship that was habitually locking his keys in the car so we suggested to him that he might want to pick up one of those magnetic key boxes and stash a spare somewhere on his car in case he should ever lock himself out again.

Several weeks later we were coming out of the bar when sure enough he discovered that he'd locked his keys in the car yet again.  We asked if he'd ever gotten around to getting one of the key boxes and thankfully he had done so.   We asked him where the spare key was and he said, "under the hood." 

"Um.. Don't you have to open the hood from inside the car?"

"Yeah, so?  Oh.  Shit."
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« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2008, 08:00:48 PM »

That's hilarious!

Here's one of my favorites: an ass of a police supervisor, a Detective Sergeant at the time - stopped a motorcyclist for speeding.  The guy said he forgot his license, so Bright Light A-hole Sergeant tells  him to go get it and bring it to his office, pronto - all based on the fact that the unknown motorist had the keys to the bike. Too bad it was stolen with the keys in it... 

This happened about 20 years ago... and I'm still laughing!  icon_twisted
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ATB
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« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2008, 08:10:19 PM »

They're here. They're not as majestic or sexy as they looked in the pictures, but they're here and they're mine.

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« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2008, 08:59:01 PM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on December 22, 2008, 08:10:19 PM

They're here. They're not as majestic or sexy as they looked in the pictures, but they're here and they're mine.

Keep us updated on the things that you break into and/or 'borrow' for the greater good.  icon_twisted
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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2009, 02:26:03 AM »

Any update on your lockpicking?  They seemed like a fun thing to play around with so I added it to my amazon list and it looks like someone bought them for me as a late Christmas gift so I might have a new hobby soon too.
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« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2009, 04:41:44 PM »

heh, I like how the ads reflect the topics here...currently "Lockpics from Asia" And "Car Lockpics" are displayed :-D
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« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2009, 04:47:21 PM »

"Who are you and how did you get in here?"

"I'm a locksmith. And... I'm a locksmith."
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ATB
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« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2009, 02:25:46 AM »

Quote from: joeyjazz on January 03, 2009, 02:26:03 AM

Any update on your lockpicking?  They seemed like a fun thing to play around with so I added it to my amazon list and it looks like someone bought them for me as a late Christmas gift so I might have a new hobby soon too.

I've had zero time to try..also neither of the books I ordered seem to really explain in complete n00b terms how to pick a lock. Was thinking of dedicating some time to this weekend.
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« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2009, 02:36:17 AM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on January 07, 2009, 02:25:46 AM

Quote from: joeyjazz on January 03, 2009, 02:26:03 AM

Any update on your lockpicking?  They seemed like a fun thing to play around with so I added it to my amazon list and it looks like someone bought them for me as a late Christmas gift so I might have a new hobby soon too.

I've had zero time to try..also neither of the books I ordered seem to really explain in complete n00b terms how to pick a lock. Was thinking of dedicating some time to this weekend.

Dood.    Did you TRY yet??
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« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2009, 03:01:46 AM »

I did a bunch of lockpicking when I was in high school. I think I still have my picks somewhere. I started on master locks which are actually really easy to pick once you get the hang of it. I'd hold the lock and wrench in my off-hand and pick with my primary hand. Just always keep the cylinder twisted and push down on the pins. It's a total feel thing, it's hard to explain.

I'll echo what wonderpug said above: the hook pick is a good one. My other favorite is the diamond pick which has like a triangular head. Once you get comfortable with the technique, it's just practice, practice, practice.

Edit: the diamond pick is the fourth one from the right in the above picture.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2009, 03:53:51 AM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on January 07, 2009, 02:25:46 AM

I've had zero time to try..also neither of the books I ordered seem to really explain in complete n00b terms how to pick a lock. Was thinking of dedicating some time to this weekend.

Buy some crappy cheapo padlocks from a hardware store to start on.  Look at the keys and buy one that only has two or three ups and downs, meaning you'll only have two or three tumblers to finagle.  Once you get the hang of the concept with the basic basic locks, you can then apply that same technique to a more complex lock.  Patience and practice.
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