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Safety Devices: Secret Of Lock Picking
Safety Devices: Secret Of Lock Picking

Safety Devices: Secret Of Lock Picking

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  • Pages: 18 (8860 words)
  • Published: October 11, 2018
  • Type: Case Study
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Introduction

The ancient Egyptians were the first to come up with a complicated security device. This was the pin tumbler lock. We use the same security principle today on millions of applications. The most commonly used lock today is the pin tumbler lock. A series of pins that are divided at certain points must be raised to these dividing points in relationship to the separation between the cylinder wall and the shell of the lock by a key cut for that particular series of pin divi- sions. Thus the cylinder can be turned, and the mechanism or lock is unlocked. Lock picking means to open a lock by use of a flat piece of steel called a pick.

Actually, the process requires two pieces of flat steel to open cylinder locks. It amuses me to watch spies and thieves on TV picking locks using only one tool. But it is for the better in a sense. If everyone learned how to pick locks by watching TV, we would all be at the mercy of anyone who wanted to steal from us, and the cylinder lock for the most part would be outdated. The actual definition of lock picking should be: "The manipulation and opening of any restrictive mechanical or electronic device by usage of tools other than the implied instrument (key or code) used solely for that device." A little lengthy, but more accurate description. With cylinder locks, it requires a pick and a tension wrench.

By picking the lock, you simply replace the function of a key

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with a pick that raises the pins to their "break- ing point," and using a tension wrench one rotates the cylinder to operate the cam at the rear of the lock's cylinder to unlock the mechanism. (See Fig-01.GIF) The tension wrench is used to apply tension to the cylinder of the lock to cause a slight binding action on the pins as well as to turn the cylinder after the pins have been aligned by the pick; this opens the lock. The slight binding action on the pins caused by the tension wrench allows one to hear and feel each pin as it "breaks" or reaches alignment with the separation of cylinder and shell.

The vibration is felt in the knuckles and joints of the fingers, and the sound is similar to that of a cricket in an arm wrestling match-a subtle yet distinct click. Usually you need very little tension with the wrench while picking the lock. In fact, it takes somewhat of a delicate, yet firm touch. This is the secret to picking locks successfully-a firm and yet gentle touch on the tension wrench. You should be able to feel the pins click into place with the right amount of tension; experience will be your true guide. Half of your success will be based on your ability to use or improvise various objects to use as tools for your purpose. The other half will depend on practice. I once picked a pin tumbler lock using a borrowed roach clip and a hairpin. A dangerous fire was prevented and prob- ably several lives were saved.

Th

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world is full of useful objects for the purpose, so never hesitate to experiment. TOOLS I started picking locks using a small screwdriver and a safety pin. The screwdriver can be used as a tension wrench, and the safety pin is used like a "hook" pick. The last half inch of the screwdriver's tip was bent at a 45 degree angle so as to allow easy entry for the pick (bent safety pin). Do not heat the screwdriver tip to bend it, as this will destroy its temper. Use a vise and hammer to do the job. Bend slowly by using firm and short taps of the hammer, otherwise you may break and weaken the shaft.

The safety pin should be about one and a half inches long and bent in the same way. With the small screwdriver as a tension wrench, you can use more of a turning or twisting movement than with a regular tension wrench so you will generally need less direct force when using it. As I mentioned earlier, with practice you will develop the feeling for the right amount of tension on a cylinder. If the safety pin bends after a short time, use the keyway of the lock you are picking to bend it back into shape. Even after several times of bending, it should still be useful. Keep a few spares handy, though.

File the tip of the safety pin flat in relationship to the bottom of the pins in the lock. Smooth any sharp edges so that you won't impale yourself. Also, if the tip is smooth, the pick will not get hung up on the pins while picking the lock. Granted these are not the best tools for the job, but they do work. If you learn to use your junk box as a rich source of equipment, then with your experience real lock picks will give you magic fingers. Also, you'll have the advantage of being able to improvise should you be without the real things (which are illegal to carry on your person in most parts of the country). Lock picks are difficult to get. I received my first set when I became a locksmith apprentice.

All of my subse- quent sets I made from stainless steel steak knives with a grinder and cut-off wheel. They are much more durable than the commercial picks. If you do make your own, make certain that the steel is quenched after every 3 seconds of grinding-do not allow the pick to get hot to the point of blue discoloration. A diamond pick is the standard pick I use on most all pin and wafer locks. A small diamond pick is used for small pin tumbler locks such as small Master padlocks, cabinet file locks, etc. The tubular cylinder lock pick, we will discuss later. The double-ended, single-pronged ten- sion wrench is used with the diamond pick. It features double usage; a small end for small cylinders and a large end for the larger cylinders.

A special tension wrench is used for double-wafer cylinder locks with an end with two prongs on one end and tubular cylinder

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