There comes a time where the little skills that you do not have become precisely what you need. Well, it’s not that these skills are inborn, you have to learn them from someplace. For example, today is the day you learn how to pick a lock.
While it is an old skill that most would consider obsolete, lock picking can come in handy at great times. Whenever you lose your keys and still need access to your home, or a locker, you have very limited options available.
Lock picking is the quickest.
Lock Picking Tools
There are different kinds of locks out there. The most popular, however, is the pin tumbler lock. This type of lock uses key pins set in between a plug and a cylinder. In between all of these, is a shear line.
The rationale of lick picking is, when you insert a key into the lock, the key pins should align perfectly with the shear line for the lock to turn. If one of these key pins is out of place, the lock will not open. That is the reasoning behind why keys have uneven cuts.
As you have lost your key, you need a set of tools to help you set the key pins in the right place for the key pins and the shear to align, so you can be able to turn the key. You will need to of these three things, depending on the kind of lock that you have.
1. A Hook
Hooks are narrow strips of metal that are pointy at the end. Their purpose is to precisely target a single key pin and get it to align with the shear. This is also the reason why they never miss from a lockpicking set.
There are different varieties of hooks that you can choose from. Some are long and relatively thin, others can be shorter with a thicker stem.
A rake is the opposite of a hook. Rather than spot a single pointy end, the rake has a variety of peaks and valleys. Rakes are made this way to target different key pins in a lock that has a number of key pins built into it.
Rakes also have varieties to them. Some are long with few bumps on them, others are even longer, with multiple bumps.
3. Tensioning tool
Even if you set the pins in the right place for you to open, it would be nigh on impossible to get it done without the help of a tensioning wrench. While the hook and the rake are focused on the key pins, the tensioning tool is meant to give you leverage for the torque to turn the key.
How to Pick a Lock
Step 1: Create tension
You will need to apply tension to the bottom of the keyway to create a binding force. Do this by applying a slight rotational force. This force should be maintained all through the process.
Step 2: Locate the pins and set them
This step is highly dependent on the tool you will be using. If you are using the hook, you will have to insert the hook and locate the pins one by one. The first pin will always have a lot of binding pressure on it, so it will be harder and stiffer than the rest.
Once you have found the pin with the greatest binding force, gently lift it until you discern a minute rotation of the plug or an audible click sound is made. These two actions indicate the pin is set.
Once you have done the first one, it is now time to repeat the same steps for the other pins until you complete the process. Once you are done setting all the pins, apply a gentle rotational force on the plug. If you had set the pins correctly, the lock will open.
If you are using a rake, the process will be much faster, and much brasher. When you insert the rake, you will have to make an action as though you are brushing your teeth. This action is meant to bump the pins.
You can change the speed, the angle, and the height of your raking action. While you are raking the lock, apply gentle rotational pressure with the tensioning tool. Continue raking until the plug rotates fully.
Raking can be a quick process, but it takes some finesse to get it done. You may need to apply varying levels of pressure to get the plug to rotate. You may also have to reset the lock several times before you are successful with a rake.
Raking is excellent for a variety of basic locks as it is a very fast method. However, when the lock has more features, such as security pins or sidebars, things start to get a little dicey.