There are few hobbies so immediately satisfying as lockpicking. The second that first padlock springs open with a jerk and a click, you will know that you are hooked. Still, as hobbies go lockpicking is undeniably niche, so to help illuminate this great pastime, read on for some of the hows and whys of hobbyist picking.
Getting started with lockpicking is actually very simple and inexpensive, with kits available for as little as $20. Larger kits with a vast array of tools can be found in higher price ranges, but really all you need to get started are:
- A tension tool (a flat tool with a 90-degree bend, inserted into the barrel of the lock allowing the user to rotate it)
- A hook pick (a straight tool with a small hook at the end)
- A rake pick (another form of picking tool with a serrated edge for 'raking' a lock)
To fully cover the basics of picking would be beyond the scope of this article; however, in essence, the tension tool and pick function together as a key would in a standard pin and tumbler lock. These types of locks (found in many doors and padlocks) feature a series of pins of different heights that must all be levelled in the chamber to allow the lock to turn. By maintaining tension with the tension tool and picking with the hook or rake, most locks can be picked with these three tools alone.
To go along with these three basic tools, you will benefit greatly from acquiring a transparent padlock. These are generally made of acrylic and allow you to see the inner workings of a lock while you pick. Once you have mastered picking the lock while looking, you can try going blind. The fun really begins when you start picking standard locks.
Why Pick Locks?
Lockpicking is a cheap hobby, and contrary to what many people think, it is entirely legal. As long as you do not use your tools criminally and only practise with your own property, you are harming no one and need not worry about carrying your picks and practice locks around with you. Once you have mastered your transparent lock, you can practise anywhere and even hone your skills while watching television. Old padlocks are cheap and easily found, so the challenges are endless.
It Might Prove Very Useful One Day
Yes, you can get into lockpicking as a purely abstract hobby and will most likely never use the skills you develop in real life; however, there may come a time when you lose that one key to your padlocked garage, and then it's the lockpicks to the rescue! So go ahead and grab a set of picks, but remember: leave the tough stuff to the professionals, such as those at Local Locksmiths. Enjoy!