How To Pick A Door Lock
Knowing how to pick a lock is a helpful ability – and is intended to help you out of those situations where you find you’ve lost your padlock key and can’t unlock your bike, get into your garden shed or even open your front door now you’re home after a great vacation.
It is not a skill to misuse. So when you’re picking a lock on a garden shed … make sure the shed you’re locked out of is yours …
The ability to pick a lock is quite easy to learn. All you need is an old lock, the lock picking tools, a little patience and some practice. You'll be surprised how easy it can become - once you understand the locking mechansim that's found in most car and residential door locks.
A locksmith can be an expensive alternative to losing a few hairs whilst learning how to pick a lock and let's face it - most of us lose at least a few hairs anytime we have to call out an emergency tradesman ... usually when the bill arrives.
You may as well go a little bald now - saving your much need hair for when you're old and grey or caught out in a winter storm without a hat.
Best Lock Pick
Lock Picking Tools
There are two basic lock picking tools; a tension wrench and a pick. That may sound like two complicated tools. They’re not. A tension wrench is simply a small ‘L’ shaped piece of steel. And the pick is … a long, thin straight piece of steel. But – you’re going to pick a lock with home-made lick picking tools, fashioned out of … paperclips.
So grab a couple – the standard size. Forget the girly ones that are a novelty item. Bog standard office ones will do.
Step One: Half straighten out one of the paperclips. Find something heavy (if you’re away from the nearest tool shed for e.g.) like a small rock. If at home, just use a hammer … forget the rock. Flatten the straight end of the paperclip. It’s fairly easy to do, more so with a hammer. You now have a lock pick.
Step Two: Fully straighten the second paperclip out. Make a 90º bend, about a third of the way up, creating an ‘L’ shape. This is your tension wrench. And you are now ... equipped.
The Tumbler Lock
The tumbler lock is the locking mechanism most commonly used in padlocks, doors, windows and so on. It’s made up of a central barrel, or cylinder that consists of:
- A plug – this is the component that rotates when the correct key is inserted into the lock.
- The pins. There are two sets – driver pins and key pins.
The plug hosts the key slot, or keyway. When you insert the right key, the slots carved into the keys edge come into contact with the key pins. The driver pins are spring loaded, from above.
Once the key is engaged into the key slot and connects with the key pins, the key pins become aligned correctly and this is called the ‘shear point’ – the point at which the locking mechanism is freed up and allows you to rotate the key within the barrel.
This is your objective when lock picking: aligning the key pins to the shear point, in order to rotate the barrel.
Best Lock Pick Guide
Now to the lock picking itself.
- Insert the tension wrench into the cylinder, whilst holding the lock pick above it.
- Using a little force (gently now) give the tension wrench a small twist.
- Manoeuvre the lock pick in and out of the cylinder – gradually. Don’t be hasty or rough. Your aim is to manipulate the key pins that are inside the cylinder.
- You’re intention is to move the pins into the shear point (as mentioned above). As long as it’s a quiet environment you can usually hear an audible ‘click’ when a pin moves up
- The pins align one at a time.
- As the individual pins align, the cylinder will slightly rotate – this is what will hold the pins in place and prevent them from dropping back.
- Continue until you have all the pins in the shear point.
And that’s it. Consider yourself a fledgling lock picker. Practice a good bit, until you become relatively adept at feeling the key pins aligning into the shear position.
All that I ask is that you be a good citizen and only pick locks that belong to your good self or those that you consider family and friends.
And absolutely no snooping in the office HR cabinet when no one is looking!