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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 10. 23rd May 1973

Feel Method — 1

Feel Method — 1

Review the principles of the pin tumbler lock Be sure that you understand it before proceeding.

A lock pick is nothing more than a thin, stiff piece of hardened steel that will enter the key way of a lock and manipulate the tumblers. At the bottom right you will find the most common picks used depicted. Examine them. The irregular shaped ends are formed to enable the locksmith to raise and lower the tumblers in the lock. Also described and drawn is a "turning wrench" a short piece of steel with short lugs bent at an angle. It is used in the key way of the lock to put a turning pressure on the plug in the same way that a key is used.

To practice obtain a pin tumbler cylinder of a normal lock. Remove all the pins and springs as well as the plug retainer plate and plug. Place the cylinder in a vise so that you can conveniently insert the turning wrench and pick in the key way. Select the pick that resembles the one in the illustration. Apply a turning pressure on the plug with the wrench and try to raise the bottom pin up to the shear line. See Drawing. Keep Practising.

Drawing of lock picking

You will notice that the harder you turn the wrench, the more difficult it is to raise the pin. However, you will also note that when the bottom pin has reached the shear line, the plug will turn immediately.

Practice this little exercise 25 times using less and less pressure each time on the turning wrench. You will soon get the "feel" of a pin tumbler when it reaches the shear line under the lightest possible turning pressure.

Shear line diagram

Diagram of lock picking

Now reverse the position of the wrench by placing it at the top of the key way as shown in the illustration, practice raising the pin to the shear line with the pick with the wrench in the shown position.

The reason for these two positions is a very simple one. In some plugs the turning wrench fits very snugly into the key way. In fact it "crowds" the space and this prevents the pick from working freely. In working both positions you will be able to tell which is most practical and comfortable.

When picking under normal conditions one should start either at the front pin or the rear and work your way forward or backward in order. One should use the turning wrench to keep the pins that have been raised in place. In some cases the pick can do this also. Some locks are machined such that they will stick when you raise the pins. This depends on the quality of the lock.

Cartoon of a man locked-in