In 1770, a British inventor called Joseph Bramah stepped int the lock smithy arena. Being a polymath engineer, tinkering with locks was his pet peeve. The Bramah Safety Lock he came up with was supposed to be 100% secure. He offered a 200 guinea reward to anyone who could break it. In the meanwhile, the British Government upped the ante offering a 100 pounds prize for a tamper-proof lock that would signal is someone was attempting to do so. A second locksmith called Jeremiah Chubb did come up with such a mode. Between them, Chubb and Bramah ruled the world of lock security. Enter A.C.Hobbs, an American locksmith on the scene. He ultimately broke down both the systems casting a pall of gloom as the public took it that security can never be achieved. Linus Yale Jr. strode on to the scene, with a revolutionary mechanism to his locks; the pin and tumble. And so peace returned. But somewhere, the truant charm in picking a padlock remains in all of us. So although the original mechanical principle was the brainchild of Egyptians, Linus Yale is the father of the modern version.
Brass tacks first before you get to know how to lock pick. You need to understand the working of a door latch first before attempting to unlock it without a key.
It’s an art, not a science; the feel is how it goes. Basic lock picking is not rocket science. Though we have shown examples of tools that will indeed make it a whale easier accomplishing the task, we are talking about thin shaped pieces of metal. With a hairpin or a paperclip, you can simulate the same action.
A standard door house lock employs a mechanism that is basically simple. It primarily consists of spring-loaded pins that by default are set when the door is closed. Tripping back the pins is how it unlocks. The pins are set at different depths, hence a key is jagged. Inserting the key, and turning it to unlock primarily is a reset. The key has guides that allow it to slide in smoothly.
The Illustration on the left is that of 'phantom' drivers within a locked cylinder. The line running through is what is called the shear line. The Illustration on the right depicts what happens when the proper key is introduced into the plug: The pins are raised and become uniformly aligned, thus elevating the drivers to their proper level above the shear line. In this condition, the drivers are no longer obstructing movement and the plug is free to rotate.
Lock pick set
Lock rake set
So now that we know what we plan on achieving, let’s engage in the pursuit of lock picking techniques.
1. The first step in how to lockpick a door is to insert the tension wrench and apply pressure, slightly. (Refer to the figure below for guidance on the pressure required)
2. Slide the rake in fully to the back.
3. Do not relieve the tension. Since you are two-handed, use the free one. With your free hand, rake the plug with your pick. As the pin is withdrawn, lift up at the same time, in order to force pressure on the pins.
4. Scrub the pins and at the same time, the torque needs to be kept going until they are all set. Feel is important as expressed earlier. You will get to know. Just stay focused. There may be a need to increase both tension and pin pressure as you get closer to the finish line. Nothing yielding? Relax. Allow the pins to reset and start over again.
Tension wrench, lock pick set
Master locks are used often as a securing means for lockers, gates, etc. They employ a pin tumbler with a 5 pin cylinder and can be picked using a rake.
Tension wrench, set of lock rakes
ABUS is an international band well known for its locks which are a tad difficult to crack. Pin tumbler locks are incorporated in the design.
Two tension wrenches, a hook pick
It can be hairy and terribly irritating to get locked out of the car with the keys dangling in the dashboard. Of course, you can smash a window and all that, but logically you want to get into the car with no penalties. The Slim Jim steps in here.
Another of those OMG situations when you can’t get into your own home. It could also be a case of an emergency when you need to get inside your home.
Tension wrench, lock pick set
1. Is lockpicking illegal?
No. It is not illegal at all because it’s an alternative method of getting access. Some states maintain a different viewpoint.
2. Which is the simplest way to pick a lock?
I am tempted to say, without tools, use a hammer. All the guidelines point to clever non-destructible methods to achieve this goal. If you keep a swiss knife at home, why not a few products that could indeed turn out to be lifesavers. But, yes the simplest way is to use a torsion wrench which is vital and picks.
There is a sort of infamy attached to lock-picking. Lock picking has saved lives. Take it up as a hobby, whatever. Lock-picking is a skillset. One that is essential if I may say. It’s a gusty day, you’ve just stepped out from the bedroom for that first cup of coffee, and slam. The bedroom door lock wakes you up. We hope you have found this simple guide inspiring. Best of luck.