Before you can learn to pick locks like a pro and actually earn a living at it you'll need to become familiar with the internal construction of basic types of locks. You'll need to know how a particular lock is designed so you can visualize what's happening inside the lock while you're picking it. Locksmithing, like any other trade has it's own industry specific vocabulary. You'll find an extensive dictionary on this website that you can refer to with all of the locksmith "lingo" you'll need as you progress through your training with us here at locksmith training merseyside.
Basic Types of Locks and Keys
Most commonly used residential and basic consumer locks are referred to by a generic, non-brand specific name such as nightlatch lock, bike lock, automobile lock, dead lock, cabinet door lock, Mortise lock, sash lock, padlock or combination padlock, sliding door (patio) lock. The Nightlatch lock is usually a spring loaded latch that is operated by putting a key in the front and turning, therefore retracting the latch. A deadbolt lock projects a deadbolt by external force. As you can see many locks are named and referred to by the purpose of the lock.
There are some lock manufacturers that are so well known in the industry that their locks are referred to by the manufacturers name. This is especially true when the locks all share common traits or characteristics. These locks share the same internal construction. Yale is a good example,everyone knows the Yale brand There are a handful of brand names (lock manufacturers) that every locksmith needs to be familiar with because of their popularity. Those manufacturers include Era, Yale, Corbin, Winkhaus, Union, Abus, Cisa, etc.
It's a good idea to pick up used or old locks from each of these manufacturers to practice your picking skills on since they are the locks you'll be running into each day. Beginner locksmiths and students of the trade will need all kinds of locks to take apart, examine, repair and salvage for parts. You'll find used and second hand locks from junk yards, carboot sales, salvage yards, and pawn shops, internet sales from ebay, etc.
While the process is simple and can be mastered with practice, picking a lock requires a great deal of patience and practise and LOTS more practise, Here at locksmith training merseyside we wouldnt ever recommend trying to pick your own lock on your house, If you break it you have to replace it.
Understand how your lock works. The pin-and-tumbler lock consists of a cylinder that can rotate within its housing . When locked, the cylinder is kept in place by several pairs of pins. The top pin of each pair protrudes into both the cylinder and the housing, thus preventing the cylinder from turning. When the correct key is inserted, it pushes the pairs of pins up so that the top pins no longer enter the cylinder. When this happens, the cylinder can be turned and the lock will open.
Note the five pairs of pins. The blue pins enter both the cylinder and the (green) housing around it, thus preventing the cylinder from turning. The springs provide resistance to keep the pins in place.
When the key is inserted, the grooves and ridges on the key push the pins up to the correct heights so that all the blue pins are completely out of the cylinder, thus allowing the cylinder to turn and the lock to open.
· Get a pick and tension wrench. Each pick is specialized for a different problem. A tension wrench, or torque wrench, is the device which you apply pressure with to turn the lock cylinder. Professional-grade picks and tension wrenches can be purchased in sets , but many lock picking hobbyists make good quality sets of their own. See the Things You'll Need section below for information on how to make your own picks and tension wrenches.
· step 3.
Place the tension wrench into the lower portion of the keyhole.
· step 4.
Determine which way the cylinder must be turned to unlock the lock. If you commonly use the lock, you probably already know which way you turn the key to open the lock. If you don’t know, use the tension wrench to apply torque to the cylinder, first clockwise and then counterclockwise. The cylinder will only turn a fraction of an inch before it stops. Try to feel the firmness of the stop. If you turn the cylinder the wrong way, the stop should feel very firm and stiff. If you turn it the right way, there should be a bit more give. Some locks, especially among padlocks, will open regardless of which way the cylinder is turned.
· step 5.
Apply light torque to the tension wrench in the correct direction, and hold. The required torque will vary from lock to lock and from pin to pin, so this may require some trial and error. Start gently, though.
· step 6.
Picking the lock. The part labeled "plug" is the cylinder.
Insert the pick into the upper part of the keyhole and feel the pins. With the pick in the keyhole, you should be able to press up and feel the individual pins with the tip of the pick. You should be able to push them up and feel them spring back down when you release the pressure. Try to push each one all the way up. Identify which one is the hardest to push up. If they are all very easy to push up, turn your tension wrench more to increase the torque. If one won’t go up at all, ease the torque until you can push it up. Alternately, you may wish to “rake” the pins before this step (see Tips below).
· step 7.
Push the stubborn pin up until it “sets.” Press the stubborn pin with just enough pressure to overcome the downward pressure of the spring. Remember, the pin is actually a pair of pins. Your pick is pushing against the lower pin, which in turn pushes against the upper pin. Your goal is to push the upper pin completely out of the cylinder. Then, when you stop pushing, the lower pin will fall back down into the cylinder, but the torque on the cylinder will result in a misalignment of the hole in the cylinder with the hole in the housing, and the upper pin should then rest on the cylinder without falling back down. You should hear a faint click as the upper pin falls back down on top of the cylinder. You should also be able to push the lower pin up a little with no resistance from the spring—when this occurs you most likely have the upper pin “set.
· step 8.
Continue applying torque and repeat the last two steps for each of the remaining pins. It is imperative that you maintain torque on the cylinder to prevent the set pins from dropping back down. You may need to make slight increases or decreases in torque for each pin.
· step 9.
Use the tension wrench to turn the cylinder and unlock the lock. Once all the pins are set, you should be able to turn the cylinder. Hopefully you have already ascertained the correct direction to turn it. If you have chosen the wrong direction, you will need to start over and reset all the pins.
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