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First Pick Set

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freek007

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Post Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:04 pm

First Pick Set

Hey all -

Want to throw out a thanks, I have learned alot in the last few weeks as a member of this board, both directly from members and indirectly by crusing the posts.

I know that this has been asked before, but one more time...

I am about to buy my first real pick set, I had been using the gimmicky old credit card pick set, and while they worked fine (ish) for the 4 and 5 non security pinned old loose master locks I had, I recently got Mr Wizard's 7 pin rekeyable practice lock and these picks (never mind the tension wrench) just wont work. I am pretty much decided on the Sparrows WizWazzle, due to varied selection and what I have heard about their durability vs price. Also I like the case...

So... I DO know the following (I Promise):
The best picks are home brew (I am currently hopelessly bad at home brewing picks)
The best pick is the one that opens the lock the easiest for you (yup, but I have to find that pick first)
Dont get too many picks at first, you only need a few (Also, I know, but this is a decision based on the knowledge that I will buy more until I have the whole set, so might as well get the bulk discount)

I just want to see if there are any other products that I haven't considered that would be about the same price (less than $100 total) or another reason that I would want to choose something else. I will likely be picking up their flat TW set as well, cause its supposedly very similar (exactly) to Peterson's. I would likely replace and get onsies from Peterson's as the sparrow's break/bend (if they do).

Thanks Folks!
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HT4

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Post Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:37 pm

Re: First Pick Set

I hesitate to give you much advice because you are absolutely correct when you say that the best pick is what works FOR YOU. I went with a Sparrows set after I started breaking and bending my first Chinese set... they work very well. The only reason I switched to (mostly) Peterson tools was because I liked their handles, but that's a matter of personal preference. In fact, I still keep a few Sparrows picks in my case (and a couple Kloms). There are some keyways in which their small profile really excels, and their boggies are just about the best made IMO.

In any case, that's my long way of saying, Sparrows makes nice products but don't get married to them. My preferences evolved as my picking styles developed and I experienced new picks... yours might also.

Good luck.
Check out my "LockPickingLawyer" YouTube channel:
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Papa Gleb

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Post Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:01 pm

Re: First Pick Set

Both of you are right and I would like to add that there is no such thing is a complete kit or right kit. Lock will come around that need a specific pick made or altered. I am 99.9999% certain that everyone in this hobby has their pick sets made up of different brands of picks. After trying the different brand you start to realize which pick you like more and that becomes your go-to pick. In time you will see how 2 sets will develop. An EDC set and your home set.

I started off with Sparrows and after breaking a pick which was about 2 weeks old I switched to Peterson and couldnt be happier. I dont think I will ever pick with anything but Peterson or home brews. With that said, out of curiocity and to test my favorte brand, I also purchased a few HPC, Southord, Cheap Chinese picks and some others that dont come to mind right now and my favor is still Peterson.

Why Peterson? The handles are made from a specific plastic that has a very nice feel and texture to it. Its not the same plastic that your coka coke bottle is made from. The metal recipe is a hidden secret which makes it that much more fun to use (some do know the secret formula, good luck getting that info out. You have a better chance winning an impressioning competition against Jos Weyers then getting this info :). Unlike the other picks I have seen/owned, Peterson adds an extra process in their production which adds a triangle edge to their picks so they technically can be used out of the package if needed. I still round my edges but it takes 5m a pick instead of 30 or more. And last note I would like to add, its that I have been using the same exact Peterson picks since my initial order end of last summer and they show no signs of use at all (not counting the .015 or .018)
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Josephus

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Post Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:13 pm

Re: First Pick Set

You could try ordering a few singles from a variety of manufacturers. I occasionally throw twenty bucks at southord and get a few. There is also southern specialties. Seems like a ripple or two pop up from time to time. On that note it is a good idea to try different handles too.

Try making your own tensioners. It is really hard to screw up and is a good place to start fabbing what you want.
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HT4

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Post Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:05 pm

Re: First Pick Set

freek007 wrote:I will likely be picking up their flat TW set as well, cause its supposedly very similar (exactly) to Peterson's. I would likely replace and get onsies from Peterson's as the sparrow's break/bend (if they do).


I meant to say this in my last comment. The statement above is incorrect. I made the exact same mistake in my initial purchasing. The PROFILE of the TWs are identical. The thicknesses are not. I think the Sparrow's "prybars" are about .025" and .030" (estimates on my part). The Peterson Prybars are .040" and .050". I own all of them, and they all have a place in my case (which means that I found them useful). By far, the most used of this group is the .050", followed by the .040"... in fact, the .050" prybar is probably the single most used picking tool I own. I rarely use the sparrows tools, except in curving keyways like Yale and Abus where you need to wedge something in the tight space... and most recently, I've been using homebrew TWs for those applications.

Again, good luck with your purchases.
Check out my "LockPickingLawyer" YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm9K6rby98W8JigLoZOh6FQ/videos
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freek007

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Location: Texas

Post Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:48 pm

Re: First Pick Set

All - Thanks so much!

I agree with everyone above, and I will be getting a variety of brands, but I know me, and I like ALL the widgets... So I think the Wiz is the way to go to satisfy my desire up front for lots of toys and for performance to price ratio. If I could justify it now, i'd probably get a big Petersons set. But my plan for now is to start with sparrows and replace with petersons as I break/bend stuff. Although I will likely sprinkle in other brands as well. This way I can still use the sparrows case, assuming it holds up (I see no reason it wouldent).

Josephus, thanks for the advice and I will try brewing some tensioneris. I have some .078 music wire on order, and it seems that will be much easier to try and if I fail and throw some away I wont have as much time invested in them as a pick, so less discouraging to fail... I am thinking that extra picks I order I may order bare to try to home brew some handles, I have an idea I want to try with staggered short tubes of heat shrink evenly spaced under another solid tip to tail layer of heat shrink. Then maybe play around with another staggered top layer for color contrast...

HT4 thanks for that input, I thought I had heard bosnianbill say they were exactly the same, but that video was several years old, very likely Sparrows or Petersons could have changed their spec since then. Ill probably still get them just for curiosity and to save shipping on a seperate order. The wiz kit seems to come with most everything available on the site, short of the monstrum, their slims and a few specialty picks. That said, any of those specialty picks come in handy for anyone (ball/double ball, king/queen or the Mace picks) or anything else worth picking up while I am ordering?

Likely first petersons purchase is a gem (gotta see why Petersons and this pick specifically are raved about) and a DCAP diamond (that'd be bosnianbill's influence again), and probably their prybars...
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Papa Gleb

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Post Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:13 pm

Re: First Pick Set

HT is correct, I also thought to save money and get the sparrow prybar until I realized the thickness is different then purchased the peterson 2. As HT, I also have all 6 in my kit but almost always use the .050. I also like the suggestion that Josephus gave. You really do not need to buy an entire kit from either of the manufacturrs. In fact, if you really want to see what works best for you, then buy 2 picks of the top 3 companies (Peterson, Sparrow and SouthOrd). You can not go wrong because even if you find your hand going for lets say Sparrows, you have 4 other picks as 1. back up or 2 as picks that can be altered. You can always make a hook or gem into a DCAP pick or make a gem into a hook etc.

You can also wait for Peterson to have their last sale for this year. The 2 sales they had so far were amazing. I got great stuff for a steal of a price.

And my last suggestion and probably the best, make friends with a locksmith or hardware shop. My friendly hardware guy and locksmith both give me their catalogs to order whatever I want at their prices. So I got some HPC picks for something like $1 a pick and SouthOrd for $2 a pick. Key gauges and the list goes on.

Suggestion on how to make such friends, first find a friendly locksmith that doesnt look at you like a criminal second start stopping by his shop 2-4x a week just to check in or ask a question or better yet ask for advise. That is what I did and now I have access to the entire shop and tools :)
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freek007

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Location: Texas

Post Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:18 pm

Re: First Pick Set

Papa Gleb - sage advice, all the way around...

Off to find out what the nearest locksmith likes on his pizza...
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selim

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Location: Maine

Post Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:38 am

Re: First Pick Set

I used a couple of HPC's sanded, and polished. For a t wrench lab
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Anarchy_won

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Location: Ontario, Canada

Post Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:13 am

Re: First Pick Set

here is my 2 cents ;)

if you want a full set go with something like a SouthOrd PXS-17 (that's what I have) and then order some TOK wrench's (I have a set of Sparrow ones and not 100% happy with them)
then as you progress order 1's & 2's of what you find you use most. (I made the jump from SouthOrd to Handmade picks) for what I use my picks for the SouthOrd is good enough (open a file cabinet or Door 4 or 5 times a year and the rest of the time I pick for fun ;) )

P.S. I have one of those tiny CC pick sets and I can open most common Padlocks in under 5min, so don't toss them out keep them and pick a lock from time to time with them and leave them in a pocket of your laptop case/backpack cause they are handy when you don't have any other picks on hand.
(17:44:28) HAL 9000 Sez: LockSport is full of children who throw fits because low priced low security products sold in discount department stores do not meet their arbitrary expectations.
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freek007

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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:03 pm

Location: Texas

Post Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:55 pm

Re: First Pick Set

Awesome, thanks. Hearing what everyone else started on is really helpful, and if I can collect everyone's 2 cents, ILL BE RICH!!!

Thanks, Anarchy, more good advice to consider.
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Neilau

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Location: Australia

Post Thu Jul 30, 2015 3:45 am

Re: First Pick Set

In addition to all he excellent advice given above I would like to add, get a lot of different Torsion Tools (TT).

Sparrows are good in that they send six tts with just about every pick set.

You will need TTs of different width and thickness, also ones that have a twins in them and others that don’t. Also a set of Peterson Pry bars for Top of Keyway (TOK) use, if you want to try that.

The TT that you use is very important. The ones with a twist in them are useful for spool pins. The ones without a twist giver better feel back (but are harder on the fingers).

The TT can get caught on the outer cylinder and prevent the key cylinder from turning. Also, a TT that is too wide can force the pick to lift a low cut pin over the shear line etc.

I had a lock that I couldn’t get for months. Tried every pick that I had with no joy. Finally I used a different TT and POP!!!

The good thing about TT is that they are easy to make. There are lots of flat pieces of flat wire around. Sweeper blades, wiper blades come in different thicknesses and width etc.

One thing to remember when making them is to heat up the metal, where you are going to make the bend, to red hot before you bend. A lot of things like wiper blades can break when you bend them. It also makes twisting them easier.

Good luck.
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