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beginners frustration

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madja

Newbie

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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:38 am

Location: UK

Post Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:38 pm

beginners frustration

Hi, I am new to lock picking as a hobby. Inspired by some YouTube videos I bought myself a Southord PXC14 set and a couple of cut away repinnable practice locks (one rim :mortise2: and one euro :kik: ).
The aim was to start at 1 standard pin and then gradually increase to 5-6 pins before adding in some security pins....
I appreciate that skill and practice are required so I never assumed i was going to start from scratch and instantly be a competent picker, but even at 2 pins I am finding it really difficult to single pin pick the practice locks. I think it is because the keyway is really tight snd angled, especially for the euro lock, which makes it difficult to get into the pins, at least for a novice. :BESTcx: . The second pin on the euro lock is also high after the first pin so I can barely reach it with a standard hook while the larger hook won't even fit in the keyway.
What i dont want is for this hobby to grind to a premature stop due to frustratuon and poor progress. So, the question is:
Do I stop whining and keep practicing? Should I get some slimline picks and stick with the current learning plan? Should I start on a different type of lock, and if so then what?
Thanks for any advice.
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Altashot

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Location: Western Canada

Post Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:58 pm

Re: beginners frustration

Like anything else, practice, practice, practice...
patience is the key (pun intended)
Keep at it don't despair, it is a special skill that very few even attempt.
Don't give up.

M.
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Neilau

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Location: Australia

Post Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:17 pm

Re: beginners frustration

What Altashot said. It takes a while to develop the feel for what you are doing.

Get some Masters and some cheap Chinese locks. Build up your confidence.

Remember that we all have a couple of locks that are impossible and others that we haven't been able to crack until our skill levels had risen.

If you are having difficulty with one lock, put it away for a week or two then come back to it.

The important thing is to practice, even on locks that you can open. Open them again and again. Use different picks etc.

Keep at it. IT WILL ALL START TO COME TOGETHER. :D

PS Welcome to the forum.
Clark's Law (Arthur C)

For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.
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tpark

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Post Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:49 am

Re: beginners frustration

For relative beginners, I think a new Master No. 3 is a good lock to work with. This lock has 4 pins, the keyway isn't too hard, there are no security pins, and you can look at the key before buying to make sure the bitting isn't too extreme. Lubricate the lock with lock lubricant (I like the stuff from LAB) and you're good to go. The beauty of this lock is it gives good feedback. Get a new or relatively new lock - ones that have been sitting out in the weather can be difficult to open, even with the correct key. I also like the GMS "F" keyway locks for training - the keyway is easy to access, and it's easy to rekey for a couple of standard pins to a real challenge lock. The GMS locks are good training locks because they aren't so perfectly made, so the binding order is more obvious than on the genuine Schlage product.

There are some real experts in this forum (I'm not one of them, so take what you read from me with a grain of salt) and they can provide some real help. I've learned a great deal from other forum members here. The advice about practice is a good one.
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jharveee

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Location: San Marcos, Ca.

Post Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:30 am

Re: beginners frustration

Practice, Which is the part I like!
Also there is a lot of great reading that will speed your picking along.
Lock picking , in Detailed Overkill by Solomon.
Practical lock picking by Deviant Ollam.
youtube videos.
Plus: all the help you can ask for from all the great members here at Keypicking.
Mr. wizzard make and sells(on E-bay) a wonderful practice lock.
I have one and love it.
Good Picking!
Last edited by jharveee on Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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nozza36

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Location: Birmingham , England

Post Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:22 pm

Re: beginners frustration

Madja , pm your address and i'll send you a couple of locks to play with , easy picks , to build your confidence and a re pinnable lock that you can add or remove pins to without having to do a strip down , may find an old pick to keep them company , i'll have a mooch through my stuff , i will be posting some gear to other members in a week or two , so it won't be a big deal mate
Open Sez Me !
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Papa Gleb

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Post Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:38 pm

Re: beginners frustration

I read the first 3 replies and stopped reading because everyone is giving great advice. No do NOT stop practicing. Iv picked many locks and even now I can find a lock pinned up with standards that I just cant get. My personal option is that there is a lot more involved then just tools and a lock, the particular mood your in, the level of stress you have at that moment and of course seeing all the youtube videos were everyone is showing how easy it is to pick a lock BUT dont be fooled, most of the videos are with locks that have already been practiced on and picked (unless of course the video states its a blind pick). I used to do the same thing just to make sure I dont waste time filming failed attempts and to make sure it goes a bit smoother but watching videos were locks pop open with ease in minutes can very much have an effect. The approach you take is also something to think about, not to mention confidence, if your confidence is shot then good luck cause it will so f**k with your picking and Im not joking.

Ill give you a quick story I always share at times like this, I had less than 5m while waiting for my wife and seen a Medeco looking at me, with no hope what so ever of even coming close to opening I decided to give it a shot heck I had to kill 5m so why not and guess what the mofo opened. Ill explain why, I was fully relaxed and wasnt so worried that shit its a Medeco, one of the worlds top locks, I just stuck the pick in and went to work not even thinking too much about rotating the pins. Here is the kicker, came home grabbed the same Medeco but this time I was so concentrated on opening it that I didnt. Yet thats right I didnt open it, in fact I spent an hour and still nothing. I eventually got some opens on it but the point it that your mind set has a lot to do with picking along with technique.

Lastly, those 2 locks you have were made with one thing in mind a challenge and its unfair to a new picker so I suggest to get some Master locks or cheap chines locks. On the other hand, if you are precipitant and keep picking these 2 locks, once you will get the hang of it you will be 2 steps ahead in the game. Its always this way in anything, taking extra extra time to master one hard thing will make 100 easy things seem like a breeze but again it will take a lot more to master with little results at first but the reward is much greater at the end. I feel like Im repeating myself so Ill stop here.

Oh one last note, believe me this skill will come in hand more than once in anyone life and is super cool to say that your a lockpicker :) Good luck.
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madja

Newbie

Posts: 4

Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:38 am

Location: UK

Post Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:34 pm

Re: beginners frustration

Thank you all, really impressed by the level of support and friendliness on this forum.
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WestCoastPicks

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Post Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: beginners frustration

madja wrote:Thank you all, really impressed by the level of support and friendliness on this forum.


Also be prepared, Lock picking is inherently frustrating. Even after you get good, and are able to open insane locks, you'll get hung up on easy ones.
The more practice you have the better you will be, this is true. But you will NEVER be able to open them all, and you're ALWAYS going to run in to locks you can't open.

Gonna have to get used to that, lol.

If you want an easy start, get yourself a low price master padlock or the lowest price deadbolt you can find in home depot. Learning on cutaways is a bad idea, you get used to looking. There for you don't get used to feeling. I think a defiant deadbolt at home depot is like $9. a low price brass body master lock (level 3 - 5) should be $5 - $7.
They Don't have security pins, sometimes a defiant might come with 1 spool, but it shouldn't be a problem.

Remember: The number one problem most people have is tension. Lighten up, if you don't sometimes drop your tension wrench, you're probably pressing too hard.

Also take time to feel the lock before you pick it. Feel the insides with the pick, feel where the pins are, how many, visualize where your pick is in the lock. Move the pick around on the tips of the pins, get an idea of the size of the pins. Make sure your pick isn't touching more than one pin at a time. Make sure you're not over setting pins in front of deep pins, top of the keyway tension will give you more room for your pick to come up from underneath the pins to help prevent this.

Again, I can't stress this enough. Even BosnianBill has pin tumbler locks with zero or few security pins that he cannot open. He calls it his "Naughty bucket". So don't let failures stop you. They will become less frequent the more you try. But they will NEVER go away. This is something you're gonna have to learn to like, or at least not hate.
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OldSalt

Newbie

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Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:36 pm

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Post Sun May 15, 2016 9:20 pm

Re: beginners frustration

I'm a beginner and I just go right back to 2 or 1 pins if I start having problems. Being ex Military I am used to being frustrated by repetition so you just go back to basics and it will fall into place.
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DroppedTensionWrench

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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:15 am

Location: Arizona

Post Mon May 16, 2016 2:48 am

Re: beginners frustration

I think the southords might be a bit large for tighter euro keyways. If you can though find some lower quality locks with more open keyways so you can really get the feel for a binding pin. As others have stated practice practice! I know I made the mistake of picking on advanced locks with only a few months SPP experience and it really kills confidence. Keep the spark alive of getting that happiness with a successful pick. Just keep plugging along and the plugs will turn open.
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xeo

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Location: East Coast, USA

Post Mon May 16, 2016 3:41 am

Re: beginners frustration

Get a Kwikset KW1. Sloppy tolerances, easy keyway with 100% straight vertical lifting). Buy a tap and set screws and make it a practice lock.
Image
The code is hidden in the tumblers. One position opens the lock, another position opens one of these doors...
http://www.youtube.com/xeotech1

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nine4t4

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Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:48 pm

Location: Toronto

Post Wed May 18, 2016 9:00 pm

Re: beginners frustration

Welcome to the hobby. Fortunately, unlike Fight Club, discussion is encouraged. There are heaps of advice on this site and plenty of good guys (and gals) to help. I guess I'm an intermediate picker, and I remember what it was like to start out. Some advice and opinions on top of PRACTICE.

1) The picks you have are fine for the locks you should probably be working on now. The basic Southord is adequate for now. Put the Euro cylinder aside for a while if the warding is too much for your current picks

2) Learn to make picks. This is a rewarding thing on its own, but it also will give you the knowledge to improve your picks. Almost ALL (manufacturer) picks need some finishing work, even Peterson. A bit of work with a file and some fine sandpaper can really work some magic on your set. You don't have to actually make picks from scratch but you should learn how to polish them. Sometimes the shafts are thicker than they need to be and removing a bit of material helps. I also think that everyone should have some Bogotas and if you can make a set that works even better. A bench grinder isn't necessary and you can still make picks with a dremel or even files (slow but accurate)


3) You mentioned youtube, so I guess you've seen Bosnianbill's channel. He's got a knack for teaching lock picking, and he's set up a website http://www.lock-lab.com. The Lock picking University is his tutorials laid out as a beginners course. *note to admins, I believe I can reference external sites. If wrong please correct.

4) TENSION/TORSION. This is one of the hardest things to learn, and it's 50% of lock picking (possibly more). Focus on tensioning more than manipulating pins initially

5) Embrace Raking. I know it's looked down on compared to SPP, but it REALLY helps with learning tensioning. Because raking is less precise you can focus on the level of torsion. You only need to feel that pins are binding and you don't need to know which one. When you can rake a lock consistently, then you should try to SPP.

6) LEARN TO WALK AWAY. As was said a bit of frustration is expected, with out it there would be no challenge. However, sometimes frustration builds to the point where you are using too much force and actually making it more difficult. Walk away and comeback to it when you are relaxed and focused. If you let frustration build your mind will shut down and practice is useless.

7) Close your eyes and visualize. The purpose of cutaways and clear locks is to show what's going on. They aren't challenging if you can see the pins. But they do help with learning what the pick and wrench are communicating. Since you can't see the pins anyway, you may as well close eyes. I've found that closing my eyes helps a bit more with focus and makes it much easier

8) You've noticed that Master and Kwikset are the recommended training locks. Xeo wouldn't steer you wrong. You've got the right idea about progressive locks, maybe it's your tensioning that's the issue. Ebay and Craigslist are great sources for cheap locks to practice with

9) Some locks easy locks will kick your ass, (see #6). I have one Master lock that opens in seconds with a bogota or cityrake , but trying to SPP it is embarrassingly long.

10) Pick in both directions when applicable. Because the binding order changes when you switch directions some locks are easier one way than the other. It may get tougher or easier, but it does change the challenge slightly

11 ) You'll have your epiphany. One day, for no reason it all becomes much easier. You'll be blitzing through those locks wondering what you were doing wrong up to that point. And then you'll go out and get better locks to get the challenge back and some frustration
JOB: (n.) a series of tasks that aren't enjoyable, but are done in return for money. see Prostitution
A LIVING: (n.) A means of enjoying ones existence that also provides financial compensation. see Freedom
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madja

Newbie

Posts: 4

Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:38 am

Location: UK

Post Thu May 19, 2016 8:03 pm

Re: beginners frustration

Thank you all again. Have kept with it most days and now single pin picking 4 standard pins in euro keyways. Got a couple of slightly slimmer hooks and they are now my favourites.

Got one masterlock but seemed a bit of a waste of money for something which was cracked in a few minutes (or a few seconds with a rake) [if only people knew how vulnerable their padlocks were!]

Once I'm happy with 5-6 pins then next in line are the spools...
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Oldfast

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OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer
OldddffAASSTT the Spin Master Extraordinaire and American Lock Slayer

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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Location: Michigan

Post Sat May 21, 2016 3:41 am

Re: beginners frustration

That's great! Sounds like you've pushed your way through the
initial doubts/frustrations and making some good progress now.

Plenty of great advice & encouragement here already... so I'll just say, WELCOME! Glad you're here.
" Enjoy the journey AS MUCH as the destination."
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