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Sparrows...

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jupiter11d7

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Post Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Sparrows...

I got my Sparrows set today. Everything looks and feels great. I got the Monstrum XXL set. 21 picks, 22 tension tools.
The case feels sturdy and durable. It has plenty of room for all the tools included, and lots of extra room for additional tools.
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The tension tools included come in varying length and thickness. It also came with the Sparrows version of the Peterson Prybars
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The set comes with plenty of unique hooks that will be great for tight keyways and tricky warding. The picks have rubber handles that are very comfortable to hold. The added thickness of the handles give much better control than the thin metal handles of many Southord sets. These 10 picks can be found in a separate set, the Monstrum. The benefit of getting the Monstrum XXL is that it also includes the 11 basic picks and rakes found in the Wizwazzle set. This set has every pick Sparrows currently makes, it is definitely an investment with a price of $159.00 Canadian, but it is cheaper to buy the whole set than to buy multiple smaller Sparrows sets over time.
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I know my photos taken with a phone camera really don't do these picks justice, but they are well made and I look forward to enjoying them :drool:
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rerun12

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Post Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:05 pm

Re: Sparrows...

Nice grab jup. Some fine looking hooks there. Lemme know how that crazy rake thing works
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Deadlock

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Post Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:26 pm

Re: Sparrows...

VERY nice. You'll be set for life with those! Do you have a micrometer by any chance? I'd like to know the thickness of the right angle tension wrenches.
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jupiter11d7

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Post Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:38 am

Re: Sparrows...

Do you have a micrometer by any chance?

No sorry, I don't have one. They are all different thicknesses though, ranging from the thickest ones I have seen to the thinnest.

Lemme know how that crazy rake thing works

I'm actually really surprised with it. It is very large and very thick, I was shocked how many of my locks it could actually fit into. Even more shocked by how many locks it is able to open very quickly.

All the picks seem to work very well, the steel is strong even on the thin hooks. I like the handles on all of the picks, good control in comparison to many of the thin all metal handles of my other set. I still like the thick plastic handle of my RCS multi pick the best though, but I am getting used to these. Still trying to get the hang of the prybars, haven't experimented with TOK tension much in the past. I can tell they will be useful after some practice with them though. Overall, I would recommend this set. I think it is worth every penny. I would also recommend this company in general.
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LocksportSouth

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Post Sat Dec 05, 2015 1:13 am

Re: Sparrows...

Adding my noob's review of the Sparrows Monstrum XXL to the mix

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Today I'll be reviewing the Sparrows Monstrum XXL kit - this kit contains (AFAIK) all of the Sparrows picks so if you are looking for an individual pick, you can find it in this review too. I'll also be talking about value for money in the kit etc. I purchased mine from a site called UK Lockpickers but I'm sure there are many sources - if you're in the US, I believe you can buy from Sparrows directly. The current UK selling price for this kit is £99.99, the US price direct from sparrows is $139.

Goes nicely with the Sparrows pinning mat!:

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Here it is again on a plainer background. I believe that the design of the case is somewhat random as the pattern is (I assume) printed onto large sheets and then cut from that. It looks stylish IMO, and the case feels moderately hardwearing too:

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The pattern wraps around to the side and back of the case as well:

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This is the view once you first open the zipper. Note that the case is somewhat springy from the middle and will tend to "pull closed" at little if it isn't held, but this is much stronger for the inner 'pages':

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You can see a couple of water bottles holding these case 'pages' back - they're hella springy and will NOT stay closed! You could probably bend them back 180 degrees and pin it under a heavy book overnight or something to negate this a little:

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Picks on the left hand side, underneath:

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Pics on the right hand side, above:

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Here's all the "front" picks laid out. You have a good selection of Hooks, Rakes, Bogota, and a half-diamond / flag:

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A lateral shot using my monitor's light to illuminate the handles. They looks very textured - this is a kind of rubbery coating and makes the picks very pleasant to hold (soft and non-slip):

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Close up of the metal finish. It's actually quite poor aesthetically speaking, the brass coating isn't smooth and uniform and makes them look a little "tarnished" - this may be only aesthetic though, I'm not sure if it affects usability. All of the picks look like this, to lesser or greater degrees:

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The first of many, many tension wrenches included in this set. These are short and stubby "S" shaped wrenches which I assume are top-of-the-keyway. They also have those nice little serrations similar to the Peterson wrenches. There are couple of long/short end ones, one in the same style but without the serrations, and one that's "normal" at one end and has the serrations at the other:

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Close up of those serrations, and the stop that keeps it from falling into the cylinder:

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Another shot:

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Moving on! Here we have 6 wrenches - 3 L shape twisted wrenches, and 3 un-serrated S shape ones. These are probably of the "windshield wiper insert / street cleaner bristle" variety. Finish, as with everything in this kit, is... acceptable. Functionally they look great:

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6 more - 3 standard L wrenches and 3 which are twisted and L shaped on both ends. These ones are quite long:

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Some even longer L and single-ended twisted-L wrenches:

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Moving on again. Now we're looking at the picks from the rear-left of the case - a selection of hooks that grow more and more curved until two final kinda scythe-shaped picks, and then a pretty bogota/rake thingy that looks different to the rest:

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Close-up of that octopus design! Seems to be laser engraved:

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A close up of the finish of these picks as well as showing off the odd curved ends of those last two picks. Finish is similar to the rest of the set:

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The final two picks that I hadn't yet covered - from the rear, right hand side. Just a couple of hooks:

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In terms of performance, I've only just received these in the post this morning so haven't yet had time to work at length with these, but I did quickly pick my practice lock (2 standard pins) a few times and I have to say, the rubberised handles are a very nice touch - way nicer to grip than the slightly sharp GOSOs (the GOSO picks have moulding marks down both edges which are poorly finished and tend to be painful to hold). The Sparrows hooks are certainly functional and I managed to pick my practice lock with no issues. They ARE a little tight in the Yale style keyway, which makes sense as they're (I believe) US picks, so probably not the best for restrictive keyways.

I'm not sure how much use the rest of the set will get, but I almost see myself as as much a lockpick collector as a pick user or lock collector - it's fun to "catch em all" and you can be sure you always have the tool you need to hand, no matter how esoteric :). The case quality is good and I like the random pattern material.

The one area of improvement that I could immediately mention is the finish quality - however the metal itself is smooth and I haven't noticed any burrs etc so the discolouration may well simply be cosmetic.

I hope this has helped, and as and when I get any more observations with this kit I'll update this thread. Please feel free to chime in with your own observations, thoughts, pictures or questions :)
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MBI

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Post Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:00 am

Re: Sparrows...

Excellent pics, thanks for adding your review.
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mrdeus

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Post Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:36 pm

Re: Sparrows...

What is the coating on the Sparrows picks and what is it for? Corrosion resistance? Or is it just a byproduct from dipping the handles? It says above that it's some kind of brass coating.

I only have two picks from Sparrows (my main objective was getting a case): one worm with a handle which has this film/coating or whatever it is and one .0015 bogota which doesn't have a dipped handle and it also has no coating.
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Josh66

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Post Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:35 pm

Re: Sparrows...

I have not noticed this coating on any of my picks... I have a ton of Sparrows picks, though recently I've only been buying the undipped ones.

My guess would be that it must be some sort of adhesion promoter for whatever they're using for the handles. I say this because it seems it's only on the dipped picks and by all reports it wipes off easily enough. There wouldn't be any need for a corrosion preventative coating (and if that's what it was, it would be on all of them).

In aviation (I'm an aircraft mechanic), it's common to apply an adhesion promoter prior to sealing. Just to ensure that you get the optimal bond. Sort of like a special primer for sealant. I would bet that's what this is.
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escher7

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Location: Canada

Post Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:20 am

Re: Sparrows...

I have a variety of picks, but bought that Sparrow case after looking at all manufacturers. I holds a ton and is tough nylon which will never wear out in my lifetime. The price was also fair. Southord cases are much prettier and made of leather, but far too expensive.
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nine4t4

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Post Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:20 pm

Re: Sparrows...

Josh66 wrote:I have not noticed this coating on any of my picks... I have a ton of Sparrows picks, though recently I've only been buying the undipped ones.

My guess would be that it must be some sort of adhesion promoter for whatever they're using for the handles. I say this because it seems it's only on the dipped picks and by all reports it wipes off easily enough. .



I think you nailed it. Most of the stuff I got from Sparrows was without handles, and they are ready to polish. I have a couple of dipped picks but I take the autobody sandpaper to all my new picks so I never noticed this. DO NOT QUOTE ME ON THIS.....but I seem to recall Sparrows used slip-ons or something similar years ago. I think they switched to dipping, but I'm not 100%. Switching the process would explain why these complaints seem recent.

Anyone that expects a mass produced pick to be a piece of jewelry out of the box is delusional. My bogotas are the only picks I've ever had that came fully polished and even then I was grabbing 800, 1000, and compound.

I've got a Peterson kit in the mail, curious how much finishing I'll need to do. I'll try to remember to take pics before I polish them. If they are as close to ready as the Sparrows usually are, I'll be very impressed.
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OldSalt

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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Post Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:17 pm

Re: Sparrows...

Just purchased a set of their practice locks two to five pin . Find them challenging but I am a newbie.
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tpark

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Post Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:46 am

Re: Sparrows...

I have a number of Sparrows picks, and I'm pretty happy with them. I like their pinning tweezers too, they work well, and I like how they've shaped the end to hold the pins. nine4t4 mentions that he has Peterson picks coming. I have a number of Peterson picks - I've gotten some that are defective, but generally they are good, and only require minimal sanding. My experience has been that rough edges on the picks are problematic when picking, but as long as they're reasonably well sanded, they work well. Standard HPC picks need some sanding, the stainless ones I bought were better, and needed minimal work. The Southord picks are good, they didn't need sanding.

The Peterson prybars grab the keyway and slip less than the sparrows wrenches. The narrower/shallow hooks get used the most, and more exotic items aren't used much at all, except to be repurposed for other things.

Sometimes Sparrows extends the covering on the pick too far, and you have to cut it off, otherwise it's only good for 4 pin locks.

The Sparrows Bogota clone picks work well too.
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nine4t4

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Post Sun May 01, 2016 7:14 pm

Re: Sparrows...

After receiving my Peterson's, I have a new appreciation for Sparrows.

The Peterson's are good (with some sanding and polishing), but I used Sparrows for so long that they actually work better. I bought the Peterson's because most of my Sparrows have bent and been re-straightened enough that they are going to break soon. I broke my triple peak 2 days ago. :slam:

When I get Peterson's across the border to Canada: the exchage rate, shipping, HST and CanPost's handling... just aren't worth it. I'm going to stick with Sparrows for future purchases. 90% of the stuff I could want is at their Lock Pick Canada site and the shipping is usually under 10 buks
JOB: (n.) a series of tasks that aren't enjoyable, but are done in return for money. see Prostitution
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WestCoastPicks

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Post Sun May 01, 2016 8:46 pm

Re: Sparrows...

As stated above, sparrows metal is much too soft.

Their noodle err I mean short hook. Is like trying to pick a lock with a spaghetti noodle, they bend so much you can't feel the inside of the lock.. The picks deform way too fast and I'm not a big fan of their pick profiles.

Peterson does cost a lot more here in Canada but in my opinion they are well worth it. I have peterson picks I've been using for years. None of my sparrows have lasted over a couple months with regular use.

I started with a southord 14psx about 5 or 6 years ago. Quickly got a sparrows set and thought they were the best tools. Until that is they were not lasting even as long as the southord picks. That were less than half the price.

Shortly after ordering the sparrows (less than 2 months) they were basically all bent and trashed. I had to use my southord while I waited for my peterson order. That was over 4 years ago. I still have those Petersons and they aren't in that bad of shape.

I understand the appeal of sparrows because of the price and ease of ordering for Canadians, but to even compare them to Peterson, let's alone say they are better is baffling to me. Peterson is better in every single way bar price. Not just my opinion, Actual fact. The metal is better, the shapes are better, the handles are better, the feel is better and they last much longer. Too me that's worth a couple extra bucks.

In short my review for sparrows goes as follows:

A great mid range beginner pick. Comes in all the popular profiles, fairly well finished right from the factory, and if you pay a buck more per pick, you can even get handles on them.

The metal is a little soft, so I don't suggest this for new pickers who will be heavy handed while first learning. But for the mid range user who can pick locks without bending picks too bad. Cause these sparrows will not hold up. Even 5 years of added skill with the lightest of tension they still bend too easy and that short hook takes away all feeling once it starts flexing like the noodle it is.

The company it self is a great company. Owned by people who care and want your experience to be top notch. I've placed about a half dozen orders with sparrows in the last year, they never messed up my order once. They always ship fast and package well. They also include a sticker with most orders, I think that is awesome and wish other companies would do this.

If you are looking for a good mid range pick, sparrows is probably the best choice over other mid range companies. Keep in mind that the metal is a little soft and you will go through these picks faster than most other brands. But the profiles are better than southord and they cost less than Peterson.

-Harley
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tpark

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Post Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:03 pm

Re: Sparrows...

nine4t4 wrote:After receiving my Peterson's, I have a new appreciation for Sparrows.

The Peterson's are good (with some sanding and polishing), but I used Sparrows for so long that they actually work better. I bought the Peterson's because most of my Sparrows have bent and been re-straightened enough that they are going to break soon. I broke my triple peak 2 days ago. :slam:

When I get Peterson's across the border to Canada: the exchage rate, shipping, HST and CanPost's handling... just aren't worth it. I'm going to stick with Sparrows for future purchases. 90% of the stuff I could want is at their Lock Pick Canada site and the shipping is usually under 10 buks


What picks did you order? I'm curious about what you got, and your opinion about how they work.

--Ted
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