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Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:28 pm
by hank_s
I have a Schlage deadbolt with 4 spool tumblers (1-4) and a solid tumbler (pin 5). Removed first three tumblers, leaving spool @4 and pin @5. Looking at the key you see that both positions 4&5 are identical. Pin 4 is the set pin.
Because of the design of the cylinder ledge, I cannot set 4 and then attack 5 -- when I set 5 pin 4 drops. There is no clearance under the tumblers for my homemade diamond pick to address 5 without messing up 4.

I found a solution by inserting my regular (fat) diamond pick at 45 degrees, raking and by stroke of luck it opens. Sloppy. How can I reach tumbler 5 without disturbing others? There's no room in the Schlage cylinder to set back tumblers without messing up others.

My solution will be to buy slim line picks and work tumblers at a slight angle. What pick works best with this cylinder? Does this make sense?

Re: Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:27 am
by Rockjunkie15
I'm a newb as well but I have several Schlage cylinders that I pick and I use a .050 top of the key way tension tool and a .015 Peterson gem pick and I can reach and set any of the pins pretty easily, even with radical bidding.

Re: Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:22 am
by Papa Gleb
Hey, the SC keyway is one of the most common in the U.S. So it's very good that your getting practice with this lock. As for the bitting I can't see how it is a problem, if you set 4 then5 is right at the same height so it should be very reachable UNLESS your pick and pick position is causing the problem. Try using a thin pick and go with the curves of the keyway. Meaning set 4 then put the pick on the bottom of the keyway till your under 5 and move the pick with the curve. Maybe bad explaination but get a thinner pick and your problem will be solved.

Re: Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:11 am
by VancouverSpecial
Hank,

Welcome to the forums.

Great advice so far - most likely a matter of technique, which will improve with practice. And you've got the right idea by progressively pinning the cylinders to work you way up.

I'm a big fan of the Peterson Gem, which should give you more reach than a diamond. Also, for the standard Schlage keyways I don't think you need to worry about finding slimline/thin picks - it could help but not essential for success.

It occurs to me you might be getting a false set with the spool pin, which could be jamming you up. Check out the following two videos that explain spool pins, false sets and how to deal with them. Even if it's not the cause of your current problem the information is crucial for picking spool.

Once you get the hang of it most spool pins become straightforward - pick to false set - find the pin that gives counter rotation - slowly release tension while maintaining a constant upward pressure on the pin with pick - spool pin sets with satisfying snap - look for the next binder - repeat until open.

Bosnianbill - (189) How to Detect and Beat Spool Pins (for Beginners)


Schuyler Towne - 19 - Picking Security Pins


If you haven't read it yet check out the pdf 'LI Guide to Lockpicking - A Locksport Primer' - I found it very useful when I was just starting out.

Above all keep practicing as it gets much easier with some time and patience - oh, asking questions here on KP helps too :)

Kind regards,
Sean


edits - to fix brain malfunctions

Re: Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:01 pm
by hank_s
Thanks to all for excellent advice. I'm ordering a .015 Peterson Gem today. My problem is not enough "reach" with the homemade straight diamond pick. :halfdiamond:
After I master the current configuration I'll get my lady to mix up key pins for further practice.
Cheers!

Re: Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:36 pm
by HT4
I started out using .015" picks on Schlage keyways (picking from the bottom of the keyway), but I soon discovered that doesn't work well for the better made Schlages with tighter tolerances (it gets hung up in between the warding). It is FAR easier for me to use a .025" pick resting on top of the angled warding on the left side of the keyway. You will find that the thickness of the pick will prevent the pick from sliding down the warding if you keep the tool vertical.

The thicker/stronger pick will make picking spools easier because (at least in my style of picking) picking spools entails a "fight" between the rotation of the tension tool, and the counter rotation caused by lifting the spool. .015" picks can handle it if treated gently, but the more gentle you are, the more likely you are to drop other pins when setting the spool. Thus, I'll usually open a lock much faster if I can use heavier tension... its also nice that I don't have to worry about moderating tension so that I don't damage my tools.

Also, FWIW, I have about 60+ used Schlage practice cylinders... In practice sessions, I've picked eachat least 10 times (probably more... I practice often). None of them had pins that couldn't be set with a Peterson #1 hook. Maybe I got lucky with the bitting, or maybe you got unlucky, but I'd suggest that you give a slightly shallower hook a try because the smaller pick is easier to maneuver around the inside of the lock. Just my $.02.

Good luck.

Re: Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:03 pm
by xeo
Is that the key for the lock you're trying to pick in the background? If so, you shouldn't need to touch any of the pins except 2 and 3. Lifting 1 4 or 5 higher than even a smidgeon and it will overset.

Re: Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:37 pm
by Papa Gleb
lol Xeo is absolutely correctly. Dont know how I missed it but 1,4 and 5 are Schalges deepest cuts.

Re: Help Picking Schlage with Spool Tumblers - (Newbie)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:40 pm
by hank_s
HT4 - I just ground down my fat pick to .025 - will give it a try. It has a hook like the GEM and seems aggressive. I will try (make) shallower hook and give it a try.
XEO - Yes that's the key. Not too exciting. When I get more experienced I'll mix up or replace the key pins for more drama :-)

Thanks again to all who commented.