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Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:11 am
by Neilau
Hi People.

A question. Is it possible to pick a lock “to Death”

The reason that I ask is that I have been practicing (picking spools) with a lovely little Yale padlock that has several spool pins. After I got to know the lock, I could open it in anything from a minute to a few seconds,. Then I noticed that it was taking longer and longer to pop, until suddenly I can’t open it. Many hours spent trying. A couple of other practice locks have gone the same way.

Is it possible, as the key pins set on the shear line, that the top of the key pins have been deformed (rounded) and/or the bottom of the driver pin chambers have become deformed (elongated) so that the key pins will no longer set on the shear line. Brass being a relatively soft metal and sometimes I have had to use some force on the torsion tool.

If this is the case, would a good anti-picking feature be to chamfer (take the edge off) the top of the key pins and or bell out the bottom of the driver pin chambers (probably already done). It would only have to be very slight but enough to stop the key pin from setting.

Any comments??

Cheers.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:28 am
by GWiens2001
Yes, you can pick a lock to death. However, it may just be comatose. :-)

Try cleaning the lock. If you can disassemble the lock, do that. If not, WD-40 sprayed into the keyway several times, raking the pins, the blowing out the WD-40 with compressed air can help.

Also, if you have more pins, you can replace the old ones.

Camfering the pins makes the sheer line between the driver and key pin larger, making picking easier.

Most of the time, a simple cleaning will rejuvenate a lock.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

Gordon

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:30 am
by faygo6
In my time I've run into two locks that needed repair do to what I assume was to much tension. In one a security pin had developed a bur and impression on the side that guess stopped it from rising when it was under tension. I had to shim the lock to get it appart.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:30 am
by Medecopen
We'll I have a cheap brinks lock I bought to learn on and the first day I had it I picked it at least 100 times lol I'm limited on practice locks so it's been picked over and over and over again...
I can't pick it anymore the bottom of the lock is very wide from the tension tool spreading it apart so all my wrenches cant grab the bottom anymore.. I've put a wrench in the top and tried but no luck because the pick slides left and right of the pins as before the narrow lock holds it in place.. I'm sure I can get it but I've been busy on other locks and thigs so the thrill is gone but I'll get back to it I'm sure... I thought you were going to talk about that old master you opened once???

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:58 am
by Neilau
" I thought you were going to talk about that old master you opened once???"

Yes, that was one of the "other" locks that I was thinking of but I think (as well as being worn out) that it is just one SOB. Been in the naughty box the longest.

What inspired this question is that a lock that I have been opening regularly for weeks suddenly won't open any more.

Just when I thought I had the technique down, set pins would drop as I gently loosened off the tension to get the spools when they didn't before etc.

I'll try cleaning it as Gweins suggested as it is probably full of brass shavings. Can't take apart as it is a one piece padlock but if it continues to be too stubborn I might just take Mr Dremel to it and give it a "dammed good thrashing".

Actually I'll dissamble it as carefully as I can and see if I can see the problem.

Cheers.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:01 am
by easy-e
Does the key still work in the lock? If the key stops working something definitely broke. Have you tried picking it upside down (euro style) add one you get help from gravity?

Lubrication sounds likea good starting point.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:06 am
by Neilau
Yes, key works but it was a little sticky at first.

Maybe I just need to give it a rest till mp LP mojo comes back. My wife definitely thinks so. :whip:

Ever since I really got into SPP (since joining this forum) I've gotten calluses on my calluses. :D

Any one else had that problem??

Mojo, not wife!

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:10 am
by MBI
Neilau wrote:Maybe I just need to give it a rest till mp LP mojo comes back.... Any one else had that problem??

It can happen. I suggest keeping a "confidence lock" around. Some lock that you enjoy, or once enjoyed picking. A lock that's not very difficult and that you know so well you can pick it in your sleep, every time, without fail.

Always end a practice session on a positive note. If any particular lock is plaguing you and you just can't get it open, sometimes you just need to take a break from it. But before you put down your tools, grab your confidence lock and pick it open at least once, just so psychologically you still keep that mojo flowing and you don't feel like you were beaten. It can help keep you from dipping into a slump.

Neilau wrote:Is it possible to pick a lock “to Death”

I've seen it plenty of times. Here are a few examples off the top of my head:

-Locks that have been raked so much they're full of brass dust and there are deep grooves worn in the pin tips from the picks.

-Burrs on the sides of pins from being scratched up with sharp tips on picks, the burrs prevent them from moving up and down freely.

-Burrs on the edges of pin holes that have the same effect.

-Overcompressed springs.

-Springs that have had one end slip between the plug and shell, which can seize up rotation, or at least make it grind horribly when you try to turn it.

-KIK cylinders with the sides crimped in from being held improperly or too tightly in a vise.

-Top caps that have been launched off, sometimes breaking the top edges of the bible in the process, usually from excessive or improper use of a pick gun. Or sometimes because it's a cheap chinese copy (usually of a Kwikset) and the shell of the KIK is plastic.

-Master pins/wafers that have slid in between the plug and shell making rotation difficult or seizing it up entirely, usually because of heavy wear on the lock, or improper masterkeying.

-Keyways that are so chewed up from picks and tension wrenches that you can't even tell which keyway it is anymore and sometimes makes key insertion difficult. Sometimes it's just chewed at the front but a couple of times I've seen locks which appear to have very little warding remaining as I look down the keyway.

-Wafer locks with bent and jammed wafers, usually from aggressive raking.

-Plugs that have cracked in half, usually from the top edge of the keyway to the outer edge of the plug, either from heavy tensioning or just cheap lock materials.


Some of these conditions are repairable, or as GWiens put it they "may just be comatose". Sometimes, they're toast, in which case I usually gut them and toss any usable parts in a jar for future repairs of other locks.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:55 pm
by rai
I once gave a lock and a couple of picks to a couple, Carol and Peter, later, I found that Peter could pick the lock by Carol couldn''t but the lock was becoming harder to pick,
It was a master #3
I looked in the keyway and found that attempts to pick it with heavy tension had eroded a groove in the cylinder wall at the bottom of the keyway,
Now I don't know the whole history of changes in the master#3 but it seems to me also that Peter was helpfully telling Carol to pick counterclockwise, while he was getting it open by picking CW. On a master lock this should open in either direction, but that was at least as long ago as the early 1980's or earlier, maybe the lock wasn't either way works back then or maybe carol just couldn't pick

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:06 pm
by Neilau
MOJOs back !! :D

Seriously, GWiens was right. Gave it a good clean and lube and a lot of brass shavings came out.

I've also modified the tip of the pick - no sharp edges.

Thank to all for the info, particularly MBIs detailed post,

Thanks man for taking the time to write such an informative post. It should form the basis of a sticky.

That's what I love about this site, the knowledgeable people who take the time to share their knowledge and expreience.

I learn something all the time.

:hbg:

Thank you all again. :salute:

Cheers.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:28 am
by huxleypig
I've scraped the bottom of my Assa Twin pins so much they sit too deep on the key and it doesn't work very well any more.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:16 pm
by Oldfast
Neilau wrote:Thank to all for the info, particularly MBIs detailed post....

I agree. Thanks for that list you put together MBI. I enjoyed looking it over.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:56 pm
by kmh
I have 3 American 1100 locks I bought for learning serrated pins that I could pick in 2 to 5 mins. Now I'm Lucky if I can open 2 of the locks in 15 plus mins. I bought 8 new ones for practice as I thought I was regressing but I can pick all 8 in roughly 15 mins. Maybe I will try the suggestions here and clean and lube the 2 that give me issues.

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:34 pm
by rai
Keyways that are so chewed up from picks and tension wrenches that you can't even tell which keyway it is anymore and sometimes makes key insertion difficult. Sometimes it's just chewed at the front but a couple of times I've seen locks which appear to have very little warding remaining as I look down the keyway. (copied from MBI's post)

but that just means its almost picked, keep working in there till all the warding is mined out, then it will be so much easier and if that you are still not getting it, just mine the plug out of there and grab on the bolthandles

Re: Question - is it possible to pick a lock "to Death"

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:57 pm
by 80553
I have a euro cutaway where the first pin oversets diagonally when anything enters the keyway. Whenever you blind pick it you need to tap it so it drops to see if all the other pins are set. Probably spring damage derived from drunkpicking.