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beginners frustration



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Familiar Face

Posts: 135

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:01 pm

Location: California

Post Sat May 21, 2016 7:05 am

Re: beginners frustration

You have gotten a ton of really great advice and I really only have one small thing to add:

When I am working with people to get better at single pin picking I always suggest that they redefine the goal away from actually opening the lock.
This seems strange, right? It is, but we often get so hung up in opening the damn things that we forget to learn from them.
Rather make your goal feeling a single pin set. Just one single pin. Set it over and over until you can recognize it in your sleep.
Next back off on your tension until you can feel it when it is more subtle. Remember, you are not opening the lock. Just feeling for a single pin to set.
Keep backing off the tension until you can just hardly feel it. Only then start working on the other pins with the goal of opening the lock.

I hope this helps you. Good luck, and keep picking!



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Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 8:22 am

Location: Georgia

Post Sat May 21, 2016 8:26 am

Re: beginners frustration

I'm still a noob too, and it can be frustrating at times.. I learned the hard way not to go full bore and load up 5-6 security pins in a lock and expect it to open as fast as standards LOL

about the time i got into the hobby, i was working with a former locksmith, he was kind enough to give me a box of stuff to play with ( right before he moved 3 hours away with a HUGE stash of stuff) , so i have some kwiksets i can send you for that wide open keyway practice if you'd like, send me a PM when you get a chance



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Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:53 pm

Location: Singapore

Post Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:22 pm

Re: beginners frustration

I think practice is key and also the ability to not give up. Think of it as a special skill which few know.



Posts: 2

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:29 pm

Post Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:35 pm

Re: beginners frustration

I am new and trying to teach myself to pick locks. Do members here trade locks? Or does anyone have any easy to open locks I can borrow,pick and return? Lots of good advice from this forum. I live in Maine,U.S.A.
Last edited by jerkface on Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:19 pm

Location: Germany

Post Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: beginners frustration

For questions like this it might be helpful to narrow down your location.
In case you wonder ... Martin Hewitt is a fictional detective in stories by Arthur Morrison:
Martin Hewitt, Investigator Chronicles of Martin Hewitt


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Posts: 338

Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:13 am

Location: Germantown, Ohio

Post Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:03 am

Re: beginners frustration

IMHO, the best locks to start with are Master padlocks that you can buy new for pretty cheap at any hardware store... the No.2 and No.5 locks are easy to get going with. Kwikset deadbolts/knobs are pretty easy beginner locks, too, and seems like everyone I've ever known has a box of old ones in their basement they've switched out over the years and feel like they shouldn't throw away. Bosnian Bill has a video that has a good beginner progression starting with the basic straight-pin Master locks and working up thru the 140/150 to get used to spools, then the 570 for slightly more difficult spools and no return spring that will help you develop your tension control... after that, it's up to you, but I went for American padlocks, then Abus Titaliums. All of those are generally under $25 and easy enough to find, just buy one or two a month or whatever you can afford. Once you've got the hang of those you'll be itching for a real challenge, and the really challenging locks start to cost money... that's when you'll want t start trading more. In the beginning it's generally cheaper to just buy them than pay all the shipping back and forth for the cheap ones. Ebay is also a great source for getting locks on the cheap.

Patrick Star

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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:40 pm

Location: Sweden

Post Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:37 am

Re: beginners frustration

While small padlocks are a good way to learn how to handle the tools etc., I think they actually aren't a great source of actual picking practice.
The reason is that they have such crappy mechanisms. You often have pins essentially setting by themselves just by randomly poking around inside the lock, so you don't really get a feel for the entire process of setting pin by pin. Plus, when they don't open, it can be for totally random reasons which perhaps teach you how to beat horribly broken locks into submission but not the finer points of actual lockpicking.

I'd suggest getting one of the easily re-pinnable locks, such as https://learnlockpicking.com/
IIRC there's a member on the forum selling similar ones as well.

That way you can work your way up on standard pins and then start learning how to deal with spools and serrated pins in a controlled way.
Plus it means you'll get comfortable actually working with the insides of locks, which you'll need later on.

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