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Rake or SPP



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Post Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:57 pm

Rake or SPP

It really differs from person to person what you prefer.
If you like the drive, you might be spp, if you like the destination you may opt to rake.
Sometimes, I like to sit down and work each pin at a time and other times, I just want it opened quickly with a rake.
Of course, some locks are quicker spp then raking. UNRAKABLE?
One might think that spp is 'sexier' and raking is amateur. I think that the important skill to develop is tension. Yes, tension is so under emphasized... you must know that.
I always try the rake first. The honor in raking is best shown when performing static picks for emergency situations, better it opens the lock asap.
I would feel the fool if I spent 5 min doing a job that would have taken 5 secs.

the lockpickkid

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Post Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:16 pm

Re: Rake or SPP

Lots of people put down the use of raking a lock, just as some put down the use of the big easy tool for opening cars. When you are doing some work for a customer and if they are in a hurry, rake it if you can, same goes with the big easy, if they are in a hurry, they don't care how you get in, just that you do so they can get the hell out of there (non destructive of course). On most locks I will rake them in and out a few times with a snake, then go in and SPP with a hook. I see nothing wrong with it. What does irritate myself and others is people saying they can pick locks but the only method they know is to rake, and if it doesn't pop open they are done. Some locksmiths in the area here that do just that, they will try to rake a lock open a few times and if that don't work, it's off to the van to get a great big drill. I am very surprised at the amount of locksmiths here that don't know how to pick a lock and don't even own picks.
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Post Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:48 pm

Re: Rake or SPP

I guess you blokes are talking from a professional point of view? so i can't really comment on that, but I own some locks that i just can't pop open unless i rake them, and i have some i can't pop unless i bypass them.
So my opinion on the whole SPP Vs Rake is, if it opens who cares how you did it, There is still a certain amount of skill involved either way and as long as you go in to a job looking and acting professional, you'll always be a winner.
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Post Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:48 pm

Re: Rake or SPP

I enjoy both... spp is much more rewarding and I enjoy the challenge, although it's interesting to see how the lock responds to other techniques aswell.

After I spp something I'll usually try to rake it open to see if it can be done. Many locks will open in just a few seconds, which I have to admit is pretty cool... so if I was on a lockout I'd definately try raking first. At the very least it softens them up for quick cleanup with a hook; I've also found that if you're spp'ing a lock and get to a point where you're not quite sure of the pin states, a quick rake will finish it off aswell so it's a very useful technique when time is a factor.

Raking takes a fair bit of practice to get the right feel for, it doesn't take nearly as much practice or skill as spp but it's not something that anyone can just pick up and do. You need to use VERY light tension, and to be skilled at it you have to know how to move the pick according to what you can feel inside the lock. You also need to know how much pick pressure to apply, and control the tension correctly. It's not just a case of applying light tension and wiggling the pick around, although that's not to say locks won't open like that cos I have a few here that do :shock:

I think the better you are at spp, the better you'll be at raking. Kinda like giving an AR to someone who is good with a bolt action :mrgreen:


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Post Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: Rake or SPP

As a pro, nothing feels better than manipulation by single pins! But as a hobbiest, nothing beats single pin picking! The difference raking makes is potential speed; and we all know that the faster you can complete a job the more jobe one can do in a day.

Locksport is all about the conquest. I would never commit more than a minute or two in picking a Medeco, MTL, or any other High Security cylinder, in the field. (A fool would give $100 worth of labor to open a $40 cylinder).
In the sport of picking, however, I have been known to spend a week to conquer a MTL, or some other, maybe more exotic lock.

So when I pracitce, sometimes I pick individual pinstacks; sometimes I rake with different rake configurations; and some days all I do is experiment with bypass techniques. It all depends on the mood.
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Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:01 am

Re: Rake or SPP

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Post Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:24 am

Re: Rake or SPP

I agree about the importance of tension. One of the biggest misconceptions is a tension wrench is just to turn the plug. But they don't know that the timing is important for raking and feel is important if you want to know if the pins are setting in place.

Oh and to answer the question, I think most of us use both. Raking works well if you're on the job but SPP is better if you have nothing to do and you just want the satisfaction of beating locks.
Distrust and caution are the parents of security. - Benjamin Franklin


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Post Sun Dec 01, 2013 10:50 pm

Re: Rake or SPP

Well from my point of view as a hobby picker I prefer SPP over raking. There's just something tactile and nice about carefull SPP.


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Post Sun Dec 01, 2013 11:28 pm

Re: Rake or SPP

I'm happy when the plug turns but if I've only racked it open I feel I haven't learned the lock and it's charactoristics...
I want a feel for it and learn the binding order etc... If I ever get a job doing this tho ofcourse once it's open I won't look back or think twice about moving on... Just learning atm..
I'd agree that some May have a real skill at racking but when sombody sticks a pick in a lock and it racks open that doesn't make it skillful.


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Post Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Rake or SPP

You need both styles. Raking, I refer a more subtle scrub/jiggler motion, can be EXTREMELY fast if you are skilled at it. The way to gain skill is by SPP. You can saw away at a lock like a chimp with OCD and it will eventually open. Eventually, being the time between now and eternity.

But if you visualize what the lock is doing and pay attention to the tension and the picks feed back it goes much faster. When raking I rush to 2 or 3 pins. STOP. And then the work becomes about the tension wrench and visualizing which pins need to be set. Then I slowly work the TW and pick together to nail the remaining pins.

I've also noticed that the tension wrench is as important in raking as it is in SPP. I've tried using Bogotas on some locks as they were meant to be used (with the second as the TW) and drove myself crazy. When I grab my mangled TW (a hose clamp that was attacked with a file and diagonal cutters) it opens like it was a Bypass tool. I can feel the lock better with my street scrap TW than any proper wrench. And feeling the lock is important in scrubbing (raking to me is ripping a coarse pick out while under tension). If a TW makes a difference there must be a skill involved.

When showing off to people that don't understand lockpicking, I scrub first (but I call it clearing the pins so that I can pick). Once the tension wrench moves I swap to a traditional pick. The scrubbing occasional will get caught by security pins, but if you ramp the tension smoothly it usually sets a few pins in a second or two.

If it takes longer than it should (because I screwed up scrubbing), compliment the lock with reverence for being so secure and humlbing me, relax and do it SPP. Though alone I have been known to scrub a lock like a chimp with OCD


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Post Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:47 am

Re: Rake or SPP

I am not a locksmith and hence time spent opening the lock is not critical to me, but I have to admit I enjoy ripping open a lock in seconds by raking it. On more difficult locks, I tend to rake first and then finish it up by SPP. I think they are both equally valuable skills and that they complement each other. To me, there is really no reason to look down upon raking. Sure, there are locks out there which someone with virtually no skill could jiggle open with hairpins/bobby pins, but I think that says more about the lock than anything else.



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Post Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:00 am

Re: Rake or SPP

I am envious of those of you who can pick a pin at a time. Over the years I have tried it a time or two, but always resort to raking or impressioning. That usually works. If not the next step is some type of bypass. You guys are tempting me to give single picking another try.

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