Picks & their best uses! $23,000! No Candy Keys!
Hello! Oh, hi, hello, hey, how are you? Let me tell you how I am.
When I woke up this morning we were already over $20k! Then, I rolled over and checked for a piece in The Atlantic about the project! Then, I talked at length with the folks at Exotic Liability. I had a blast with them. I tried hard, for the first 5 minutes or so, to stay high-minded and on-message, but it's impossible and that's what makes their show fun to listen to. We definitely talked locks, but there were tons of stories and innuendo mixed in to make a very entertaining podcast that I'll likely have to keep my Mother from listening to. Then, I went over to my friend Jeff's to cast our candy keys! I had a really wonderful time, but, I do have some bad news:
No Candy Keys!
I'll say this much, it was a bad idea to start with the EVVA 3KS, but it's the one we're all most excited about. We cast 2 keys tonight, neither of which worked. I'm confident that we'll be able to make it work. Jeff is talented and determined and that's most of what you need to accomplish anything! What I did learn, though, was how long it would take, how fragile the keysare and how inconsistent they would be. So - I think trying to ship them with the locks and picks and all of that will likely just lead to disaster! I don't want to let the 300% go unrewarded, though, so I'm going to come up with a new awesome bonus that won't lead to disaster! Also? I'm going to try to think of a 400% bonus too, as we're nearly there already!
I'm sorry about the keys, but I'll provide progress reports on our experiments along with video and such. I really think we can get that 3KS open with the sugar key, just have to get the mold and setting process perfect. Honestly? It's not hard to cast keys, even complex ones, but, casting them in a food safe mold out of sugar throws some major twists.
What's in the set and what's it good for?
OK! Probably the biggest question people ask me is about what will be in the collection and what type of locks you'll use it for. It's funny, once you get pretty solid with lockpicking you'll know that very few picks are meant for specific types of locks. In general the different pick types are solve different problems in the same type of lock. Anyhow, here's a rundown of several common and some uncommon picks!
And a quick key: if its got a [+] it WILL be in the collection, if its got a [-] it will NOT be in the collection. Anything with a [?] is in the running!
Rakes, Hooks & Profile picks, oh my!
There are three major categories of lock picks. Rakes typically consist of multiple sharp or flowing curves and are meant to manipulate multiple pins at once. Hooks are just the opposite, consisting of a single point, though there is a great deal of variety in how that point is designed. Hooks are meant to manipulate a single pin at a time. Profile picks are all sharp angles and may seem completely random at first blush. These are designed to recreate the profile of the key with minimal manipulation.
There are outliers that don't fall into the three main groups. Of those, most important are the diamond & ball picks. I'll cover those in depth.
There are other hooks and other single pin picks that straddle the line between hook and something else, but by the time you come across them, you'll be able to deduce their function.
Diamonds and Balls
Really important note about half-diamonds, and I was guilty of this myself for the first year and a half I picked, most pickers don't understand their proper use. They are often described as half-hook, half-rake, because they move so smoothly across the pins, are wide enough to manipulate 2 at once, but still have a defined tip that can move a single pin at a time. Similar to the c-rake I mentioned previously, the half-diamond, when used in this fashion, will seem awesome as it pops simple locks open with little-to-no effort. However, this method fails quickly on more difficult bittings. To quickly define that, the bitting is the pattern of the key pins. If you have very little variation, a lock is easier to pick. Simple test: look at your key, does it look flat? Or does it have big changes in height from cut to cut? The more complex those cuts, the harder the lock is to pick.
The real value of the half-diamond comes from those sloped sides. In situations where you need to move a pin very little, or when you have to apply stronger tension than normal, a half-diamond is your best friend. Take the situation of a serrated pin. Serrated pins have grooves cut along their base so that when you apply tension to the cylinder they will get caught & feel as though you have set the lock. Moving a serrated pin is a delicate process, if you push too hard you are liable to shove the key pin up into the bible of the lock, foiling your whole picking attempt and forcing you to reset. Using a half-diamond you can carefully push the pick head deeper into the lock, letting the pin ride up the side. This gives you much more control than a hook ever could.
I'm probably going to start some fights when I discuss rakes. I will be the first to admit that my tastes are sometimes non-standard, but I've tried countless tools and opened a lot of locks, so trust me. Then, when you find out I'm completely wrong and you don't open any locks, you'll have learned a valuable lesson about trusting experts on the internet.
Profile Picks Profile picks are a really interesting concept. Rather than try to actively manipulate the pins in the lock, the profile picks try to simply set all of them to a specific configuration, then test the lock. This is the brute force attack of lockpicking. The strength of the attack comes down to the size of your library.
Matadors and Cruciform Rakes There are all sorts of other interesting picks out there. Matadors, for example, are rakes for dimple locks, Cruciform rakes are for cruciform locks. You don't see many of either in the states, with the exception of Mul-T-Lock, which are actually pretty exceptional locks and not likely to be popped by Matadors. The reason I bring these up together is that they are very effective tools against locks that seem intimidating when you first encounter them.
Oh man, that went on forever!
Haha, OK, I'm going to bed! Hope this was informative!
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