Tumblers, Metal 2.0, And other stuff
Few things to cover, so I'll just jump right in. Not sure if she wants her name mentioned on here, but I had a call from someone who's been researching the ideal metals for lockpicks for years. We talked for about an hour about metal, tumbler choices, etc. It was a fantastic conversation that led to a couple of things:
#1: Choosing a vibratory finisher. Which I've done now. She actually followed up with some subsequent emails to help me pick one out, also. I recently sold some Disc Detainer picks & Abus Plus cutaways to pay for it.
#2: She provided me a number of high quality metal options. I know I already have a metal in mind, and to be honest, the thought of thinking about this yet again at this late stage stressed me out, but she really knows her stuff and did an amazing job explaining her reasoning and research to me. So, I've been sourcing a couple of her suggestions and am cutting a batch of picks in each type of metal. Here's the important part, though:
#3: These aren't just "test batches." Unless one of the metal options turns out to be unusable, they should all be very very good to pick with. So each of the metal types that are cut in this first batch will be distributed. I'll try them out before shipping of course, as I won't let anyone wind up with a brittle or unusable set, but these should be the first picks that wind up in backers hands.
So, thank you to ... her! Haha, I should have asked if I was allowed to mention who it was. But it really was a fantastic conversation that helped me finalizing the finishing process & gave me some awesome metal advice to boot.
So, the first batches of metal are out to the etcher, so I should have news on that shortly. Also this week, now that metal, process, etc. are all settled, I'll be spending some time on the mill making cutaways of everything from normal pin tumblers to safes to high security padlocks. I will not pre-sell anything. I've learned that lesson resolutely. But, as they come off the mill I'll make them available for sale. All money raised from the sale of cutaways will go directly toward sending more and more metal to the etcher and distributing more and more picks to all of you.
I'm also organizing an event locally that I'll have more information on as well. Basically an evening of lockpicking lectures & workshops the proceeds from which will go toward metal.
One of the founders of RVASec, Jake Kouns, reached out to me a while back to provide an opportunity to help get this project back on track. He's giving me a training slot at RVASec with the understanding that any money I make from it will go directly toward pick production. If you are anywhere in the Virginia area I'd recommend trying to attend the conference, and if you are interested, come in for my full day training as well: http://rvasec.com/training/
I'm going to start promoting the heck out of that!
So, expect a 2nd update by the weekend which will contain: information about cutaways coming off the mill. Information about the local event I'll be hosting. Should have some news from the etcher. And more of course. Now, on to non-pick updates:
I mentioned a while back that I spoke at the recent TEDxSomerville. You can now watch the video of my talk, "Locks are Beautiful":
The book is starting to hum along. I had been struggling with my origins of locks chapter for a long time now, but I've just finished the relatively rough draft of it, and I believe I can definitively prove that the pin lock did not originate in Egypt as is commonly believed. It is likely a small minority of you who are tantalized by that news, but I am completely thrilled to have figured it out.
I'll be giving 2 talks at MIT this month, and running a lockpicking village at Source Boston!
On the 19th I'll be giving a lunch talk at the Center for Civic Media: http://civic.mit.edu/civic-media-lunch-schuyler-towne
And at 4pm on the 27th I'll be giving a 3 hour workshop/lecture at the MIT-Singapore GAMBIT Game Lab. No information up on their site, yet, but if you are in the area you should check it out.
I'll also be running the lockpicking village at Source Boston which is always a great time: http://www.sourceconference.com/boston/
Alright! More pick-specific stuff soon, it seems like things are almost starting to get a rhythm to them again. :)