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A pre-sale of custom lockpicks designed by a competitive lockpicker to bring "Open Locksport" to market.
Created by

Schuyler Towne

1,159 backers pledged $87,407 to help bring this project to life.

Tumblers, Metal 2.0, And other stuff

Hey, Everyone!

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:

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:

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:

Alright! More pick-specific stuff soon, it seems like things are almost starting to get a rhythm to them again. :)


    1. Creator Bronny C. on July 27, 2012

      I want my money back. Anyone else? I'm willing to take this as far as a class action lawsuit if other's are interested.

    2. Creator Rusty on June 29, 2012

      Pretty much the same sentiment as the other backer comments here. We came, we saw, and it failed. C'est la vie.

    3. Creator Hjalti G. Hjartarson on June 29, 2012

      Very disapointed in how this turned out. This is a failed project in my mind :(

    4. Creator Nathaniel McLaughlin on June 27, 2012

      WTF is going on. No updates again? Big surprise.

    5. Creator Brian on June 23, 2012

      Seriously, how many times have you had to apologize for failing to update? Project is going on 2 years of "investigation", I could have chewed myself pics out of adamantium by now. I AM DISSAPOINT.

    6. Creator dnevill on June 17, 2012

      No new updates for two months almost certainly means more bad news, but its better to let us know whats up than leave us hanging.

    7. Creator PhotoGuy on June 12, 2012

      Schuyler is a joke.

    8. Creator Tyler Hibbard on June 9, 2012

      Please update. I think it is inexcusable that you logged in nearly two months after your last update and still haven't posted a new one yet.

    9. Creator Mark Barger on June 8, 2012

      This is ridiculous.

    10. Creator Jonathan Drake on June 8, 2012

      Hello? A once a month update would be nice.

    11. Creator Brad Howard on June 5, 2012

      Two months ago we were getting some very encouraging news, but since then we've heard nothing. How did the batches turn out? Have they been distributed? Have new issues emerged, and, if so, how are they being handled? Please, keep us in the loop. The suspense is maddening.

    12. Creator MacGyver101 on May 28, 2012

      Even though the daily calls for updates have dwindled, please don't take that as a lack of interest: many of us are still checking in regularly, and would appreciate an update on how things are going.

    13. Creator Bryan Green on May 10, 2012

      Any updates since last month?

    14. Creator Bruce Barnett on April 12, 2012

      You could take the experimental picks, and use them as extras/bonuses for the sets you are providing. Throw in a free pick. At least you don't have to worry about people complaining about getting the wrong metal.

    15. Creator MacGyver101 on April 11, 2012

      "I believe I can definitively prove that the pin lock did not originate in Egypt as is commonly believed." If you haven't already, you should check out Scott Klemm's book, "Ancient Locks: The Evolutionary Development of the Lock and Key"; he's also compiled a lot of research in the area, and came to a similar conclusion.

    16. Creator Mike Little on April 9, 2012

      I thought I'd read all the updates you've been sending out, but I guess I must have missed one.

      Am I correct in interpreting sentences like "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." and "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." to mean that you don't have the money to produce all the picks and other goods that we, the pledgers, have paid for?

    17. Creator Odie Arkayus on April 9, 2012

      I am willing to give up my place in line so you can get rid of at least one of the people who think you owe them and cry the loudest. I am happy that you finally have the knowledge you were missing and I can wait as long as it takes since now we can get the highest quality picks that you promised. I am glad you didn't lower your standards just to get rid of this hassle in your life.