Posted on 5th Mar 2017
It's a question everyone asks - why do lock picks break?
It's happened to me, you and everyone that picks locks - your favourite pick, the first one out of a new set, or just during a session on a cold Sunday afternoon, a pick breaks. In fact I can guarantee it'll happen to you again. But why, what's going on?
Lock picks break because of two main reasons: material weakness and technique weakness.
By this I mean the pick itself has either has an inherent weakness or with time has developed one. Most picks are manufactured from sheet steel, stainless steel or with cheaper Chinese sets it may have a higher copper content. The manufacturing process may have lead to micro-fractures or tension at sites in the pick that can lead to it snapping when too much stress is applied.
Also, with time, a pick can develop weaknesses and micro fractures - it's just inevitable. All that stress and strain adds up.
This means you. It's when you use lock picks incorrectly. Often we'll read that people are using a pick as a turning tool, applying torque to the barrel to help set the pins. STOP THIS NOW! Turning tools, also known as tension wrenches, are specifically designed to do this job - do not use lock picks in this way, despite how convenient or natural it feels. As always it's a case of the right tool for the right job. WithoutaKey sells more than 10 types of turning tool so you have the right tool available to you.
Particular picking techniques will also be more damaging to picks. Consider single pin picking (SPP) over raking for example.
How to reduce lock picks breaking
Now you know the two main reasons for a pick snapping you can actually change your techniques and approach to help reduce the probability of a snap. Firstly, choose a good set of picks, none are 100% snap-proof, but SouthOrd picks are a better strength than most Chinese lock pick sets. In fact they also do a high tensile strength version that can take a good battering. Secondly, buy some turning tools, and take that unnecessary pressure off that other pick. In the end, remember that it's inevitable - you will break a pick.
1. Practice little and often...It is much better to practice lockpicking if you sit down and practice say for a short time - take a break and return to it later rather than one longer practice session. Not only will you be able to practice for longer overall but during the breaks your brain will [...]
This week I would discuss the very popular and highly used technique of 'Raking'. If you don't know this is a method of opening pin tumbler and wafer locks. Raking a lock is probably the first method that most people who begin to learn lock picking will use.A Blazing must-read article I was recently thinking [...]
Last time I shared two great videos which provided some additional lock picking techniques to have. If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet then I would certainly recommend you do as the more techniques you have in your arsenal the better. This week I want to share a video that I came [...]
I want to provide you with two new ways to pick pin tumbler locks that you may not have seen before. The most common methods of picking pin tumblers is of course by either raking or single pin picking. I've got two great videos to share with you today that will provide you with two [...]
It's interesting to see what locks are in use in other countries. I came across a particularly interesting post on a forum that shows a very robust looking Russian lock.Have a click on the link and you will not only see the lock but the internal mechanism has also been photographed. You can [...]
Last time you might recall that I spoke about the picking of the unpickable lock. The bicycle lock that was thought to be pick-proof but which was later cleverly picked by use of a bump key. Internal Workings Staying on the theme of pick-proof locks though you might want to take a look at the Abloy [...]
After speaking last time about unpickable locks I thought I'd turn my attention to security pins as these are what you will find on many locks now making them much more pick-proof.The more you know... Knowing how to detect security pins will save you a lot of time and frustration. Security pins can give the [...]
How unpickable is an unpickable lock? It seems that the question should be 'How long is an unpickable lock unpickable for?' A while ago I shared with you a video of a newly designed bicycle lock that was deemed to be unpickable. It was a truly unique design because the key was inserted into [...]
It's probably the most asked about question in locksport. We examine UK law and the ethics of lock picking in this article so you can be 100% confident. Lock picking can be a rewarding hobby and can quickly become an obsession (and even a career) but one of the longest running debates behind it is - [...]