Have you been locked out of a building and need to get in urgently? Maybe there’s a particular cupboard or storage unit in your home that you need to get into but have lost the key. If either of those are the case, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to look at how to pick most basic locks, as well as some of the issues surrounding picking your own locks. Lockpicking is a useful skill that could come in handy at any point, so it’s a good thing to have in your locker.
Remember, this isn’t something you should be doing to get into properties you don’t own or have permission to enter. While lockpicking is a good skill to have, this article is not to be used to help you commit crimes. Make sure you only pick locks that you own or have been asked to pick, or have specific permission to do so. As long as that’s clear, let’s get started by looking at some of the issues surrounding lock picking….
Why you might need to pick a lock
The most common reason people might want to pick a lock is because they’ve locked themselves out of their home. Maybe you left your keys inside and walked out the door without thinking, or maybe you lost your keys. That’s why most people want to start picking locks. There are other reasons, too. Maybe you’ve got a locked box or cupboard or other lock in your home that you need to have access to, but haven’t known where the key is for a long time. That’s another good reason to try and pick a lock.
Is picking a lock legal?
If you’re picking the lock of something you own, then that’s obviously completely legal. Breaking into your own home is fine, or other property you own. If you rent somewhere, you might need the landlord’s permission. Obviously, it’s illegal to break and enter homes or other property that you don’t own or have permission to do so. Don’t use this guide for criminal activity. If you are caught carrying a lockpicking kit in certain areas, this could raise suspicion, so be careful.
What you need to pick a lock
If you decide to pick a lock, or think you might need to do multiple locks over a period of time—you might want to consider a professional lock picking kit. In these, you can find all the tools you need. If you want to try and source these tools separately or have similar items lying around the house, you can still do a good job.
You’ll need things like tension wrenches and picks, as well as raking tools. You might also need lubricant for the locks.
Various household items can be used as substitutes if you don’t have the right specific tools. You can also go to a specialist lock store or try one of the many online retailers that are around.
How to pick a lock
When you start picking a lock, you’ll first need to get your tools ready and evaluate the lock. Then you will need to apply lock lubricant to the lock itself. You don’t want to try and pick a dirty lock as it can disrupt the process, and lock lubricant can help here. Most lock lubricants can be sprayed on.
After this you can use your tension wrench with a bit of light pressure to push the pins inside the lock. The main idea of lock picking is to make sure all the pins are pushed down, then the lock should open. Don’t apply too much force with your tension wrench, this is a mistake quite a few people make. Gently turn the wrench each way to make a note of which way the lock opens. It will move a bit further in one direction, and this is the way the lock opens which is important for later.
You can then start inserting your pick and using it to investigate the pins. Apply a bit of light pressure and see if you can move the pins and hold them down. Test the resistance of the springs and try and visualise where the pins are and which ones need moving. Remember not to apply too much force as you could either break the lock or your pick.
Insert the tension wrench and apply pressure to the binding pin, then insert your pick as well and start lightly pressuring the pins to move them down. Move your tension wrench as necessary. Use the pick to lift and set each pin at a time before moving on to the next one. Work slowly, steadily and lightly. Too much torque or pressure can ruin the process, either meaning you have to start again or even breaking the lock completely.
When the last pin has set, you should be able to turn your tension wrench and open the lock. Now you’ve picked a lock and have the access you need!
Alternatives to picking your own lock
If you don’t want to pick a lock, you could try one of these options:
Breaking and entering
If it’s your own home or lock, you could simply try breaking into it and destroying it. You’ll need to get it fixed after though. Normally with a locksmith. Another option is to call out a locksmith to actually help with the lock before you break it. You’ll need identification and proof that the home is yours.
Calling a locksmith
This is the most common way to fix any lock issues you have. There are locksmiths in every town and city, so it should be easy enough to find a reliable option. Have a look around and find the locksmith that suits your needs. Many of them can be there in minutes.