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Lock Picking

Preparing Your Lock Picks – Free Upgrades For Your Lock Pick Set

Get the Most Out Of Your Lock Pick Set

Want to get the most out of your Pick set? Whether you have just bought a new set of shiny picks or want an almost free upgrade to your set, check out Michael’s advice on Pick preparation.


Hi there, my name is Michael Maynard, and welcome to this edition of The Pick Pals Log. Now, the subject of today’s post is how to prepare your picks for the very first use. So, a brand-new pick needs a little bit of work done to it, a little bit of preparation. What do you have to do to take a pick that is brand new and straight out of the packet like that and, you know, that will pick a few locks, but not many, but, being turned into something that looks like this, but one has been prepared well and one hasn’t?


Why is this important? Well, this is important because you are looking to get every little bit of feedback you can out of the pick and out of the lock. This is the 20% stuff, right here, right now. When you put a brand-new pick in a lock, if you haven’t smoothed the edges of it, you’re not going to know what feedback that’s coming up the pick to your fingers is due to the pins and the state of the lock and what is coming back due to bits of the edge of the pick hanging up inside the lock. So, things are going to be on other things, but you don’t know what it is.


Polishing the picks will get rid of all that false feedback, that is what this is all about. Well, what do you need? The mainstay is wet and dry sandpaper. You can get this in a million different grades guys. You are not going to need to go much below 1,000, but I like to have one slightly coarser one, just to do real rough stuff. So, 600 and 1,000. 1,500 and I will tell you right now guys, the secret is that one there, the 2,000. That stuff is super, super fine and that stuff gets you the polish and the finish that you need.


The next thing we’ve got is a book, any paperback book will do. Anything at all, but what you want is a paperback so that you can—you don’t want a hardback because the hardback cover is poking up further than the pages. You want to be able to get flush with the side here, that’s why we’re using a paperback book.


Okay guys, so now we’re getting down to the point that you’re able to actually do some work on this thing. Now, the first thing we’ve got to do is cut this little bit of plastic off from the handle. You can see that the finished pick here has got a little bit of a longer shaft to it here so we can get it into a decently sized lock. If we try and get that into a six or seven pin, we’re just not going to have the room. So, let’s get in there with a Stanley knife. It’s pretty simple stuff guys, we’re just going to cut around all four sides of the shaft like so, then cut down towards the cut we just made like that and that’s part one done.


Now we’ve got a little more room to work with. The next thing we need to do is have a bit of a feel of this thing and just see how the edges feel. Sparrow is quite good quality picks, you’re not going to get really horrible, horrible rough stuff on here that you’ve got to get into with a 600 grit bit of sandpaper. But you can definitely feel that these corners are sharp 90° corners, they really do need rounding off. The same thing goes at the top here, it’s not quite so bad up here. If we have a look in this little groove here where the head of the pick starts coming up, we can feel that that is a little bit rough up there as well. So, we know we’ve got a wee bit of work to do.


This isn’t just straight polishing, we need to take some material off here. So, we’re going to get some 600-grit paper and we’re going to do—oh, maybe 1,000—we’re going to grab the 1,000-grit paper and we’re going to do a wee bit of work on there. Okay, so here’s my 1,000-grit paper and what I’ve done is I’ve wrapped it around the handle of my Peterson Pick. Now, what we’re just going to do is a little bit of work to shimmer off these edges. We’re not taking off shit loads of metal here guys, we’re just taking off a little bit at a time, we’re just grounding this thing basically. We’re not changing the shape of the pick, so if we were doing this with the 120-grit that we were looking at before, that yellow stuff, what we’d be doing at the moment is chewing metal off of this thing, we don’t want to be doing that.


So, let’s just get in there and even out all four sides of this. Have a little bit of a look at the front of the pick as well. Now, the one part we really do want to go carefully on here is the very tip, the top that we’re using to push the pins up with, we don’t want to be doing a lot of work on that. That’s shaped like that for a reason, somebody designed that for a reason and we don’t really want to be missing a whole lot with that. Okay, let’s have a feel of that. It feels much smoother and rounder than it was. This little section here could still do with a little more, so I am just doing a little bit more on that.


The top feels pretty good actually. Now let’s get in here and have a little bit more of a go of this here, this area just here, just on the inside of the curve. Okay, I reckon that’s going to be enough. Let’s just have a feel of that. Okay, yeah, feels much, much, much better. If I was really being picky—actually I am going to do that. I was going to say if I was going to be really picky I’d do a little bit more on the underside of that hook, but yeah I think that does need that, so we’re just going to get in and do a little bit of work there. Right. You’re going by feel here guys, you’re not going by how it looks, you’re going by how it feels. Okay, that feels a thousand percent better to me already. We’re about half way there.


The next stage is to get a shine on this thing, so it smooths things out a bit and just to get rid of this yellow gunk. You can see that the Sparrow picks have kind of a yellow coating on them from applying the handle material, we need to get rid of that and that’s all part of the next step. We’re going to do that with 1,500. So, we’ve had 1,000, we’ve done what we need, we’re now going to get in there with 1,500. Here we go with our 1,500 and this is what you need the book for. Now look, if you sand it like this, what you’re going to end up doing every single God damn time is going to hard, popping out and jabbing that thing into your finger.


Believe me when I tell you, guys poke holes in their fingers with picks all the time. You don’t want to be that guy, so what you’re going to do is you’re going to put your sandpaper right in the edge of the book like this, this is why we’re using a paperback. We’re going to slide it there, we’re going to apply some gentle pressure and we’re going to sand it that way.


Now, the sandpaper clogs up pretty quick and you’re going to know when the little area that you’re sanding on is clogged up because it starts feeling completely different, it starts feeling much smoother. So, you’ll feel it when you’re cutting and your you’ll feel it when it stops cutting. When it does stop cutting, you’ll want to just move across to another section just like I’ve done there. We’re going to spend maybe a minute doing that. I can feel the pick is getting much smoother already. Let’s have a bit of a look at that.


Okay, feels completely different already. You can see that it’s much shinier. We haven’t done such a great job at the very bottom of the shaft here, so just here by the handle. I think maybe I want to do a little bit of that by hand. So, still using the 1,500, I’m down here by the handle and I’m just going crossways like that to get right in close to the handle. Turn it over, do the other side, and then we’re going to be left with an area that doesn’t look the same, so you can see, if I put that against something white, you can see that the coloration is different about here where we sanded horizontally and vertically. That’s all going out later on, once we finish the thing.


The other thing we probably do by hand is the inside of that little radius. So, again, I’m going to grab my Peterson pick and again we’re just going to get in there and polish that little bit. There’s no magic to this guys, it’s not rocket science, it’s not brain surgery, but by God it makes a difference. Okay, that’s feeling a lot better and let’s just do the leading edges.


Okay, clean everything up. How does it look? How does it feel? It looks and feels pretty damn good. It is much smoother than it was. We’ve still got a little bit of that discoloration just at the bottom here, so it’s a little bit yellow. But in actual fact, I’m not terribly worried about that because this part of the pick is virtually never going to get used, it’s really the shaft and the head that we worry about.


Now let’s get in there with our magic 2,000 and we’re going to repeat the process. So, here’s the 2,000-grit, like I said, this stuff is the secret. We’ll do a little bit of work up here at first, so I’m doing that area that’s close to the handle. That’s not the bit that I’m really concerned about. The bit that I’m concerned about is this next part. Let’s get that in the book, let’s get the pick in between there, fairly gentle pressure. We’re feeling it cutting at the moment and it’s just gone smooth on me, so it’s moved to another section. Same thing. Let’s do another one. It doesn’t take long for the little part of the sandpaper that you’re using to clog up, you do need to move it around a bit.


Let’s have a look at that. Okay, I don’t know about you gents, but I reckon that is getting to the point where I’d be happy to stick that in a lock. So, you can see the difference between that and how it was five minutes ago. Just is just like chalk and cheese. So, I reckon we are just about done with that. I am going to give that one more go over to polish it up with the 2,000 more because I’m kind of perfectionist than because I think it really needs it, and then we will call that done.


Yeah, there we go, that’s much nicer actually. All right, you will pick more locks with that, than you would have done ten minutes ago before you did that job. I know I keep saying its simple fellows, but it really is. It’s the little differences, it’s the little things that count. That change it from the 80% of guys who pick bugger all to the 20% of guys that can pick a shitload of stuff. What we just did, it’s really going to help you along the way.

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