30×26 Day 15

Didn’t get home until 10 tonight thanks to a Caltrain incident, and didn’t get picking until around 11. Focused solely on the repinnable lock, trying unsuccessfully with a variety of picks. Then I figured out the correct technique, pressure, and pin order with the Bogota. Opened it consistently 5 times in a row. Progress! I’ll make a video of this tomorrow if I have time, then repin it for different go.

30×26 Day 14

It was board meeting day, so I didn’t get any lock picking time in until 11:30 PM. The repinnable is not easy to pick. One thing I haven’t talked much about is keyway shape. Some keyways make it really easy for you to get a pick in there and get leverage, while others force you to push at the pins from an angle. The repinnable has an annoying-at-my-current-skill-level keyway.

Opened it once tonight with the Bogota, then ran out of time.

30×26 Day 13

Here’s that Home Depot Defiant cylinder I talked about on Day 10:

The Bogota makes quick work of it. In the evening, I spent some time picking it with the hook and could consistently open it pin by pin.

More stubborn Master Lock. I haven’t mentioned here that it’s hard to maintain reliable tension on it. It’s supposedly the same keyway as the #5, but perhaps because it’s older there’s more wiggle room and the tensioner always slips.

Planning to spend more time with the repinnable cylinder tomorrow.

30×26 Day 12

I managed to free the stuck cylinder plug on the stubborn Master Lock after several more attempts last night.

Then I went back to not being able to pick the lock again. :(

In happier lock picking news, here’s an easier way to open the lock I shimmed yesterday:

I’m pretty lucky to have stumbled across that dollar store. I wouldn’t have thought to learn about warded locks if I hadn’t picked one up.

Only had time for about 10 minutes of practice before bed. I didn’t even bother turning the lights on for it. Picking is about feeling and hearing, not seeing.

30×26 Day 11

Here’s that dollar store padlock I was talking about yesterday:

You can see the funky key in this closeup:

I didn’t know how to pick it, so yesterday I made a shim:


Here’s it is in action:

After the video, I did some more research and learned about warded locks. They’re ridiculously simple. There will be no more shimming of this lock after today.

– – –

Update 6:16 PM

Just now, I put a slice of bread in the toaster oven, set a timer, and told myself I’d pick that stubborn Master Lock before my time was up. I grabbed the tensioner, inserted it, put a decent amount of torque on it, then added the snake. I picked from back to front in the same manner as I did in the Master Lock #5 video. Click, click, click, click. Open!


I snapped it back shut. Could I do it again? Wait a minute, why didn’t the cylinder snap back to its original position? Crap, it’s stuck.

Yup, that’s right. I finally managed to pick that lock again, and in doing so, broke it.

That thing they tell you about not picking locks you rely on? DON’T PICK LOCKS YOU RELY ON.


30×26 Day 10

Had more dreams about lock picking last night, only this time I was unsuccessfully working through a whole bunch of different types of locks. Stressful.

Here’s the Master Lock #5 I bought last night. I have no reason to buy another one of these ever again.

I used a snake in the video above, but later in the day I learned to reliably pick it pin by pin with a hook. Even though it’s a touch slower, I actually prefer it to the snake because I can precisely feel each pin as it sets. It’s quite satisfying.

Yesterday, I mistakenly called the cylinder I picked up a Kwikset. It’s actually a Home Depot Defiant cylinder for Kwikset deadbolts. It’s also easily pickable. I’ll make a video of it soon.

Ironically, it’s the dollar store lock that puzzles me. It’s not a standard pin cylinder lock and doesn’t even seem tensionable. So instead I made a shim. I’ll write it all up tomorrow.

I told Mom about 30×26 today. Her response? “The government will see your internet searches and investigate you! If anything happens you’ll be a suspect! You should learn something different.” Oh Mom. <3

30×26 Day 9

I dreamt about picking lock cylinders last night. Not opening them, just picking them, pin by pin by pin.

Didn’t have time to practice during the day, but I did stop by a Home Depot on my way to dinner. Picked up a Master Lock #5 and a Kwikset cylinder. There was a Dollar Tree across the parking lot so I bought a $1 padlock with some unknown-to-me mechanism as well. I’ll document with pictures tomorrow.

Played with the Master Lock #5 briefly before bed. Unlike my stubborn Master Lock, this one can open clockwise or counterclockwise. Tried a couple times to pick individual pins but couldn’t quite get all the pins to set correctly. I could tell I was close, though. I then gave it a go with the snake and had it open in 3 seconds. So it’s the stubborn lock, not me.

I can sleep easy now that I’ve successfully picked a Master Lock #5. I’ll work on opening it with a hook or half diamond tomorrow.

30×26 Day 8

Brought the cylinder I repinned yesterday with me when I left the house this morning. Played with it a bit on the train to work. “In public?” Aaron asked. It’s legal here, so yes, in public.

Played with it a bit in the car before hockey this evening. Opened it a couple times clockwise with the Bogota rake. Magic!

Opened it counterclockwise with the Bogota rake after I got home. After a lot more patient feeling, opened it counterclockwise by picking individual pins using a hook. Front to back, pins on the bottom.

Made a few passes on the Master Lock. Each day I think, “Today’s the day!” But alas, today was not the day.

Here’s a picture of the Master Lock I’ve been trying to pick. I’ll pick up a Master Lock #5 in the next couple days. Those are supposedly easier.

Pick Me

It’s the mystery lock in this forum thread. I have no idea what it is either, but while scouring the Internet for information I came across this Master Lock Technical Manual. It’s full of technical padlock goodness. I may at some point open up my lock to see what kind of driver pins it has.

30×26 Day 7

I’m now able to single pin pick my way through my TOOOL practice locks 4-6.

The padlock continues to puzzle me.

I picked my way through the original configuration on my repinnable lock, so I changed things up. Made a video while I was at it. Here it is at 2x:

As for why there’s no audio; I went through all the free YouTube audio and they all sucked. You’re welcome.

30×26 Day 6

Finished reading the MIT Guide to Lock Picking after work. Spent another giant chunk of time with the padlock. I know the binding order of the pins but can’t seem to get them to set properly. It’s kind of maddening.

Spent some more time picking my way through TOOOL practice locks 1-4. I’ve started to really like the thin half diamond and thin hook. For the most part I’m able to identify binding pins in succession and set them one at a time. I’ve gotten a lot better at feeling individual pins.

But still, that stupid padlock. Rarr!