Lock picking is a topic that is very well documented on the internet. I believe this is because:
1) it’s cool (like open razors, friction fire lighting and wifi – I should write something about the first two as well at some point I guess),
2) it has been around for a long time and thus is quite widely practiced,
3) it’s impressive (people do seem to be impressed when you tell them you have picked a lock),
4) it’s actually not that hard to get started, and
5) it’s very, very hard to master
I would recommend the MIT guide (see http://www.devonlocks.com/lock-picking/mit-guide/mit-guide.htm)
as a starting point. I won’t even try to explain things better than this guide does. For once, I read a tutorial that doesn’t immediately make me want to rewrite it! It explains clearly the jargon, what you need to do, and how to do it, before going into finer, more advanced techniques. Plus it has great diagrams. Perfect. Also check out the Greg Miller site I have in my links for this and other guides.Anyway, I successfully picked my first lock with a couple of paperclips. I spent about 4 hours one day, 2 hours the next, then gave my girlfriend a go. She picked it in about 10 minutes. I had another go and couldn’t do it. Then finally, after a subsequent 10 minute session (and using a stronger paperclip, carefully bent into a perfect torsion wrench by my mechanical engineer brother and his trusty Leatherman) I did it! Then I did it again within about a minute while talking on the phone.
The lock picked was a Yale padlock with a ‘2’ strength rating (see the lock range at http://www.yalelock.com/Yale/Templates/ProductPage.aspx?id=3314&productid=823cc87c-9d81-4a9c-a398-25d6b331f782 or http://www.yalelock.com/Yale/Templates/ProductGuide____5617.aspx for an explanation of strength ratings). I have since acquired a ‘replacement rim cylinder’ a la http://www.yalelock.com/Yale/Templates/ProductPage.aspx?id=3314&productid=685df060-1be3-4307-b1de-9f140ba6c854 – basically this is a front door lock, but without all the unnecessary bits and bobs. I have also ordered a proper lock picking set (paper clips are quite clumsy, bend rather a lot and hurt your fingers after a while) from http://www.devonlocks.com. I’m going to try to pick the ‘replacement rim cylinder’ once my real lock picking set arrives.
If I succeed, I will give serious consideration to my own front door locks, because clearly I’m not particularly experienced – if I can do it, who can’t!?!
As with the Wifi, I’ve got a nasty feeling that maybe we’re again being lulled into a false sense of security.