Home Lock Picking for Beginners (452) Finding the Right Tension (for Beginners)

(452) Finding the Right Tension (for Beginners)


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My vises are made by Panavise, a U.S. Company.  The one with the wide jaws is the model 350.  The smaller one is the model 301. Both have the 312 Base mount – www.panavise.com



  1. Interesting. I just started picking yesterday and my first lock is actually a Kwickset. However, it does have two security pins in it (spools) and I found that heavy tension / raking didn't quite work for me (then again, complete beginner). Using rather light tension I found it much easier to pick the lock and it takes me anywhere around a few seconds to one or two minutes that way.

  2. Loving your videos do you have a video on what the different picks actually are for currently have a few free hours at work so looking to learn a skill

  3. Practice is obviously the key (as with many things). I haven't bee picking all that long but I've been devoting more time to it and I've already seen small changes. When I first started and I'd watch Bill's videos I was just amazed at how he could "know" what pin each pin was doing. When I started I couldn't even really tell for sure which pin I was even ON. Now I'm "starting" to get a feel for that. I have to work on finding the binding pin and working on the order I think. Right now when I SPP I just basically just go down the row of pins and push one up a bit, go to the next one and push it up a bit, and just keep going until I've got them all set and the lock opens. But, I am improving. Bill's videos have been a big help.

    Today I also ended up in a situation which I'm sure is a right of passage with all new lock pickers. I was messing around with this cheap lock I bought that has a removable core. I took the core out of the lock body, removed the "C" clip, put the key in and turned it 45 degrees.. Then for some reason I turned it 180 degrees and took the key out or something ..yep, pins fell out of the bible into the keyway! As soon as I did it I knew what I'd done. I ended up taking the back,/flat side of a pick and inserting it into the keyway and was able to push the pins back up into the bible and turn the plug to trap the pins back into the bible. Success! But, that's when stupidity struck again. I put the key back into the lock and was going to turn the plug back to its original position but instead turned it back the wrong way and all the pins fell out of the bible AGAIN. This time for SOME reason I have been unable to get the pins back up into the Bible. I did the same thing I did before and took the back/flat side of a pick to push the pins up into the bible but I CAN NOT get the plug to turn. I did once before but can't get this time to save my soul. If anyone has ANY other ideas on how I can get these pins back in the bible and get this plug to turn please let me know. Ah the learning curve…you are a heartless..b….

  4. Bosnianbill I have a MAJOR problem with ALWAYS over setting. It's my biggest problem in my learning process. Does this mean I am doing something wrong or is there something I can do to avoid this or reduce it?

  5. u could actually measure ur tension, just put a digital scale beneath ur tension wrench right at the level before u start adding force, so its cocked in the lock and turned just not any force, then zero out the scale and record the numbers and u will have the highest and lowest amounts u used

  6. As your picking a lock do you apply various levels of tension as you get the pins to stick eventually arriving at the open state? Or do you apply constant tension?

  7. hello friend thank you for you videos. ihave watched some recently and, I decided to buy a cheap lock and try it. well I have opened it 20 times and had it half an hour. it has reallygot me interested and now I need other lock cause its just a thrill to pop open a lock for the 1st time. Ijust wanted to thank you for introducing me to such a cool hobby

  8. Picking a lock is something Ive always wanted to do. So I watched a few dozen videos and started playing around with a dollar store padlock and some paperclips and bobby pins yesterday. Finally SUCCESS. The key point as I see it is holding the correct tension on the plug so that the lower pins stop against the shell. I picked the outer pin first with a head lamp so I could see what was happening then worked on toward the back . Hope this helps someone.

  9. So I got my picks in the mail today and went out and bought a Masterlock No.3, a Masterlock M5, and the cheapest Defiant door lock I could find (it says J4 K on it). I was able to pick the No.3 pretty easily raking and SPP, but I'm stuck on the M5! If I put enough tension on it to get a binder, it binds so hard that I can't move the pin, and if I let off a little bit then they all fall and I can't get any of them to bind. I can't even seem to rake this one, but then again I only have two rakes, one with two peaks and the Sparrow Worm. What am I doing wrong here?

  10. I've just started lock picking, and I'm overjoyed to have found B.B's stuff here. On YouTube there's always one guy who's videos shine above all others, and Bill's that man. Thanks for such a great resource, the rest will be down to me..

  11. He is all like,oh that was pin 5,like how do u know so well?I started pick 2 weeks ago but stopped for 3 days,now I can't pick my wieser door lock anymore,used to be so easy,I need people like bill with his great advice

  12. You're a great teacher,Bill. I was practising on a Master lock and could not believe how loud the clicks were and how much feedback I was getting through a clumsy handmade tension tool. I'm a honest man, but the thrill I got from opening that lock was so distracting that I forgot what sequence I used! I've been a master plumber for 40 years. I know a pro when I see or hear one. You,sir, are a pro.

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