Prisoner Sweat Box

Do you find picking locks fascinating?

So, why would you want to learn to pick locks? For me, the fascination with locks and safes started when I was 12 years old. My Dad bought me a book called "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman" - a biography of Richard Feynman (a nobel-prize winning physicist). Richard Feynman worked on the atomic bomb project during the second world war, and whilst doing so, made a mockery of security, by learning to open the safes which held the secrets about the projects.


Reading about his exploits made me wonder if it could really be true .... so I started small. Our school had lockers for our musical instruments, so I wondered down into to the music wing late one night (more early one morning, really; yes this was a boarding school) with my nail clippers, which happened to have a metal nail file on it.


I inserted the nailfile into the lock, and jiggled it around for a while. After a few minutes, the lock suddenly turned!! I couldn't believe it ... was it just luck, or could I open someone else's.




Four hours later, I had opened every locker (I seem to recall that there were two rows of 8). I was elated; I could pick locks. The problem was, this soon became boring. As I sat doing my homework one night, I was thinking how the lock on the teacher's desk was about the same size as the locker ones. Out came the nail file ... but it didn't fit. I turned to my keyring, and had a small key for a padlock on it. This slipped easily into the lock, and I jiggled for a minute, heart pounding - and it opened! Contents ... one packet of Megazones (cough sweets). I swiftly locked it again, and felt really guilty.


The problem was, by this stage I was hooked on it. I began to collect all sorts of keys, and opened as many locks as I could. Finally, I lost interest, and stopped; not before going through most of the padlocks in the school, however! :o)


Now in early 2002, I came back to lock-picking. I knew it could be done, but was now more interested in things like front doors. I aquired (procured!) a set of lock-picks, a vice, and a few barrel locks (like used on a night-latch on your front door), and proceeded to learn how to work my way through them. After defeating them all, I began to demonstrate on other peoples' front doors (always with permission, of course!). Whilst there are a couple of locks which have defeated me, I have opened almost every lock I've come across.




Funnily enough, the one I've never been able to do is my own front door - and consequently there's no way I'm ever changing it! I've also fitted a mortice lock. If I can pick a night latch (with a bit of practise), so can any thief. The mortice lock ups the ante. I still find it amusing, though, that people walk out their front doors, pull them closed, and think that they've secured the house. My advice? Fit a mortice lock, and never rely on a night catch!


Well, that's how I got into lock-picking, and I can honestly say that I still get a buzz every single time I pick someone's lock!