Archives for category: Locksmithing

Lesson group #3 arrived today! New textbook, workbook and a pinning & service kit. Glad to see the workbook in this set is more substantial. 🙂 So far I’ve spent more time waiting than actually working on the course. Enjoying it quite a lot though.

Next lesson gets deeper into lock designs and how they actually function, then after that it’s more about master keying. I like how the coursework keep circling around to re-cover topics in greater depth. Means it doesn’t matter so much if you didn’t entirely understand something the first time round.

Just did the second hands-on project in the PCDI Locksmithing program.  Disassemble, mess with and reassemble a pin tumbler lock.  First, some vocabulary that I would have found useful, as you have to remove these two things to get at the pins:

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I’m learning that in locksmithing “retain” just means “hold in place”.  Here’s what happens when you remove the spring retainer cap:

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All the springs pop out!

Here’s a shot of the whole thing disassembled:

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Corrugated cardboard makes an excellent spring & pin holder!  As you can see, the lengths of the bottom pins correspond to the cuts in the key.  If you put it back together in the wrong order and insert the key, the plug looks like this:

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If you put them back in the right order, you get a proper shear line, like this:

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Looking down into the plug before reinserting the top pins & springs:

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All put back together:

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Not hard at all!

Finished lesson 4 last night, aiming to get through the lesson 5 test tonight or tomorrow.  Zooming thru this. 🙂

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Yukon wildflower arrangement. Yarrow, fireweed, chamomile & some tall gangly relative of the dandilion.

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Also got my second shipment from PCDI (Ashworth). Workbook + pin tumbler lock & keys. Going to take apart, rekey, probably master key, put back together and eventually pick this lock. We’re going to get to know each other very well.

Current lesson is intro to master keying. Understand the idea, still working on the mechanics.

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I admit I have been distracted by Skyrim today.

Lever-tumbler locks still mystify me. Lesson two talks about them. They’re apparently not used much anymore which explains why I’ve not been able to locate one to practice with. (by which I mean take apart)

I understand the general idea of how it works but trying to picture the actual mechanics is frustrating. I’m tired of watching lockpicking videos. If any actual locksmiths read this you should consider making & uploading an instructional video about this cause they’re sadly lacking.

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Despite the strep throat, I’m still on days off and not entirely immobilized.  I decided to tackle the hands-on project for Lesson Two yesterday.  Disassemble, rekey so it doesn’t work, rekey so it does work, put back together.

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Surprisingly straightforward.  The only bit I had trouble with was prying some of the wafers out of the plug because I wasn’t sure how hard I could pull without breaking anything.  Some of them were quite stubborn, but I got them all out eventually.  The pliers on my Leatherman worked best.

There’s all the wafers and springs.  It doesn’t actually matter if you mix them up since the next part of the lesson tells you to mix them up on purpose and then figure out the proper sequence again.

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Halfway through re-keying it.  You can see two of the wafers and three empty slots.  The spring goes in the wide end of the slot and then you press the wafer down on top of it til it catches.

Again, slow and picky but not that hard when you get down to it.  I have a much better understanding of locks than even three weeks ago.

Lots of typos and the page-number references don’t always line up, but the actual locksmithing training seems pretty solid so far.

Finished lessons two and three.  Now waiting on the next shipment and reading ahead.

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Toolbuying is going to be expensive but very rewarding. *happy*

Lesson 2 describes cutting a key by hand and I decided I wanted to try it.

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Incredibly slow and picky work but there’s also a kind of zen to it. My key didn’t work the first time I tried it but after a bit more careful file-work I got it to open my front door deadbolt! Original key still works too. 🙂

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It’s a little stiff in the lock still but that’s fine. I’m incredibly impressed that it worked at all!

Have you ever met an unemployed locksmith?

Lesson One – Job opportunities for locksmiths, types of locks & keys.  Done.  100% on the test. 🙂

I’m fully confident of my ability to do the bookwork.  Reading comprehension, are you kidding me?  Reading is what I DO.  It’s the hands-on mechanical part I have my doubts about.

Certainly not confident.  I do know though, that I tend to sell myself short in this area.  I know that when Brian shows me how to build or fix something, I catch on quickly and work with precision. I know I have good hand/eye co-ordination and the ability to solve space & logic puzzles.  (ie: Queen of Tetris).

I don’t know how to use most tools beyond a screwdriver and hammer.  I am definitely going to have to learn this.

I went straight-academic university-stream in high school and was raised by a hard-working single mom.  Nobody ever showed me how to use power tools.  I am going to have to learn.

Even if I don’t ever work as a locksmith, there’s a personal-challenge element to this.  It’s so foreign to anything I’ve tackled before.

The coursework is very dry so far.  In some ways blatently easy, in others highly challenging.  I’m learning to picture moving mechanical parts in my head, which I have not had cause to do before.  Classifications, lists, facts, very left-brain, but then the mental-image element which I find helps make it more interesting (and harder!).  All facts though.

I feel like I should read an hour of poetry every day to compensate.

1 out of 18 lessons done.  Of course I expect they made the first one short & sweet on purpose.  Nonetheless, only 17 to go.  It’s not that big of a number.

I got my locksmithing course materials in the mail today! That’s pretty good travel time to the Yukon.

Textbook, workbook and first lock to play with. I see as part of lesson 2 I’m going to have to take it apart, re-key it and put it back together.

Reminds me of when I first got my lab manual for biology class last year. Looked totally intimidating but was fine once I worked thru it. Course looks pretty logical, thorough and lacking frills. I’ll let you know how it goes.