Lock Pick Tension Tools

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Without lock pick tension tools, picks themselves are practically useless. Most tension wrenches are little more than flathead screwdrivers of appropriate width to fit inside a keyway. They must be small enough to work hand in hand with the picks they support, thereby giving the locksmith "feedback" about the pins he or she is attempting to manipulate.

Lock pick tension tools are inserted into the keyway, then turned slightly as if they were the keys themselves. This movement disengages the plug from its surrounding housing unit (usually a door or wall) and creates a sort of internal ridge along which the pins can sit. When each pin has been expertly manipulated to the shear line, there is nothing binding the plug any longer, and so it may turn as it would with the proper key inside it.

Lock Pick Tension Tools and the Art of Feedback

Envision yourself in a dark room feeling around the walls for a light switch. Each time you bump your hand against a picture or a piece of furniture, critical information is sent to your brain about where you are in relation to objects and how you ought to move. This scenario is akin to lock picking, which similarly takes place "in the dark" and relies on a precise feedback system.

Lock pick tension tools are the medium through which this feedback is delivered. Apply too much pressure, and you may disengage the pins you've already successfully bound. Fail to apply enough pressure, and the pins won't set. For most newcomers, this feedback loop is carefully honed through years and years of practice. You can read all the lock picking books in the world and conceptually understand the process, but without hands-on experience you'll never develop the sensitivity and touch necessary for success.

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