Oh, for the love of Pete! Try this:
This posting is a combination of several posts I have made in the past on the topic.
1. Small, Medium and Large Diamond, and Half Diamond.
Most people are only familiar with the half diamond, and consequently sometimes refer to it as a triangle pick. However, the original diamond is a two-sided pick. Similar to the full ball pick.
There are also double diamonds and double half diamonds. The angles of these picks will also vary. They are most often characterized by their flat, straight shafts. Diamonds also come in small, medium and large.
Half diamonds are used in a similar fashion to the hook pick. However, it is normally inserted straight into the lock. The diamond also makes an acceptable tool for raking. Because of its sloped entry and exit angle, the pick will impart force to the pins without catching. Additionally, the diamond is able to manipulate pins in a rotational fashion. Thus, assisting the picking of high security locks such as the Medeco.
Originally, the full diamond was intended for use in wafer tumbler locks (see ball pick). However, after creating the half diamond, it proved to be very useful for pin tumblers.
Diamonds, full or half almost always come in small, medium and large sizes.
2. Small, Medium and Large Hook, Lifter or Feeler picks.
So named because of their hook shaped appearance. These picks come in a variety of sizes, but mostly are short, medium or long hooks. The angle will also vary between obtuse and oblique. Vary rarely will you see a hook that points straight up. One of the defining characteristics of this pick is the radiused bottom edge of the hook. A variant of this idea is the deep curve, or deep hook.
These tools are used most commonly to lift pin stacks one at a time to set the shear line. The benefit of these picks is that they can be inserted on an angle, allowing them to slip under a deep pin stack to reach a high set pin further back in the lock.
Deep curve, progressive curve, and slant style hooks. Almost never will you see a lifter or hook pick with a 90' angle.
DeForest style picks.
These are a unique combination of the hook pick, and the diamond. Specifically they are a non-radiused hook with a small diamond shape at the tip.
3. Small, Medium and Large Ball, Double Ball, Half Ball, and Double Half Ball.
These picks are shaped like small discs or balls at the end of the pick shaft. Sometimes you will even see three balls or half balls, but these are rare.
While some people report fair success in raking a pin tumbler lock with these picks, they are most commonly used for picking and raking wafer tumbler locks.
4. Snake (commonly referred to as rake) picks.
Rake is actually a misnomer, as raking is the action applied with a snake, or other pick. Snakes come in several forms. Their defining characteristic however is that they typically combine several opposing curves. These curves are meant to manipulate several pins at once. The most common snakes are designed to overcome a typical low, high, low or high, low high pin combination.
Additionally, as stated they are often used for raking a lock. Raking is a technique where the pick is inserted into the lock, and withdrawn sharply. This action, combined with the proper tension causes the force to be transferred from the bottom pins, to the upper pins. The result is that all pins separate at the shear line at once.
These picks come in a variety of configurations and sizes. From simple bump snakes, to the "s", "w" and "j" snakes as well as full pattern snakes also known as riffle picks. Also the classic full and 3/4 "rakes".
5. Pattern or Profile picks.
Pattern or profile picks. Most often typified by the HPC Comp-u-Picks and Majestic's High Tech series. Although the high tech series is more similar to a snake than a pure profile pick.
Often confused with, or grouped with snake picks, the profile and pattern picks are designed to approximate a large selection of key bittings. By selecting the proper pick, inserting it into the lock, and lifting the pick, an operator can often cause the pins to all raise to the shear line. The most common technique is to raise the pick while moving it in a figure eight fashion.
Feeler picks. Often a thin, narrow strip of metal with a handle. Often used to probe or read both wafer and pin tumbler style locks. Limited application, not often found in common pick sets.
Dimple picks. Often typified by the Souber style dimple lock picks. These picks are similar in function to lifter picks, but have a straight shank, and the tip is either fingered, or socketed. These picks come in a variety of sizes.
Wave picks. A snake or rake style pick commonly used on dimple locks. Often typified by the Matador style picks.
Lever picks, these are generally the only type picks you will ever see a 90' angle on. Because of the type of lock they are meant to manipulate.
Tubular picks. These are readily identifiable by their construction. All of them are built around a thin tube with a handle. The exception to this rule is the Peterson Pro, which still has at its working end the tube and picks. The picking pins are radiused around the circumference of the tube based upon the number of pins, and the offset of the lock the pick is meant to manipulate.
3 and 4 finger cross picks. These are often used to pick so-called cruciform locks where the keyway appears similar to a cross shape.
This should cover all basic pick patterns. Bear in mind, these are generic definitions, and some picks may not be immediately classifiable.
While there are several other picks this covers the basic groupings and their uses. Over time, experience will tell you the best pick, and tension tool to use with a given lock. Additionally, some high security locks require the use of several tools in succession to open.
You may find that a hook works perfectly in an Ilco lock, but is difficult to use in a Yale. Further, you may find that a medium hook is too large for a particular lock.
Each of these tools has proven their usefulness over the last 90 years, and they are still made because they continue to be used for their intended purposes. Despite that same number of years in lock refinement.
Experiment with different tools in the same locks. Use different tension techniques, and tension tools. You will soon discover that all of these tools are very useful if you intend to pick a wide variety of locks.
Last edited by Romstar
on Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.