Hi mate, welcome to the forum. Looks like you're off to a good start, and you're thinking about everything the right way. Your questions actually bring up some very good points which I've highlighted myself in the past.
far2picky wrote:When I stick the pin in, it's like... I am having trouble locating which pin is binding the most when I use feather-light tension. Am I supposed to ramp up the tension to determine the binding pin? If not, then how do I locate it? Do I repeat this process to find subsequent binding pins? If not, can I simply get general tips (even a URL to another thread would be appreciated) regarding some of my problems?
I covered this exact problem in my book, the light tension advice is good in general but when you're first starting out there is a distinct lack of feedback due to you not having developed the proper feel or muscle memory needed for picking yet. What happens is you go over the pins randomly, you may feel the odd set here and there, and eventually the lock just opens. It comes as a surprise when this happens and it's frustrating in a way since, as you pointed out, you can't figure out exactly what you did and you can't do it consistently. The "use the lightest amount of tension necessary" advice is doled out repeatedly to stop newbies from going too heavy on their picks and breaking them, and also because it provides a tolerance for the inevitable random pick movements a new picker will be making. If you're using super duper lght tension then it's pretty much impossible to overset pins regardless of how sloppy you are and the lock will (in the majority of cases providing it's not too well made and the bitting is forgiving) eventually just open.
You're absolutely spot on, it's easier to increase the tension to find the binding pin and you will also feel it set much clearer. There's a knack to getting the balance between tension and pick pressure just right though, you don't wanna go overboard with either otherwise you're gonna have oversetting and you'll be making things harder on yourself in general. I'll send you a link to my free ebook where you can read about this whole process in detail, after all there's no point in me explaining it all here when I've already covered it in the book.
far2picky wrote:Once I locate my current binding pin, I'm still having some trouble actually figuring out when it sets. I feel, like, when applying feather-light tension, *I slowly raise the pin, and no matter how slowly I do it, I end up passing the sheer line and it never binds!* How do I fix this? Am I applying too little tension? Am I simply not selecting the correct binding pin? Do I maybe have a security pin caught somewhere else? If I do, are there any tips and tricks to determine where? if that's too general of a question, can I just get general advice on how to tackle this problem, from anyone who could relate?
It could be that you're not using enough tension, yes. It could also be that you're using too much and accidentally oversetting a pin which is in front of it. If one of the pins closer to the face of the lock happens to be the next in the binding order and it's longer, this is a possibility (ie. pin 3 is longer than 2, binding order of 2-3, as 2 sets then 3 is already past shear and will stick there under tension).
The same applies if you already set a pin, go to set one behind it and it's a lot shorter - by pushing that pin you will then overset the previously set pin with the shaft of the pick if you're not careful. There's an entire section dedicated to oversetting complete with diagrams so if you read that it'll make a lot more sense, I promise.
The good news is, you picked it before so none of this will really apply to this particular lock. I'm just saying. If you fully understand the binding defect outlined in the first section, and apply the techniques I describe, you really can't go wrong. You just gotta practice, think, practice, think, take a break if you get frustrated and come back to it with a clear head until you figure it all out.
far2picky wrote:I apologize if some of my questions seem answered in other posts, but I just need a comprehensive view and review of what "good technique" really is, and specific answers to my particular problems.
That's what we're here for. It's actually refreshing to see someone put some real thought into their questions for a change.