Tension Wrench – Insert into the vertical key slit, towards the bottom, away from the pins. Apply tension such that if you push a pin to the shear point, it won’t fall back down. The amount of tension required varies greatly from lock to lock, brand to brand, but in general, it should be enough to fell it but not enough to hurt. Be sure to apply tension in the same direction the lock turns to open it! Usually this is clockwise, but can also vary. I like the twisted tension wrench because it doesn’t dig into your finger when you apply a lot of tension like the non-twisted ones do. If you’re not sure which way to apply tension, use the key to see which way it turns. Don’t have the key? Try to remember which way you turned it before you lost the key. Never had the key? Then you probably shouldn’t be picking this lock (thieves not welcome like I said).
Short Hook – Arguably the most useful pick, a must have default pick to feel out a lock and how its tumblers work (so you know how much tension to apply and generally how far up to push a pin, etc…) Used to pick pins one at a time.
Double Ball – Best for wafer locks. Simply apply tension, put on a pin and jiggle till you feel/hear a click. Alternatively, push it in and out randomly with tension. Use the single ball first, if it doesn’t work try the double.
Half Diamond – Second in command to the short hook. Good for pin tumbler or wafer locks. Apply tension, push into the pin and past it slowly so that the pin (not the pick!) goes up slowly, then back down. If you did not feel/hear a click, then repeat until you do. Then move to the next pin. Can also effectively be used as you would use a hook.
Rake – These work magic with some locks, and will never work with others, depending on where the shear points are for each of the pins. Not to much art with these, just insert, apply tension, and jiggle.
C-Rake/Snake – My personal favorite, you’ll need a crafty combination of jiggle as with a rake, and finesse as with a hook.Long Hook – a bigger hook, for bigger locks, with bigger tumblers.
Broken Key Extractor – If you broke your key in the plug of the lock, well then this is the tool for you! Slide in next to the key fragment, all the way in, tilt ninety degrees, and remove, the key fragment should come with it. Use these other fine tools to complete the lock opening process. Can also be used as a sort of half diamond, worth a try if you’re not having success with your other picks.
W-rake/Snake – This one is weird, as with the rake it can either work wonders or do nothing. My experience with it is mostly the latter. Its angles are too sharp in my opinion to be effectively used as a snake.
Jiggler – Move in and out, up and down, jiggle all around. Vary tension.
Single Ball – Used same as double ball.
Another Snake – See description for c-rake. I don’t like this version as much as the other one, too thick. Used for larger locks with heavier pins.
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