How to Pick a Lock

paperclip image by AGphotographer from

Ever locked yourself out of your own house? Got a desk drawer with important documents in it but you've lost the key? It's for situations like these (and countless others you would not think about until they happen) that knowing how to pick a lock is an essential skill everyone should know.

Straighten your paperclip as much as you can. Ideally it will be totally straight, but a few small kinks here and there will not be too big a problem. Bend the tip of one end 90 degrees to form your pick. Place the tip of the flathead screwdriver in the lock at the bottom of the shaft and slide the pick in above it.

Feel where the pins in the lock are by pushing each one up using the pick. They should be hard to push but if they are not, increase the torque you are applying to the lock by turning the screwdriver a little. Ease off on the torque if one of the pins will not move at all, as you need to be able to push them to pick the lock.

Push each pin out of the barrel of the lock in turn. After each pin has been pushed up, gently increase the torque you are applying to the lock; which prevents the pin from falling back down into the lock. Move on to the next pin until all the pins are out of the barrel and the lock can be opened.