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Picking Pressure

This exercise will teach you the range of pressures you will need to apply with a pick. When you are starting, just apply pressure when you are drawing the pick out of the lock. Once you have mastered that, try applying pressure when the pick is moving inward.
With the flat side of your pick, push down on the first pin of a lock. Don't apply any torque to the lock. The amount of pressure you are applying should be just enough to overcome the spring force. This force gives you an idea of minimum pressure you will apply with a pick.

The spring force increases as you push the pin down. See if you can feel this increase.

Now see how it feels to push down the other pins as you pull the pick out of the lock. Start out with both the pick and torque wrench in the lock, but don't apply any torque. As you draw the pick out of the lock, apply enough pressure to push each pin all the way down.

The pins should spring back as the pick goes past them. Notice the sound that the pins make as they spring back. Notice the popping feel as a pick goes past each pin. Notice the springy feel as the pick pushes down on each new pin.

To help you focus on these sensations, try counting the number of pins in the lock. Door locks at MIT have seven pins, padlocks usually have four.

To get an idea of the maximum pressure, use the flat side of your pick to push down all the pins in the lock. Sometimes you will need to apply this much pressure to a single pin. If you encounter a new kind of lock, perform this exercise to determine the stiffness of its springs.