What is a Custom Lock Pick?
Custom lock picks are not generally made especially for your hand; they are usually picks that are just not mass-produced to a specific standard. This can be a special tool for a particular purpose or, most often, a one-off design nicely made with a special handle and materials by a craftsman who is hand-crafting a utilitarian work of art.
Some of these are made with unique materials and are of such beauty that they seem meant for display or collecting and not for use–almost museum quality.
These beautiful lock picks are desirable for several reasons, not least a human yearning for beauty characterized by John Keats’s famous quote: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Look at the one below from Jon M. Ryan, aka Ratyoke.
In this example, the pick tip is not unique–it is a medium hook with a flat tip but made to a standard of quality and beauty that is quite exceptional. It is custom because it is specially made for a discerning customer by a jeweler/metalworker who also makes lock picks.
While such picks can be expensive–about $150 each–there are less costly special picks, such as the Sparrows Thunderbird set, costing about $250 for a set of eight picks and assorted tension wrenches.
While these custom picks are not made for the physical measurements of your hand, their ergonomic design can help compensate for physical afflictions such as arthritis, carpal or cubital tunnel, cramping, and neuropathy from which some of us suffer.
These beautiful lock picks are things to behold and can improve your lock picking successes and enjoyment.
Custom Lock Pick Makers
There are several sources of custom lock picks including:
Monkey LockPicks is an Italian lock picker and artist who makes high-quality picks that can be tailored to your hand and likes to work with the customer on the design and selection of materials. You can see some of his work on his YouTube channel.
He also makes challenge locks and custom pins to use in challenge locks. For custom orders, you can contact him at: email@example.com.
Custom Lockpick Makers on Facebook
There is also a Facebook Page for custom lock pick makers with 3,150 members, some of whom sell custom picks and from whom you can learn to make picking tools.
Custom Lock Pick Designs
There are also lock picks that are custom in terms of the tool end design incorporated into currently produced picks and pick sets.
Lock Noob collaborated with Sparrows to develop the Monkey Paw lock pick that has a notched tip intended to aid in “capturing” a key pin within its minute notch and aid in setting it.
Christina Palmer has collaborated with Multipick to develop a customized set of picks based on her mathematically derived wave rakes and her favorite picks.
Jimy Longs has developed a computer-aided design set of lock pick hooks to optimize the pick’s tip shape, shank thickness, and width profile to distribute forces and increase user feedback optimally. Some accomplished pickers have recommended his picks, some of the least expensive are approximately $3 each!
Make Your Own Custom Lock Picks
What if you want a lock pick made specifically to fit your hand? Perhaps you have a pick you wish was slightly different in size and shape. You can determine what alterations you would like in dimensions or materials to formulate your custom pick requirements.
You will now know the characteristics you would like to see in a custom pick that fits you. Now you have to get someone to make one for you or learn to do it yourself!
You can learn to make your own custom lock picks by consulting several websites and YouTube channels that demonstrate lock pick making.
They can show you how to make picks from steel blank material, feeler gauges, hacksaw blades, artist spatulas, thin spring steel scrapers, and a variety of handle materials such as micarta, exotic woods, moldable plastic, popsicle sticks, large zip ties, and heat-shrink tubing (https://www.art-of-lockpicking.com/homemade-lock-pick-materials/).
An excellent YouTube playlist that teaches how to make your own custom lock picks using various methods is on Bosnian Bill’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTSWkYxuSlkWZt8pXHiV7xewOUEXNb3Qk). You can follow the procedures in his videos to make lock picks to your specifications.
Also, see Lock Noob’s channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOsIvTccXik&ab_channel=LockNoob) for a good custom pick making video.
If you have a 3D printer, you can make your own pick handles and other tools. Various standard 3D printing stereolithography (STL) files are available from many sources.
You can simply print a handle and insert your custom-made pick, using epoxy to bond them.
You can also print half a handle, place your pick on top of it, and print the other half of the handle. Check out STL finder for different designs and STL files for your 3D printer.
Why Would You Want a Custom Lock Pick?
Lock picking is such an individual activity. If you watch different lock pickers, you will see that they use different tools; they hold their picks differently; they have widely different motions; their speed, aggressiveness, amplitude of motion, etc., are all different.
Such differences in techniques suggest unique needs in tools. Your methods and how you hold your tools will determine the style of tools you need. Such considerations motivate the desire for tools tailored to each person.
Who can deny the appeal of having nice tools? In any activity, be it for work or pleasure, haven’t many of us desired nice, high-quality equipment?
The joy of owning nice tools, the stunning beauty of some custom picks, and the pleasure of using tools optimized for each particular task make lock picking more pleasurable.
If you suffer some ailment that impairs your hands, good tools suited to your needs can mitigate these effects, improve your capabilities, and make picking more enjoyable.
Buy some custom lock picks; collect a few picks of various types to see which you like. In this way, you can determine what type of picks best fit your style and which to acquire to make your hobby more rewarding.
Just look at some of those beautiful picks. Wouldn’t you like to know what owning and using one is like?
Fortunately, lock picking is an activity in which acquiring a few of the best tools is affordable for many of us. So go ahead and give it a try. You may find more satisfaction in the fascinating world of locksport.
Custom lock picks are generally one-off, specially designed, and fabricated from higher quality materials than mass-produced ones. The dimensions are not usually made from your hand measurements but are more suited to extended handling than more generic designs.
They can improve your lock picking experience by being more ergonomic and therefore ease the strain on your hand; using a high-quality tool built to a higher standard of construction, materials, and aesthetics can improve your lock picking enjoyment.
You can purchase custom single picks, or pick sets, have some custom-made for you, or learn to make your own from readily available materials.
So, try it and treat yourself to a high-quality pick that may improve your picking success and provide you with visual joy, pride of ownership, and satisfaction in locksport.