Lock picking has been a topic of casual interest to me for a long time, although it is definitely still an art in which I have very little capability. Last year, with the help of stumbleupon, which my ‘sister’ Molly at La Sierra introduced me to, I learned about the relatively new technique of lock bumping that has really intrigued me. Basically you make a blank key with all pins cut to the maximum depth, and by applying shocks to the end of the key while keeping pressure on the lock, it’s possible to open most locks without damaging anything. There are a ton of articles on the web about this, and it sounds like it could be much easier than the conventional way.
I haven’t tried lock bumping, and just to be clear for all you law enforcement people who are probably reading this, the only locks I’ve ever picked in my life were a little padlock I bought for myself and my violin case. Nevertheless, I do have one piece of experience with bumping, and that was when I was locked out of my dorm room back at La Sierra and had to get the RA to come open it for me. The key she was using was correct but wasn’t quite working since it was just a master key that is supposed to open everything. We had the problem there that due to sloppy manufacturing, keys didn’t usually open the doors in our hall easily unless it was the specific room key. I’m sure we’ve all been in situations like this. Anyway, neither the RA nor the student dean was able to get it to work, and on a whim, I asked them if I could try something. I put the key in the lock, tried to turn it with one hand, and then whacked the end of it with the bottom of my other hand in a fist. It suddenly opened! This very simple application clearly illustrates the power of lock bumping, and you should try it next time you have a key that’s supposed to open a door but doesn’t quite work.