Lockpicking Saves the Day (or foozeball table)

My first lockpick, which I did not use for this.

Last Friday, a terrible thing happened in the first floor lounge of West Hall at Olin College.  The foozeball table, known and loved by many, was flipped.  While most furniture is unharmed by this kind of tomfoolery, the foozeball table (as I now know) has a bunch of wooden chutes inside that direct balls from the goals to the ball return.  One of these had been dislodged, and people could no longer get the balls out!  On no!

The chutes in question

Fortunately, this was actually part of the design of the table.  The explanation we came up with was that at commercial foozeball-halls, the ball return is disabled so that the owners can sell balls.  The whole table acts like a giant hinged box to hold the balls, until the owner comes by with the key and retrieves them.


Using my friends hook and tension wrench, I had both wafer tumblers picked in a jiffy.  The ramp was re-lodged, tested, and the balls were retrieved.  While the ethics of lockpicking on locks in use is somewhat grey, I feel like it was justified.  Normally the rules for picking are are:

“Do not pick locks you do not own or have explicit permission to pick.  Never pick a lock that are in use”

But this time it was a lock that the students owned (and I was being asked to pick), and by being in use it was obstructing the use of the table.  I also had sufficient skill and knowledge of the working of the lock to pick it without damaging it.

Yay using lockpicking for good!

TOOOL Boston Meeting: Pick Locks; Get Loot

Swag from TOOOL Boston meeting

This past weekend I decided to go to a meeting hosted by The Open Organization Of Lockpickers, or TOOOL.  I have been involved in lockpicking and collecting locks since I was about 10.  My initial fascination was with the master locks that secured everyones lockers; the first lock I tried to pick was on the back of my school combination lock.  All the locks at school had two modes of entry; one combination entry method for students, and a small pin-tumbler lock in the back so janitors/administration can get in.  Of course everyones lock is compromised if someone tears down their lock and gets at those key cuts, and then makes their own key, so try not to use these if you can avoid it.

Anyways, this meeting was relaxed, with picks and locks on the table while squelchtone gave a presentation on many many kinds of locks and various methods for picking them.  While informative, I had heard most of it before.  However when the crowd was polled for volunteers for a little bit of competitive picking, I jumped on the opportunity.  As I was handcuffed, I felt a competitive rush that I hadn’t felt since my last swim meet.  In a few minutes I had picked my master padlock and quikset deadbolt, and shimmed my way out of the handcuffs I was in, rendering me the winner.  As the two other folks struggled out of their bindings, I learned that I would be receiving a set of HPC picks, a handcuff key, and all the locks I had just picked.  Yay!  Second and third place got some practice locks and lockpicking CDs to help beef up their skills.

After that I got to see some awesome stuff, ranging from custom picks by ratyoke, ray, and ln21, to a really rare prototype lock (one of two!) that was produced for the US military.

This was definitely fun, and I will hopefully be able to attend more TOOOL meetings.  If you are wondering if TOOOL boston is active, it is, and you should definitely go.