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Rather than spinning a dial with numbers, Master Lock’s Speed Dial combination lock uses up/down/left/right movements. In addition to the new code entry system they use an anti-shim technology and a hardened steel shackle to prevent circumventing the combination. The result is a lock that they claim is faster to open, easier to use, and more secure then a standard combination lock.

Is only having four possible choices instead of 40 for each move in the combination possibly be enough? In reality, on many dial combination locks you can be off by a number to the left or right, so instead of 40 possible choices you’re reduced to maybe 15.  With three numbers in the combination that gives you 3,375 (15*15*15) possible combinations. To get the same level of security with this new Speed Dial Lock you’ll need at least six moves (4*4*4*4*4*4= 4,096).

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One of my uncles loves to tell the tale of how he acquired much of his impressive collection of fine Snap-On tools and the four-foot-wide roll cab they came in. As he tells it, back in the sixties he purchased the full cab from a dealer who was going out of business, and had somehow wound up with the full chest, no key, and apparently no idea about the value of its contents. Price? $200. He bought the cab, dragged it home, popped it open with one of the few tools he owned (a lock pick set from working with a towing company), and was the proud owner of a fully stocked dealership tool set at about a 97% discount.

Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but he does use a pick set to open his tool box, claiming he’s nostalgic and never saw the point of getting it re-keyed. Picks are useful little devices, if you can get a set that isn’t from a shady dealer. Look for stainless steel pieces with good metal handles, which should cost around $30, and you usually won’t go wrong. Johnny Law may frown upon owners, but in the right circumstances, they can save some serious headaches. Practitioners claim that lock picking is as much an art as welding, so maybe it’ll morph into a hobby as well as a practical skill.

LAB 11-piece Mini Pick Set [Lock Picks by Brockhage]
Clear Practice Locks [Lock Picks by Brockhage]
Professional Picking Tools [Lock Pick Shop]

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Forget stethoscopes and bolt cutters; this is the 21st century. This modern piece of safe-cracking equipment is simply a sensitive microphone, amplifier, and headset designed to work together to make Hollywood’s beloved by-ear safe crack a reality. Apparently, it includes some kind of noise cancellation, since the manufacturer claims you can “tune out distracting noises and hone in on the signals you are listening for,” and it’s sensitive enough to allow a skilled user to determine the type of mechanism he’s cracking.

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Chances are you’ve seen a wheel lock, sometimes called a boot, on a car that’s violated some parking ordinance — if not in person, at least on TV. The concept is to make the car stay put by completely immobilizing one of the wheels until the owner pays a fine. The Wheel Chock Lock from Curt Manufacturing uses the same concept to keep your trailer or camper from disappearing, only now you have the key.

The Wheel Chock Lock will expand to fit a variety of tires. It has a powder-coated yellow finish to resist corrosion and make it stand out. The Wheel Chock Lock comes with three keys and runs about $75.

Wheel Chock Lock [Curt Manufacturing]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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