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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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