zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Friday, August 10, 2018

A guide to picking locks - #1

A guide to picking locks - #1
Nick Adams & CrimethInc /  Microcosm Publishing

21.5cm x 18cm, 80 pages

Cost: offered as part of Microcosm Publishing sliding scale pricing $6.95-$10.95

Confession time: as a kid I was really into magic, and like pretty much every young boy who is into magic I developed a fascination with the most famous magician in history - Harry Houdini. Houdini, of course, most famous for his infamous escapes - some of which form part of his legend, some very much still in the popular imagination (scenes in films like Mission: Impossible, and Ocean's Eleven, owe a huge debt to Houdini). My obsession with Houdini meant I read all the locking picking books I could find, persuaded the postman to donate any sacks they were throwing out so I could be tied inside to try and escape, and my mum even knitted me a straitjacket. If only this zine existed back then, perhaps my interested would have developed in a more practical way.

A guide to picking locks - #1 is another compilation zine lovingly produced by Microcosm Publishing, essentially a revised and updated compendium of PLT (How to make your own Professional Lock Tools 1-4)

Don't get me wrong, this is not a zine for wannabe Houdinis, it's a meticulous and serious guide to making and using your own lock picks. It takes you step-by-step through the principles of lock pick design; the types of metal and tools you need to make various picks; layout, grinding, filing and finishing; the most common types of door locks, as well as car doors, and office equipment. 

If you have access to a moderately equipped workshop you could easily follow this guide - the illustrations and text are crystal clear - and with a steady hand and practice you could  have a solid sideline as a locksmith. Nowhere in this zine does it encourage breaking the law - if you are mindless enough to break and enter you are unlikely to want to put the time and effort in to mastering these techniques. With this skill set comes responsibility, but it might just save someones life. 

As for how I escaped from that knitted straitjacket? I'm afraid that's a trade secret. 

Buy a copy of A guide to picking locks - #1 direct from Microcosm: https://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/2883

Review by Nathan Penlington

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