A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Ralph Goodman
The most common question when people set down a new career path is, “Where do I even start?” You have the drive, but you feel that there are just so many questions. You don’t know what you should ask first. You also don’t know what you don’t know to ask. And how do you ask for information that you don’t know you need? This guide will take you through the most important resources for any new locksmith. It is more than just the links. It is the information that will help you get the most out of those links. This article should serve as a springboard for your own exploration. It is meant to cut through the extraneous information without leaving you uninformed. Make sure that you do click on the links and explore a little for yourself. And between a firm grasp on community and education, you should have everything you need.
Message boards offer support, information, and countless resources. It is a good way to keep up to date on lock news and what is happening in the security community. For the best experience, I would suggest going onto some forums. Between these sites, you should be able to get all of the information that you need. Even if you don’t want to dive into commenting these a great resource for finding answers to specific questions.
This forum offers exclusive threads for professionals as well as threads open to the public. There is an amazing glossary for lock picking terms. The site has very active moderators to make sure that it remains inclusive and that people follow the rules. There are specific places to post certain types of questions and comments, and it takes a bit of getting used to. The admin and the moderators will step in to make sure that your threads are moved to the appropriate area, so they are seen by people that can help. If the search function is not giving you the results you are looking for, try going to google and typing in your question and “lock picking 101”. Most new threads receive responses on how this question has already been answered somewhere else on the site.
This forum is very similar to Lock Picking 101 except that it has a slightly different user interface. For the most part, it even has the same users as Lock Picking. You may discover that you can find things more easily on Key Picking, because of the various subcategories. Similarly, this might confuse some users. It is all about preference, but I would recommend joining both this site and Lock Picking 101. Though they are very similar, the content can be quite unique to each site.
This site is more of a niche for collectors, but if you find yourself getting into collecting this is a great resource. Working as a locksmith, you may also find yourself in possession of some very old locks. Antique locks has quite a few users that are knowledgeable about the history and value of these devices. Other that background and history, it is also a resource for buying and selling. There is a specific thread for “For Sale – Wanted”.
Depending on your learning style, YouTube might be the first place you turn for an education, but there is also a community there. Groups from the message boards share their lock picking exploits and send challenge locks to one another. YouTubers such as Wayne Winton, Schuyler Towne, Lockman 28, and, of course, Bosnianbill are very articulate and have a lot of unique videos. Each one offers different insights, but some of the material overlaps.
Very practical ideas that vary from beginner information to product comparison. He is very pragmatic and strives for discovering the best item for the situation. He also tests items against destructive entry, both to see how the protection withstands the tool and to see how effective the tool is. He is one of the few working locksmiths that really shares his knowledge and experience on YouTube.
Once you get through his amazing “Basic Operation and Manipulation” videos, he also has some pretty great long-form presentations. The presentations are very in-depth, and often explore lock history. His true love of locks should be enough to inspire any struggling locksmith to keep on going. His passion is infectious.
When it comes to interesting locks, Lockman 28 can’t be beat. He brings all kinds of obscure and fascinating mechanisms from around the world. In his videos, he explains how the differences in design create different challenges. It is an amazing resource for troubleshooting ideas.
There is just something about this guy that everybody loves (myself included). He is amazingly articulate, a fantastic lock picker, and very accessible. Nowadays he does a lot of picking videos, but his older material is filled with the answers to pretty much every lock question you could have. He is great with responding to the comments on his videos even if they are years old. He will also open you up to the community at large by plugging the smaller locksport YouTubers.
Blogs are a great way to learn in any industry. A blog is simply an area on a website that is updated on a regular basis. Blogs are usually started by experts in their field. We listed two blogs that have some really great stuff to help you learn about the profession.
This is a great resource for additional information. It points the user to many of the same resources that I have mentioned, but they also have some very in-depth content that gets you thinking about the profession. I would recommend exploring their blog section, and training and certification section. It is hard to tell how often they update (because there are no dates), but their back catalogue warrants a glance. There is also a homepage that gets you started on navigating the site and the profession. They also have a tool to find jobs. It is like if someone turned this one post into a website. Highly recommend.
We offer some really great content if you’re looking into perfecting your locksmith skills. Not only are we posting constantly, but we also actively answer questions and have discussions in our comments section. If you need specific questions answered, or have topics that you would like to know more about, we are very easy to contact. Besides our blog, we also share a lot of great stuff on social media via the United Locksmith Twitter and Facebook. Follow us there, subscribe to the blog, and feel free to comment and ask questions whenever you have them.
Formal associations and organizations mean that you have to pay your dues, literally. These fees allow the groups to offer better organization and assure a level of commitment from its members. The formality is also meant to discourage your average person from joining. Rules and requirements are devised so that only the driven will join.
The Associated Locksmiths of America has all kinds of resources for almost every aspect of the trade. The group offers scholarships, training, and membership. It is the most accredited national locksmith association in the United states. Being a member requires a level of skill and knowledge of the craft, and these criteria serve to ensure that a high level of excellence is maintained.
Although The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers is not specifically for locksmiths, it provides great opportunities to advance your lock picking skills. Toool’s goal “is the promotion of hobbyist lockpicking and sportpicking and the general education of the public on matters of locks and security on a non-profit basis” (Bylaws).
Your initial education is going to be the basis for your marketability. What you know will give you a certain amount of value. It will also shape your career path within the field of locksmithing.
The immense amount of locksmithing schools and classes makes it pretty difficult to know who you can trust. I feel that the best schools to trust are those trusted by trusted associations. ALOA has a complete list of schools that they have accredited, on their website. You can be trained through the mail, on the internet, or in a physical classroom.
The best resource for finding a locksmith apprenticeship is once again, ALOA. They have a tool called Find a Locksmith. It is meant to be a directory for customers seeking an ALOA certified locksmith, but it has great potential for apprenticeship opportunities. It will give you the contact information of all the passionate and experienced locksmiths in your area. From there it is just up to you to go and see them.
Your master locksmith must be someone that compliments your personality, so don’t settle for the first person that accepts you. Make sure you have taken a locksmith course (described above) so that you have some value to offer your master. Taking a course or two will also give you an idea of what type of locksmith you want to be. Find a locksmith that has the career and skills that you want.
These events can be used for learning and discussing the craft as well as just finding like-minded individuals to bond with. The best place to find a meetup group is on the message boards.
Google can be a valuable resource, in this case, but chances are a message board will get better results. You can start a thread asking about groups in your area, and usually there will be a couple responses. Meetup.com is great website
If there are no active groups, consider trying to put something together. When you decide to do this, I would recommend embracing the locksport community. Keep the doors open to anyone that is interested in locks and security. Also, consider that your group may have to meet in a location that is convenient for the majority of members, which may mean that it is slightly inconvenient for you. The internet can also be used to grow your group. Although I cannot speak to the quality of people you may find on sites like Reddit and Craigslist, there are threads within those sites where people are looking to be part of a community. There are also Subreddits for lock picking and locksmithing where you might find people looking to get more involved.
These are the best online resources I have found. They are by no means the only resources. I encourage all new or aspiring locksmiths to click through the links and forge their own path. For the most part, these are going to be the resources that people refer you to. With this information, you will be able to better navigate the recommendations. You will also know more than you would by just stumbling across a page of links. But perhaps a page of links would be helpful to some people. Leave a comment bellow if you would like to have any more information. If you want less information, i.e the page of just links, I would refer you to Security Info Net. That resource is a wider ranging resource list. It is more general, but there may be things there that pertain to you. Do keep in mind that online resources are only one part of the equation and it is still necessary to practice your skills day in and day out. Also, feel free to tell us about your favorite resources in the comments section. Now, go forth with knowledge, and be safe.