Converting a cheap keychain knife into a easy to carry folding pocket pick
Step 1: Materials List
• You will need a folding key knife, Once i get a little more practice on the cheap $2 ones like pictured above, I will probably look for the locking version made by SOG. I got this in a 3-pack form Amazon for $6 total, but Harbor freight also sells one for $1.99
• You will need a template (in this case i used one of my existing picks)
• Clear scotch tape
• Some sort of grinder (i used a simple 6" bench top grinder, but a dremel would work too.
• Some sandpaper (I used about 220 grit)
• Some water, i used a small plastic cup of it (this is to quench/cool the steel periodically when grinding)
* A soft oily wax candle (optional), often called votive candles.
Step 2: Getting Started
Start with your template, pick your pick, Mind you this is not a locking blade knife, so you might run into some issues with rakes, or double sided picks, I went for a simple J lifter pick
(*If you don't have any picks, your going to need to find a photo online and print at the right size it and probably cut it out.)
Taking a lighter or a candle. get some soot on the pick, (holding it a few cm above the flame is usually best.
Wait for the pick to cool back down.
Put some scotch tape on the sooty pick, and rub it down.
Pull up the tape, with your soot on it and apply it to the knife blade.
Rub it down, and trim away any extra tape.
(if you didn't have a pick, just put your paper pattern on the tape and rub it down. it might be a good idea to use glue stick on the paper too so it won't come loose when grinding)
Step 3: Getting to the Grind
Safety is important, wear eye protection when grinding.
Make sure your water cup is nearby (not pictured)
I started with grinding the tip, just grind away until its just outside the lines of your template
*Go slow, you can always grind more, but you can't put it back.
After a few seconds of grinding the steel may get very hot, we don't want to change the temper of the steel, so after a few seconds of shaping, dunk it in the water cup. if you hear it sizzle you were getting too hot, and will want to do it a little sooner
After getting the tip right i roughed out the rest of the shape. grinding and dipping in water, and grinding...
When it was pretty much the shape I wanted, it was time to grind it thinner. I had picked the back of the knife to be my pick, and that is where the blade was thickest, so i had to grind it from being very V shaped into a much thinner || shape. I did this by slowly grinding off the side of the blade that does not have the fingernail opening divot (this also happened to be the opposite side from my template too)
*remember go slow, if you grind it too thin it will be weak, you want a nice even grind, so keep the blade moving and inspect often.
Once it was as thin as my other picks, I finished following the template and grinding off any other rough parts.
Step 4: Finishing
From here it should look like a pick. But there is some finishing to do.
Get the sandpaper out (i used 220grit aluminum oxide), sand down all the surfaces you grinded, a smooth pick is a good pick! takes a little time but its worth it. you could follow it up with 500 or 800grit, (i have not yet) but you could get it back to a mirror like gleam.
Verify that its indeed thin enough for locks, compare it against your original and grind or hand file any spots that need any adjustments. (don't forget to sand it after.
And then lastly, I like to lubricate my picks. I usually wipe them down with a soft cloth, and then once again using a candle or lighter I heat up the pick, (just hot enough to really melt wax, not glowing hot!!! ) and plunge the pick into a soft yellow votive candle wax. (like the candle pictured above) pull it out and wipe off any extra wax. this both helps to keep the pick from rusting, and it helps the pins slide over the surface a little easier if you didn't get every little bit of grinding microscopically smooth.
I hope you enjoyed the Instructable. I'm still mulling over ideas on how to attach a usable tension wrench to clip onto it, or onto the keyring.
Step 5: Tension Wrench Addendum.
Followed the same technique to make a folding tension wrench, ground down the blade and made it small enough to fit bottom of the keyway, its not the lightest feel, a beginner would do better to have a more springy wrench, but on the 3 locks I had on hand it worked.