even morer DIY :p

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ade

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so, there i was, baking a cake (jam-sponge, if you wanna be sexy about it) and as the first half finished and i opened the door, the oven conked out. dead. at thirteen months old.
now, the cake was a little treat to myself for having been in annoying pain for x-amount of time and the plan was to take things easy and recover as best as could be (no lifting, no driving, etc), and the oven dying was the icing on the, erm, stress-cake.
luckily, as i'd thought, we had the old oven, of the same type (Panasonic slimline combi), in the shed and it only has a grumbling fan-bearing. even luckilier then, as it was night, i had only just put fresh bulbs in the security-light (although the universe may be trying to tell me something) and so i dug out the old oven from behind all the other heavy stuff, and i then put that heavy back. in pain :cursing:

after a cleaning, i swapped them over and ran the old oven through a heating cycle to burn off any residues and mould.
at the end of that, the old oven conked out. dead. just like the new oven.

this is where you have to give 'fair dues' to pain because, had i been fit and well, i would've smashed the shit out of something. then again, had i been fit and well, i'd be working and would've just bought a cake from Asda.

and, by this point, i was too stressed and in too much pain to do anything proper. i reckoned it was just a fuse that had blown, in both cases, although it was pretty weird for both to go as they did.
after a rest, i opened the new oven and sure enough, the internal [special] fuse had blown. as you'd expect [all things ade], finding the rating of the fuse was another load of bollocks as the stamping on the fuse was hardly discernable. i couldn't be arsed digging out a camera and tripod, at that point, but here's a pic i took today:
View attachment 26644

the characters are each less than a millimetre in width, but i guessed at 15amp, but didn't know the speed.
and the internet was no help. and the nearest stockist of suchlike had only 10amp fuses. and, no, i couldn't rip my hair out (not with my shoulders).

more resting and seething followed. then, i re-checked the oven's specs.
at full whack, the claimed current draw is 9.6 amps, but we never use the oven at full whack and, at our useage, the average draw would be 5.5 to 7 amps :yes:

and so, pack o' ten fuses for less than four quid later, we're oveneering again :clap:

'course, i didn't get to finish my cake and had to make do with only half a cake.
i'm currently awaiting the explosion of the Sun as i'm sure it's warranty's just run out. who's got the receipt?
 

Angelic

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That's unlucky, I hope you got your cake in the end!
 

ade

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I hope you got your cake in the end!

i beg your puddin'!!! :p

i did half a cake; cut the sponge base in half, slapped on the jam and there you go.
the oven conked out, again, the day after as i opened the door, again. i've checked the door micro-switch operating mechanism and while the switches do seem unsecure, that may be a design intent [for the use by the cackhanded; or soldier/idiot-proof as may be said] and it may be my gentleness of use which is unliked by the mechanism?
anyway, 8 fuses to go :biggrin:
 

ade

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well, got the car through another MOT.
gave the rear brakes an overhaul and new pads and discs, beforehand. it needed it as one of the calipers had partially seized on it's guide-pins. only done 2k miles this past year; no wonder that the grease-monkeys were ogling the car, yet again, "you've had that a while. hard to find a straight one, nowadays".
i wonder how much they'd give for it?

upcoming projects: kitchen sink tap (faucet), fence anchor/brace and letterbox bag.
the tap began leaking last week and got worse throughout the day. when i dismantled it, it was obvious that the rubber seals were worn, but they aren't standard tap-washers (i 'found' the tap at work some years ago and it's quite a posh one). the bloke at the local plumb centre was no help and talked a load of codswallop, so i decided to get one of the american style taps of Amazon, at £47. it's fecking massive, btw!!! and despite the old one being 'posh', it's a pretty crap mixer for a mixer-tap. hopefully, the new one will give warm, instead of freezing cold or scalding hot.
the Amazon Prime i got on special offer is coming in handy evermore with the demise of B&Q, especially as you can have it as a family account and share payment methods.
naturally, once i'd temporarily reassembled the tap, it stopped leaking. grr.

and the drill bit for the anchor bolts came, today, from Amazon. so, weather permitting, i can make the bracing frame, soon.

and the letterbox bag........well:
View attachment 26731

not really to protect the post, but more the dog from the junk mail which gets slipped through quietly and often has stapled items.
bags can be bought, starting from £35 on Amazon, but they look too costly for what they are. i'm making my own from the old scrub-suits and, all being well, will be an underlapping pocket affair, meaning no need for velcro, and secured to the door with bolts.
it should be a zero-cost gig as i have everything i should need. i'll post pics of the process and result for those who want to copy.
 

ade

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letterbox bag on test:
View attachment 26794

the big test is this weekend's newspapers. mum threw away last weekend's, so i couldn't do a decent testing. it works with the post, though, and a single paper.
i had a dilemma with the inner flap's hem, on which side to put it:
View attachment 26795

i didn't want to put it on the inside where it may snag any post or papers, but on the outside risked snagging one of mum's nails when she delved into the bag. mum won. but, i think that a final design would have the hem going all the way to the top of the bag on the outside of the inner flap to eliminate the snagging risk altogether.
a waste of material, maybe, but i was already short of material which, along with my workman's/whip stitch, accounts for the Frankensteiny look.
 

dogboy

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so, there i was, baking a cake (jam-sponge, if you wanna be sexy about it)

Ironically, my first romantic girlfriend/escapade, was with a jam-spongecake, and yes, it was unprotected sex!!!

On a more serious note, sorry to hear about all your aches and pains, though well done on finding the problem and repairing it.
 

ade

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On a more serious note, sorry to hear about all your aches and pains....
oo! ta! :eek:

.... well done on finding the problem and repairing it.
well, i'm not wholly sure were we are on that, yet (it died on mum, too, so it's not just me :biggrin:).
i know the micro-switches are dodgily secured, but i do also have to wonder if there may be a bad contact around the heating element area??? so far, a new regimen of stopping the oven with the operating controls before opening the door, rather than replying on the door's automatic cutouts, seems to have stopped the oven blowing fuses (what are the odds that it states to do so in the owner's manual? :laugh:)

and......
Saturday's newspapers were delivered with no problem. the big one, tomorrow: Sunday papers and all their suppliments :fingerscrossed:
 

ade

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fence abraced:
View attachment 26919

a two day job. the forecast was for one good day, but by the end of that, they said the next was also good. and i needed it because, by the time the nappies towels had dried enough, it was afternoon. everybody was trying to make the most of the good weather; the whole neighbourhood sounded like a factory :laugh:
by the end of the first day, i'd made the brace and had begun to inspect the ground to where it would fixed. i then found that i had six inches of sand beneath the paving, before i got to the concrete base. and i then found that i couldn't find the trowel to dig out the sand :wallbash: (weeds had grown around where i left it last :blushie:).
day two began with lengthening the anchor bolts; had i known how long i'd have to do them, i would've gone for thicker bolts.
i plan to make another brace for the post further up, but not as sturdy and only fastened to the paving.

a wee while ago, i bought a new telly for the kitchen (as that's where i spend most of time): https://www.reevoo.com/p/jvc-lt-22c540
the store i bought it from recently e-mailed me asking for my review of it, and that reminded me of what i need to do to it:
fit proper, forward-facing speakers!!!!!
the sound quality of it, with it's rear-facing speakers, is crap. once i'd realized this, i was sorely tempted to take it back, but there were/are no alternatives. i mean, come on, that whole speaker thing was ditched a long time ago as being crap. the sound should be directed at the viewer, not at the floor, ceiling and walls. it really does take the piss, especially when you get clearer sound in any other position than the one from which you view.
i'll probably cannibalize an old lcd tv for the speakers (yay! for being a hoarder :yes::clapping:)
 

GoldDragonAurkarm

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Well done! Looks like you're keeping busy.

I feel like my whole life is DIY these days.

Projects currently in progress or recently done?

Major one involves a full rehab of a formerly-derelict two-family house. It had been stripped of all the wiring and plumbing for the scrap value. Water heaters and boilers were stolen. Radiators were stolen. The original skeleton-key mortise interior door locks were stolen. The kitchen cabinets were stolen. The bathroom fixtures were stolen (except for the cast iron tubs-they were built in too well). Right now, I'm working on restoring some of the exterior stuff to keep the city off my back and getting the electrical wiring done. Plumbing and heating are on my mind, but I don't want to do plumbing until I have heat in the building (Michigan winters are brutal!), and I'm short on cash to do two furnaces right now.

From there, I bought a 1995 Ford F-150 pickup off Craigslist to haul materials for the aforementioned house project. Of course, a 21-year-old truck with 191,000 miles of Michigan roads and Michigan winters needed a complete suspension and steering rebuild. The shock towers looked like Swiss cheese for the rust holes, the shocks themselves were the originals from Ford, and the coil springs had both broken. So, chiseled away the rusted factory rivets for the mount towers and replaced everything with new. From there, all four ball joints (I paid for those to be done, since I hate doing ball joints!), inner and outer tie rods, Pitman arm, and steering gearbox got it. Overall it drives a lot better, although it still doesn't quite like to return to center. Oh well...

Minor projects-building new cabinet faces for our kitchen at home (pieces are made. I need to fix my air compressor so I can spray them with a nice gloss paint and then finish assembly), rebuilding a 1905 ornately-muntined window, and gearing up to make mouldings to match the originals in the project house where they've been too greatly damaged.

Then I wonder why I feel like I never have time.
 

AEsahaettr

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Major one involves a full rehab of a formerly-derelict two-family house. It had been stripped of all the wiring and plumbing for the scrap value. Water heaters and boilers were stolen. Radiators were stolen. The original skeleton-key mortise interior door locks were stolen. The kitchen cabinets were stolen. The bathroom fixtures were stolen (except for the cast iron tubs-they were built in too well). Right now, I'm working on restoring some of the exterior stuff to keep the city off my back and getting the electrical wiring done. Plumbing and heating are on my mind, but I don't want to do plumbing until I have heat in the building (Michigan winters are brutal!), and I'm short on cash to do two furnaces right now.

Any advice on how to judge the market for flipping a home? My wife's relocating for work and we've considered buying a foreclosure in the next year to rehab. I can do any interior work on a house (so no foundation work, roofing, siding, etc) but we'd need to be able to sell the home in about 2-3 years and the costs would be minimal. I wouldn't be looking for much profit except to cover the cost of the tools I'd like to buy and of course balancing things out such that in the end all the money we paid on "rent" comes back. The area she's looking in is has a lot of foreclosures and not a ton of stock on the market otherwise so I'm worried that there just aren't enough buyers to go around. Basically, there's a ton of single-family homes with 900-1,000 sqft for $50-70k.
 

GoldDragonAurkarm

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Any advice on how to judge the market for flipping a home? My wife's relocating for work and we've considered buying a foreclosure in the next year to rehab. I can do any interior work on a house (so no foundation work, roofing, siding, etc) but we'd need to be able to sell the home in about 2-3 years and the costs would be minimal. I wouldn't be looking for much profit except to cover the cost of the tools I'd like to buy and of course balancing things out such that in the end all the money we paid on "rent" comes back. The area she's looking in is has a lot of foreclosures and not a ton of stock on the market otherwise so I'm worried that there just aren't enough buyers to go around. Basically, there's a ton of single-family homes with 900-1,000 sqft for $50-70k.
Hmm...

To be honest, some of it is gut-feeling of what's happening in that part of town/the region. For instance, where I'm rehabbing in Detroit, I've seen a lot of development happen to the south of me, I'm near a major corridor down which they're trying to put in a streetcar, and I'm near a mansion district that's received a lot of attention over the last five years. Gut says I'm right in the path of development, since it seems unlikely this part of town's gonna suddenly drop off.

More concrete(ish), though? Like I said, look at what's happening around there. Are there new businesses going in? What sorts of people are living there, moving in, moving out? Is it near something like a university that could make for a good rental cash flow, or is it in an inner-ring burb that's great for starter homes and is reasonably desirable, or is it in a dying neighborhood or 'burb? In Metro Detroit, for instance, I'd consider flipping a home in Oak Park, and certainly would in Ferndale, but I'd stay away from Hazel Park. So those three exist in a line, all have housing stock consisting of 1,000 square foot bungalows and small ranches. Ferndale has a lot of nightlife and is pretty diverse (and the closest thing we have to a gay neighborhood). Oak Park is sleepier, but the homes are well-kept, services are pretty good, and there are some communities that are based there. Hazel Park... The schools are shit, and anyone with a couple bucks to rub together is bailing out. Last year I was at the Oakland County tax auction, and there were houses in Hazel Park they couldn't sell for $500.

Poke around Zillow a bit and look at recently sold homes. They usually seem to have stuff going back a couple years, anyway, so you can get an idea of what homes are selling for (make sure you're looking per foot, not total price) and the direction things are moving.

Of course, make sure you look over what thing you're thinking of, make sure you've built large contingency for both time and money into your budget, and ask around to see how the city is to work with. Some cities around here are pretty easy to work with, but (for instance) Redford is a bloody nightmare-super keen to cite and ticket you, super hard to nail down to actually have inspections, and super keen to charge out the ass for permit and inspection fees. If you're uncomfortable with property inspections or don't know what to look for in the foundation, electrical, et cetera, find a good home inspector. Some will be better with certain types of houses-different houses from different eras used different construction techniques. Knowing the difference between cracking three-coat wood lathe-backed plaster and pillowing/cracking rock lathe-backed plaster and what causes them could make the difference between a lot of mudding and filling or a sign of a structural issue, for instance.

Also, get familiarized with your foreclosure laws and how to get property records. In Michigan, foreclosure for failure to pay property taxes results in a judgment of foreclosure that vests absolute fee simple title in the county. The judgment erases all previous interests in the property, including all ownership interests and all liens. In other places, though, you might get back water bills, outstanding mortgages, or some owner from eons ago that came back like an apparition because of dodgy record keeping.

In any case, make sure you're getting clear title via a Warranty Deed, or at least be prepared to fork over a couple grand to an attorney and court to quiet the title if you're concerned about any defects you find (defects include ownership interests aside from the seller, liens (mechanic's liens, mortgages, delinquent taxes, etc.). Making sure the papers are in order is more important than what state the house is in, because paperwork troubles can cost a lot of money to sort.

Finally, have an exit plan if something goes sideways. More importantly, though, have fun with it. You'll learn so much on your first go. I'm learning a ton on my project! Keep your historic details and original tilework, modernize what's missing. Have a vision, don't be scared to spend a few bucks, don't over-amenitize, don't go cheap.

Good luck, and I'm happy to lend whatever other insights I might have.
 

AEsahaettr

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Of course, make sure you look over what thing you're thinking of, make sure you've built large contingency for both time and money into your budget, and ask around to see how the city is to work with.

We've got these. We don't have a lot of money sitting around because she's finally getting her first high-pay post-career job, but I've done the budget and we're well below our means. I'm looking at buying a home that would cost, tops, $60k. Our budget would allow us to buy one that costs three times that. As for time, we have a few years. We won't stay in South Carolina forever, but she's got a position that's going to advance her career pretty well according to what we see in the practice model.

The larger issue is that there really isn't such a thing in Columbia as up-and-coming neighborhoods. No one's rehabbing the older neighborhoods where you can get a foreclosure; developers are just staking out completely new turf. It's sort of like Phoenix in that regard.

Finally, have an exit plan if something goes sideways. More importantly, though, have fun with it. You'll learn so much on your first go. I'm learning a ton on my project! Keep your historic details and original tilework, modernize what's missing. Have a vision, don't be scared to spend a few bucks, don't over-amenitize, don't go cheap.

My exit plan is simply to not overinvest. If I buy a house to rehab, it's going to be inexpensive enough under our budget that if need be we could buy another house and burn that one to the ground. My only concern is that in a neighborhood that has a lot of foreclosures, there just isn't a market.
 

FluffyWolfe

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The fuse says 15Amps, it seems. The owners manual should state what size you need though.
 

GoldDragonAurkarm

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We've got these. We don't have a lot of money sitting around because she's finally getting her first high-pay post-career job, but I've done the budget and we're well below our means. I'm looking at buying a home that would cost, tops, $60k. Our budget would allow us to buy one that costs three times that. As for time, we have a few years. We won't stay in South Carolina forever, but she's got a position that's going to advance her career pretty well according to what we see in the practice model.

The larger issue is that there really isn't such a thing in Columbia as up-and-coming neighborhoods. No one's rehabbing the older neighborhoods where you can get a foreclosure; developers are just staking out completely new turf. It's sort of like Phoenix in that regard.



My exit plan is simply to not overinvest. If I buy a house to rehab, it's going to be inexpensive enough under our budget that if need be we could buy another house and burn that one to the ground. My only concern is that in a neighborhood that has a lot of foreclosures, there just isn't a market.
That can be tricky to sort. It sounds like you're talking about an inner-ring suburb, and there's a lot of development happening on the fringe. So right there you get the idea the upper-middle and professional classes aren't looking there. I'd look at what houses are selling for, how long they're on the market, and those signs of what I call "pride of ownership." Are the non-foreclosures well-kept, with flower beds and lawn decorations landscaping and fresh paint and all that? Is it a heavy ownership area, or is it a rental/owner mix, or is it heavy rental (Census has those sorts of data). And, what are the schools like? If the schools have been historically poor or are recently financially troubled, that's going to limit the young family portion of the market.

I dunno, without being there I can't specifically say what my gut would tell me. Don't forget, though, that people do rent, too. So, even if you got the house done and it turned out you'd misjudged the market, you could probably still rent it until the numbers were right.


I mean, my project house is a two-family, and I'm intending to rent it (well, if I had my way I'd sell our big house in the suburbs, move into the upper flat there, and use the proceeds of the sale to buy another couple of houses and reno them, but Mr. Aurkarm is not real keen on that idea). But, if things go as I think they will, maybe in five years I'll cash it out.

If you can get the thing cheap enough, you have a lot of options. And, a house with a troubled past might be the best way to learn (kinda like getting a junky car as your first).
 

ade

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The fuse says 15Amps, it seems. The owners manual should state what size you need though.
it's an internal [quick blow] fuse, not a plug fuse (not covered by 'owners manuals').

but, onwards and waywards:
i've fettled the shape of the letterbox bag after having had chance to play with posting the Sunday papers (mum had kindly taken in the papers the week before, thereby delaying things). it now deforms much better once the lengthy and bulky stuff goes through and this Sunday's papers plopped neatly into the bag. we'll see how that goes for the next few weeks.
i did try to price up some material for to make some more, slightly differently shaped bags, from the so-called 'clearance' section of the nearby Odds & Sods, but they were only offering things like a pound off the retail price. i'll have to wait around for more scraps.
 

ade

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A neat buy: lockpicking training kit :)
Less than £14 on amazon.
I'm surprised at how addictive it is.

Of course, it'll take yonks to master, but if you've ever worked on a car, or suchlike, blind, then you'll already much of the knowhow and knack.
 

GoldDragonAurkarm

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A neat buy: lockpicking training kit :)
Less than £14 on amazon.
I'm surprised at how addictive it is.

Of course, it'll take yonks to master, but if you've ever worked on a car, or suchlike, blind, then you'll already much of the knowhow and knack.

Oooh lock picking and locksmithing are fun! Did your kit come with any see-through or other training locks too? Those always looked like they'd be pretty sweet to learn on and get the idea of what's happening when you feel one thing or another through the pick. Maybe some year I'll splurge and pick some up. I have a 20-piece Southord set I bought probably 15 years ago now. Once in awhile I pull 'em out with an old padlock or something and see if I still got it. When I'm in practice I can often work through a Best 7-pin interchangeable core lock. Even if I'm out of practice I can usually get through a 4-pin padlock or a 5-pin Kwikset house lock. Oddly enough, Corbin-Russwin 6-pin locks usually manage to thwart me.

I bought a set of the Petersen interchangeable core extractor tension wrenches that are supposed to work on the control shear line of an interchangeable core, but I have to date never even come close to actually successfully using them.

Funny thing for me was that a friend got me into picking, and from there I picked up a fair amount of actual locksmithing skills. I have two key machines, including a Foley-Belsaw Model 200 set up for code cutting, as well as a punch for A2 interchangeable cores, not to mention a mess of blanks floating around. I've keyed up master key systems, I do my own locksmithing for my houses, and I even managed to create from scratch the missing interior cabinet keys for a friend's motorhome.

How do authorities in your bit of the Universe view stuff like lock picks? In Michigan at least, they're legal as long as you're not using them to commit a crime. I was refused entry into Canada one time because I had forgotten about my picks in the car and the border agents found them as they were searching me.

Anyways, much fun to be had!
 

ade

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Oooh lock picking and locksmithing are fun! Did your kit come with any see-through or other training locks too?
yep!
View attachment 27086

(apologies for the quality, or lack thereof; serves me right for editing it on my phone)
the transparent padlock is a doddle, but gives you an idea of the feel and the positioning of the pins. just a pity that it's keyhole isn't squiggly like most keyholes are, as that squiggliness needs a different knack of fiddling. there's loads more transparent locks on Amazon, so i may buy some, as and when.

this padlock, here,
View attachment 27087

proved a bit trickier, despite it being just a cheap and simple one. you may tell by the size and the length of the entry pin (denoted by the the V on the key) that there's hardly any room for a pick and tensioner [for to work behind the entry pin]. i ended up using another pick to tension at the top of the keyhole. the springiness of the pick, used to tension, gave it a nicer feel and once i'd sussed it, and thought i'd sussed it through practice, i thought i had it. until, the next day when, migraine and lack of sleep in hand, it beat me time after time.
the backdoor lock is proving a bit tricky, too. i've had it once, by raking, but setting the pins one-by-one is a different matter. i get it so it's almost there and it feels like it wants to go, but no.


Funny thing for me was that a friend got me into picking, and from there I picked up a fair amount of actual locksmithing skills. I have two key machines, including a Foley-Belsaw Model 200 set up for code cutting, as well as a punch for A2 interchangeable cores, not to mention a mess of blanks floating around. I've keyed up master key systems, I do my own locksmithing for my houses, and I even managed to create from scratch the missing interior cabinet keys for a friend's motorhome.
you da man :worshippy:
we've always had 'handy' keys that my dad picked up on his travels and exploits, but proper picking, as with many things of yore, was limited by crap metals and a lack of availability of the tools.
before i got injured, i was toying with idea of taking a locksmithing course and setting myself up as a locksmith (saving up, in fact), but i'm not sure i've got the energy and drive to jump into the fray anymore.

How do authorities in your bit of the Universe view stuff like lock picks? In Michigan at least, they're legal as long as you're not using them to commit a crime.
similar, over here. there are various laws covering entry into premises and dwellings, but a lot boils down to issues of intent and a copper's view. a common arrest is known as 'going equipped' [for crime], whereby anything you have about your person could viewed as being used for committing a crime. pretty vague and generally used coppers who 'know' that someone is up to no good and 'best to have them off the streets for a while'.
a similar thing was back before the coppers went digital with their radios and you could tune into their transmissions: not illegal to listen, but illegal to act on information received. we used to tease by following them around; we packed it in after getting pounced upon by an army of coppers and having the whole roadside stripdown :laugh:

who needs games consoles?
 

GoldDragonAurkarm

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yep!
View attachment 27086

(apologies for the quality, or lack thereof; serves me right for editing it on my phone)
the transparent padlock is a doddle, but gives you an idea of the feel and the positioning of the pins. just a pity that it's keyhole isn't squiggly like most keyholes are, as that squiggliness needs a different knack of fiddling. there's loads more transparent locks on Amazon, so i may buy some, as and when.

this padlock, here,
View attachment 27087

proved a bit trickier, despite it being just a cheap and simple one. you may tell by the size and the length of the entry pin (denoted by the the V on the key) that there's hardly any room for a pick and tensioner [for to work behind the entry pin]. i ended up using another pick to tension at the top of the keyhole. the springiness of the pick, used to tension, gave it a nicer feel and once i'd sussed it, and thought i'd sussed it through practice, i thought i had it. until, the next day when, migraine and lack of sleep in hand, it beat me time after time.
the backdoor lock is proving a bit tricky, too. i've had it once, by raking, but setting the pins one-by-one is a different matter. i get it so it's almost there and it feels like it wants to go, but no.



you da man :worshippy:
we've always had 'handy' keys that my dad picked up on his travels and exploits, but proper picking, as with many things of yore, was limited by crap metals and a lack of availability of the tools.
before i got injured, i was toying with idea of taking a locksmithing course and setting myself up as a locksmith (saving up, in fact), but i'm not sure i've got the energy and drive to jump into the fray anymore.


similar, over here. there are various laws covering entry into premises and dwellings, but a lot boils down to issues of intent and a copper's view. a common arrest is known as 'going equipped' [for crime], whereby anything you have about your person could viewed as being used for committing a crime. pretty vague and generally used coppers who 'know' that someone is up to no good and 'best to have them off the streets for a while'.
a similar thing was back before the coppers went digital with their radios and you could tune into their transmissions: not illegal to listen, but illegal to act on information received. we used to tease by following them around; we packed it in after getting pounced upon by an army of coppers and having the whole roadside stripdown :laugh:

who needs games consoles?

Heh, those tall front pins with shallow pins behind are always a tricky combo. 'Fraid I don't have any good pointers right off. Did your kit come with a tension tool for double-sided keys? Those types have a spring-loaded fork, with one tine sticking on each end of the keyway, leaving the middle wide open for tools. Sometimes they'll work on a wider keyway and give you some more clearance. It's also worth trying a rake from back to front-get the back pins set and sometimes you can just bash your way past the first pin and give it a go from the front. It's hard to put into words, but I'm sure you'll get it!

And yeah, cops don't like being followed. My idiot friends and I in high school would, when we were bored, follow the town cops around our little 3,300-person dot in the middle of farm country. More than once they either invented causes to pull us over or, more hilariously, drove recklessly through the city to elude us.

Heh, good times...
 
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