Alteration: Altoids Smalls Sewing Kit


I sew and repair on a regular basis so have this kit with me every day. With the assistance of a number of 3/16″ rare earth magnets superglued down, the tin will hold itself open and attach to metal surfaces, and the only things to fall from it while open–even inverted–are the two extra [plastic] buttons. The contents of the kit include:

– 8 needles of varying size

– 25 steel pins

– 6 safety pins of varying size

– 1 steel thimble

– 2 steel spools of approx. 20ft of black nylon upholstery thread each


Alteration: Hobby Lockpicks

Disclaimer: I enjoy lock picking as a hobby. It is great a pass-time, especially if you like puzzles, but should be used only for recreational purposes unless you are a locksmith. I do not encourage using lockpicking skills illegally. Additionally, be sure to check your local laws regarding carrying lockpicks. Also, this is not my original idea, just my take on it.

I live in a city where street-sweepers cruise down particular roads once a week on a schedule. These street sweepers’ brushes are comprised of many long, thin tines of a springy, high-carbon steel. Throughout their lifespans, these tines will break off and distribute themselves around town. I find them most often right along the curb next to the gutter.


They are usually rusty and dark, so before turning them into picks, I’ll clean them up as shown by the tine at the bottom of the following picture.


Then I’ll fold it in half back and forth until it snaps. They snap clean, and I use pliers to unbend the very end after snapping them.


20 minutes with a Dremel and pliers (or muuuch longer with files and pliers) and I have two new lockpicks that also double as tension wrenches, as inspired by the Bagota Entry Toolset as seen on ITS Tactical. The first time I made them, I tried the twist and did not like it, so I keep it simple.


The picks in the photos are still rough–I’ll be going back to thin out the working ends. I also store them in the manner seen on ITS Tactical:


Lastly, we keep a plethora of locks at home to play with. Most of them I have not yet conquered.


The End. Happy training!