Antique Safes/Safe


Front of safe
Front of safe  

I have a 1800s j&j Taylor safe,I am restoring it and would like to take the dial and handle off is that possible


Sorry but my wife broke the crystal ball about the same time she killed my money tree.   As you didnt' include any pictures of the bolt work area (inside the door), I have to make some assumptions.

Assumption 1:   You haven't looked at the bolt work or lock area of the door.   Remove the service panel on the back of the door to reveal this area.   You can remove the dial by partially disassembling the lock.   NOTE:  I never recommend this as a DIY project as any part NOT reassembled correctly can result in a very expensive lockout.

If you had looked at this area of the door, the answer would partially already be answer.

Assumption 2:  If you have removed the service panel or back cover of the door, and have no access to the lock or the bolt work, then the answer would be no, you can't remove the dial and handle without removing insulation material to reveal the lock and bolt work.

You will need to remove the panel on the back of the door to view the bolt work and lock area.   Once you see this area, you should be able to figure out how to remove the bolt work, to reveal the handle cam assembly.   If this has not been welded in place, then it probably has a retaining nut, which would be removed to pull the handle and spindle out of the door.

Lock dissassembly:    Again, I must caution that I do not recommend lock dissassembly as a DIY project.   I recommend that you have a safe technician from a local safe company do this.

If you elect to do it yourself, take photos of how the lock is assembled to aid in your reassembly.   EVEN ONE part out of place or turned over WILL result in a locked up safe.

The drive wheel of the lock should be held in place by a spline key which must be removed.   Then simply unscrew the drive wheel from the spindle,   You can now remove the dial and spindle assembly.

Hope this helps,   If you have ANY problems - STOP - have a safe tech check it out.  

Antique Safes

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 44 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.


44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes". Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf

Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes

Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 Listed in AllExperts top 50 Experts. All Experts Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service area is Northern California - Fresno to Oregon, including western Nevada

©2017 All rights reserved.