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I am currently restoring my first antique safe i already restore antique pop machines just wondering if i have to and if i can restore the locking mechanism without ruining the lock. Thanks for your time. And do i need a professional safe person to restore the lock or can i take apart myself and take pictures along the way for proper construction after restoring


I'm not sure what you are asking about when you refer to "restoring" the lock"???

In general restoration refers to repainting or repairing the surface.   For instance if paint has peeled and rusted - removal of the rust, and restoring the surface, paint and art work would be restoration.

With the lock it would be more - "repair" than restoration.    You will have to be more specific with what the lock problems are, and what work needs to be done to return it to an operational condition.
Also, why you think that this service or repair will ruin the lock???

I'm going to "assume" that the lock has some pre-existing damage, which you will need to repair, to "restore" it to working order.

Sorry, but I'm going to need more information (be specific) about what problems exist and what restoration work you are thinking of doing.   If necessary you can shoot me some photos, so that I can see what you are referring to.

Again, in general, I never recommend lock disassembly, repair or combination changing as a DIY project for the same reason that I never recommend using a locksmith for safe work.   lack of knowledge, training and tools CAN result in an expensive lock out.

While this DOESN'T mean that YOU can't do the work, the majority of people can't because they simply don't have necessary equipment, knowledge or training.

As you have indicated that this is your "FIRST" antique safe restoration project, I'm going to assume that you plan on doing more.   If this is the case, then you should be interested in all aspects of the safe, which would include lock repair and servicing.

Just remember what Clint Eastwood said as Dirty Harry - "A man's GOT to know his limitations".   If you don't have the tools, equipment, knowledge, etc. etc.   Then it would be in your best interest to find someone local to assist you in your restoration work, and/or get the training, education and knowledge.

Welcome to the wonderful world of antique safes.

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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

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