You are here:

Antique Safes/Approximate weight of old safe


QUESTION: I have the opportunity to obtain an old Tl 15 bank safe. I was hoping you could assist in estimating the weight. The safe measures 72"X 36.5"X 31"

ANSWER: Brandon,

I'm not sure who told you this was a BANK safe, but there simply is no such designation for current model safes.   while this container may or may not have been owned by a bank it has absolutly zero influence on what it is or its value.

As it appears to be a plate steel variety, the weight should be fairly easy to calculate.   Steel basically weighs around 42 lbs per square foot - 1" thick

So assuming that all six sides of the safe are 1" thick you would have approximately 83 square feet of steel total or about 3486 lbs of steel.

Obviously with a TL-15 plate steel safe, you may have more steel in one area than another, for instance the door might be 1-1/2" thick.   You may also have shelves or interior compartments which need to be calculated as well.

When moving items above 1000 lbs, it is ALWAYS a good idea to calculate HEAVY, to provide a safety factor.   Estimating low is NEVER a good thing.   so with shelves and the thicker door, you are probably closer to the 4000 lb mark

Hope this helps, now get out your pencil, paper and tape measure and calculate each side, top and bottom to come up with some ball park numbers.


Sides = Height x Width to get square inches, devide by 144 to get square feet.
Top/bottom = Width x depth to get square inches, devide by 144 to get square feet.

add all of the square feet and multiply by thickness to get pounds.

1/2" thick = 21 lbs pre square foot
1" thick = 42 lbs per square foot
1-1/2" thick = 63 lbs per square foot.

Add all of the sides, door, top and bottom to come up with the approximate total weight.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: First, thanks for your reply. I apologize for the inaccurate description of type of container. The reason I described it as such was the location in which it originally resided. I did the math based on the weight of 1" thick open hearth steel plate. Thanks for the heads up on the door thickness, also the back appears to be .75" in thickness. In your expert opinion, is this item worth restoration? Thank you again sir,any additional advice would be greatly appreciated.


Obvisouly the answer to this question would depend on your capabilities to work on the safe (sanding & painting), and whether or not the safe is opened or locked closed.

It appears in one of the photos that the door is closed, and the lock dial is missing.   Is the door open or locked closed????

Cost to open the safe could be in the $500 - $750 range, and a new lock (depends on what you put on it) can range from about $150 to $1500.

Interior of the safe, again just like the exterior will depend on your capabilites for metal working and/or wood workings, and painting.

Obviously being able to move a 4000 lb safe around during various evolutions of restoration, and/or deliverning the safe to a potential buyer, or placing it in a useable location, will need special equipment.

Bottom line while it is easy for me to look at a safe like this WITH a "cost vs sales" potential, as we are set up to make all of the above obstacles, easy barriers to overcome, YOU will have to decide whether or not this is worth YOUR time.

If you don't have the capabilites to sand blast, sand, surface repair and paint, you may have to move the safe to a location that does have these capabilities, such as an automotive body and paint shop.    If you don't have the capabilities to remove, replace or repair the lock and/or locking mechanisms, you will have to sub the work out to a local safe company.   All of these costs will detract from the bottom line potential profit.

If you are planning on obtaining it for your personal use, and if you obtained it for a reasonable upfront fee, then you probably have made a real price savings.   Before storing objects inside the safe, make sure that YOU realize what its provides in security.   This safe is a "BURGLARY" resistive safe ONLY, and has NO Fire resistance.   The safe is large enough to install a small fire resistive container inside, so that you have both burglary and fire resistance.  

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.