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QUESTION: Hello Andy.
I have a safe made by Chas. Kershaw and Sons. I am planning to fix it up and then sell it. My plan is to replace the velvet interior, remove the existing paint and then repaint (maybe have a profession do it). I have never undertaken a project like this and would appreciate any advice you can give me before I get strated. Also, itcurrently is all one color. Is this typical or would some of the adornments had color? Thanks in advance, Jay.
PS. I can provide more pics if you think that would help.


I have a friend that may have found a patent for the lock on your safe, but we would need to see what the key and possibly the lock looks like.   If you don't have keys, but the lock is accessible, we might work out something to make keys for it.

Send me photos of what you have so we can verify the information.


I would love to see more photos of your safe.   I haven't seen a listing for "Chas. Kershaw & Sons", though I'm quite familiar with most of his history making safes.   Unfortunately over the years, Charles E. Kershaw had several relationships with several other safe makers and was associated with various companies under a number of different names.

In order to answer specific questions, identify, evaluate or appraise your safe, I'm going to need photos.  They should include full exterior and interior.  Detail photos should include pictures of the dial, handles, hinges, artwork, locks, bolt work, castors, cabinetry and any special details or damage.  Note:  You may have to remove the back panel on the door to gain access to the lock & bolt work – I will need these pics.
If you have a particular detail that you have a question about, I will need a photo of it along with your question.

Please use as high a resolution as possible so that I can examine details of your safe.  Pictures which are low resolution, out of focus, or from a distance don’t help when we try to evaluate the container.  Note:  with higher resolution, you may only be able to send 2-4 pictures per email, depending on the size of the file, I have a 10mb limit per email.  If photos are larger than 2mb each, you may only be able to send 2 or 3 photos per email, requiring several emails.

Please don’t send me “cell phone” photos.   Also, please don’t use online, internet photo drops as most of these also don’t allow me to easily access the photos for examination.   Send the pics directly to me, while this may be more work for you, it will make my job easier.

Please send all of the requested photos to:  

Generally these safes were a solid color, however it will not hurt the value to do a two tone type effect, with a dark base color, and a lighter color for any ornamental decorations.   I would also clean up the interior cabinetry so that it looks good.   Remove any old varnish and redo it.

If you have any specific questions, I would be happy addressing them.

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

QUESTION: Hello Andy.
I wonder if  you have had a chance to look at the pictures I sent to you at ? They are pictures of the lock mechanism.
Thanks again, Jay.


Sorry, but I've been on the road most of the week, and have a ton of emails backing up at the office, I probably won't get to it until Monday or Tuesday.   While I volunteer on this web site in the evenings at home, the emails that I get at work take second seat to the regular work, so sometimes it takes a couple days to check out all the photos.

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

QUESTION: No problem Andy. I am not in a hurry. I just wanted to make sure got them.

Hi Jay,

Just an update on the lock.    I've got a prototype operating handle/turning wrench, and key extraction tool made for your lock.   There is quite a bit of rust, etc. inside the lock, so I will also clean and polish it.
I've also found information on a similar lock (very similar) made by a William Hall in Boston who was a lock maker.  A couple patents were issued for his locks, #US11158, dated June 27th 1854, and a second #US37290, dated January 6th, 1863.   While these locks are NOT the same as yours they do share certain features, and both are listed as "IMPROVEMENTS IN LOCKS".    It is fairly obvious to me that SOMEONE was copying SOMEONE ELSE, or at least changing the design enough to avoid any patent infringement.
Still working.


Hi Jay,

I did see them, and can't wait to open them up - but you know how work is!   Unfortunately in this business EVERYONE's little problem is an emergency!    If they can't open their safe, they immediately panic.   Most openings are simple, and in lots of cases once they panic, their mind locks onto the last thing that they did, and if it was a dialing error, it just compounds the problem - we arrive and dial it correctly to open the safe, and when they calm down, they realize what they did wrong.   Generally in addition to our regular work servicing Government vaults, banks, Credit Unions, commercial accounts and home owners safes, we also have to open 3-5 safes every day.   We have three crews on the road doing deliveries and installations and four safe techs doing all the service, so you can get an idea of how busy we can get.

We cover a huge service area almost 600 miles long by 200 miles wide, so I get a lot of drive time in during the week.   Unfortunately that means when I'm on the road, my emails tend to stack up.    If I lived closer to the shop I would probably go in on the weekends to clean them up or answer them, but its almost 120 miles round trip to the office, and by the weekend I'm tired of driving!

Have a nice weekend, and I promise I will get to your emails as soon as possible.  

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)


Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 40 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of two Tilton & McFarland Safes from the 1860'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.


40 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. 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. 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

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 - 2013 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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