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Antique Safes/Jewelry chest


QUESTION: Hello Andy. I am looking at a large double door safe. It has a jewelers chest inside. I want to buy the chest alone. I have no interest in the big one. How could we get the little one out? It's in the upper left corner, encased in wood. I don't know how it's fastened in there. Thanks


Unless the outer safe is damaged or beyond repair, I'm not sure why you would want to ruin a possible antique safe????    As the jewelers chests are designed to be inside of the outer chest, they generally do not have any stand alone value, and/or the value is reduced as it is only a part of the original safe.    Again, unless the outer safe is already foregone, You are loosing the majority of the value.

If you decide to go ahead with this project, you may be in for some work.   While some manufacturers simply attached them through the chest into the walls of the safe with bolts or anchors.   Other manufacturers actually built them into the walls of the outer safe.  Basically you are going to have to remove most of the cabinetry to examine its installation.

If it is built into the walls, you will need to cut away the supporting walls to remove it.

WARNING:   Jewelers chests are EXTREMELY heavy.   If it is not supported correctly, when it comes out, it may come out really quickly, and you may not be ready for it.   Death and serious injury can occur if you are not properly prepared.

Generally work like this is hands on work.   Without having a better idea with what you are dealing with the best I can do is speculate at this point.

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

QUESTION: The big safe is not as old as the chest. They were joined at different times. So I wouldn't be destroying the antique. The big safe isn't even antique. After moving of the big one, it would be worthless. You are telling me if it is fastened, it can be removed? Thanks


Well then, that is a horse of a different color - (Wizard of Oz)   LOL!

If the chest is NOT original to the safe, then obviously value isn't going to be affected as it was a modification to begin with.

If the chest is NOT original to the safe, then it probably is bolted from inside the chest, to the walls of the safe.   It may also have been welded to the interior of the safe.    They may have used angle iron to brace the safe in place and/or to hold it in place.

If it was installed as an upgrade or addition, then it can be removed.    Your task, should you decide to accept it, is to determine HOW the chest is attached to the safe.

Without seeing the safe and/or chest I'm just guessing how it was installed at this point.   But it can be removed.

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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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