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Antique Safes/Opening a Schwab Combination Safe


My employer has an old Schwab combination safe that no one knows the combination to.  We don't want to drill holes in it to open it.  Any suggestions on a locksmith that can open without drilling holes?


Several things - First I NEVER recommend using a locksmith for safe work.   The majority have no experience, a lack of knowledge and usually no tools, which means that they will either be "learning" on your safe, or simply ruining it.    You need a safe technician from a local safe company that has training.

Second issue is manipulation.   Even though many safe technicians may have some training in manipulation most are simply not proficient in it.   For numerous reasons they simply don't get enough practice to become really good.   Unlike TV and internet rumors, most of them have very little time to sit around practicing, waiting for a safe to come along that needs opening.   In reality they have to make money to run their shops and feed their family.

Third - while EVERY mechanical combination lock is subjective to manipulation, in the real world not all can be manipulated.   Again for a number of reasons, some of which have to do with manufacturing tolerances, some having to do with clean or dirty, etc. etc. etc.   Again it's not like the movies.

Lastly, you may not have a safe technician, in your area, who is trained or competent in manipulation.

what does this mean to you (or your employer)???   You can contact some local safe companies and discuss the project with them.   EVEN if they have a trained safe technician, Manipulation is NEVER guaranteed, this means that you WILL be paying for the service - NOT the result.

Drilling, when done correctly by a competent, professional safe technician will NOT ruin your safe or the lock.   It may not be necessary to replace any parts, and the very small hole used, can easily be repaired.

While I'm not trying to dissuade you from "how" you would like the safe opened, I'm trying to get you to be a little more realistic on what to expect.

Discuss the project with potential safe technicians to get an idea on what their skills are, how they propose to open AND repair the safe, AND what the charges are.   Please pay attention when they are discussing charges as many times customer ONLY hear the last number mentioned, and are hugely upset when they get the final bill!!!!
If the safe technician really knows what they are doing, they should be able to give you a flat rate price to include the mobile service charge - Cost to open And repair the safe.   There should be NO hidden charges, such as drill bits, or welding rod, or what ever.   If they haven't been doing it long enough to know what to expect then they are simply learning at your expense.   This also includes safe techs that are only going to charge you an "hourly fee".

I routinely have customers who think that my flat rate fees are excessive, and choose to go with a locksmith who charges by the hour, thinking that we are all the same.    Three days later when they finally get the safe opened but have destroyed it, and give you a bill for about 30 hours worth of work - while I agree that they are thieves, they haven't really cheated you as they told you up front WHAT they were going to charge!

The only caveat to the flat rate pricing is obviously parts.   While my pricing covers all of my labor to open and repair the safe (including my drill bits, etc. etc.)   It does not include parts necessary to return your safe to working order.   In most cases parts are not required, but occasionally a dial or lock needs replacing.   This would be a legitimate fee.

As you didn't mention WHERE in Georgia you are located, I can't point you to anyone in particular.   I can give you a reference - Check with Ron, if he can't help you, he may know of someone closer that he would recommend.

Protection Lock and Equipment
770-436-0302          Ron Snively
2347 Beaver Creek Road
Smyrna, GA 30080

Hope this helps,  

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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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