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Hello Terry
I am interested in seeing if it is cost effective to restore an old safe I found in a big truck I bought. I looked inside and there is a plaque over the workings of the door that stated it is a National Safe. The combination dial is missing but it appears everything else is pretty much there. I will send along some pictures if possible. It appears to weigh 1500 lbs and is @ 3 feet tall and @ 30 inches wide. I would like to fix it up and use it for my business. If you are able to shed some light on it I would appreciate it.
Thank you

David Bellagamba

Answer
David,

While I applaud your efforts to repair and/or restore the safe, I'm kind of confused as to why you would plan on using it for your business???    This would be similar to having your great-Grand father become your new security guard, and wouldn't make much sense for the same reasons!

The National Safe & Lock Company was in business manufacturing safes from 1883 until they were acquired in 1920 by the SteelCraft Corp. of America.   Safes were continued to be manufactured though under the logo - National Safe Company or National Safe Division of SteelCraft.    SteelCraft discontinued the safe divisions in 1929.

If you plan on restoring it, and having it as a conversation piece in the business, then that would be a different matter.

I'm not sure what you actually consider "cost effective".   If you are comparing it to buying a new safe, that will actually provide the necessary burglary or fire resistance that you require, then the answer would be "NO"!   If you are considering restoration of a collectible safe, (and possibly antique), then that is a different matter as the "cost" of restoration wouldn't really matter, unless your goal is to sell it as an antique or collectible (subject to actual age).

Cost of restoration WILL be determined by what work is necessary, and what work is done.   Actual value of the safe would be determined by an appraisal AFTER the work is done.

So before we can go any further, I guess the real question is what is YOUR plan???   I would need a better idea of what you intend to do, to be able to answer specific questions concerning restoration of this safe.

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
Safecrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
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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