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Antique Safes/antique safe hinges broken


I have an old safe I rescued from being hauled for scrap. As best I can tell it is an early 1900s hall or diebold floor safe. It worked great for a while and then one day I opened it and couldn't get the door to close back. Apparently the hinge was worn and I didn't realize it or someone has removed the washers or shims that go on the hinges. Anyways the bottom hinge is broken from the door. Looks like it has steel rivets or something that held it on and the inside of the door is poured with about 4 inches of concrete. I was going to just weld the hinge back into place but I think is made of cast iron which doesn't weld very well. Is there dome way to repair this problem properly?
Thanks, Albert


You are probably correct that it is a cast iron, or cast material.    While cast iron can be welded, if done correctly, you are correct that it is not easy.

If you decide to repair the safe, I would recommend fabricating new hinges from scratch so that they match.    Trying to repair damaged hinges, its very easy to lose alignment, then the door won't open and close correctly.

Sorry that I can't tell you all of the items involved in replacing hinges, however you do need some machine shop capabilities, fabrication, welding, alignment & painting skills.   If you don't currently have these skills, then you will need to sub the work out.    Unfortunately about 99% of the safe companies in the country also don't have these skill sets available, and won't take the project on.    They will probably make references to your safe being a "boat anchor"!

Probably the closest company that I would recommend in your area would be:

Talton's  Safe  Company
5924 Fayetteville Road
Raleigh, NC 27603
Phone: 919-779-3545

Give Ray Talton a call and discuss the project with him.   I don't know if he can help you or not, but he would be your best bet.

Your other option would be to ship the safe to California.    We have the facilities and do several hinge repairs or replacements every month - obviously it will probably cost more than the safe is worth, but it can be done.

You might also have a machine / welding shop locally that can do the work.

Sorry I don't have a better solution.  

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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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