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Antique Safes/Antique Diebold safe door stuck


QUESTION: Hi, Im hoping you can help. My father in law gave us his old safe. We have the combo and had the door open before we moved the safe. After trailering it 600 miles to our house the door is stuck. The door rattles like its not bound up but when I enter the combo and turn to 95 then rotate handle clockwise it turns about 30 degrees then feels like it binds up. Tried a cheater bar on handle to gently give it more turning torque but didn't want to put a lot of pressure on it as I was afraid of breaking something inside. Got any ideas before I call a safe tech? And If I do need a tech do you know any good ones in Denver area?



This is an all to common question.   Chances are the door is NOT stuck, but you may have hit the safe during travel, which may have knocked the dial out of alignment.

first question:     You have indicated dialing the combination and turning to 95 - DOES THE DIAL come to a stop at about 95, or are "YOU" stopping the dial at 95????    If the dial does NOT stop on its own - it won't turn any further, then the combination is NOT dialed correctly, and NO AMOUNT OF FORCE on the handle is going to open the safe!


If "YOU" are stopping the dial at 95, then there is probably a misalignment between the dial and the lock.    You can try adding/subtracting single numbers to each number of your combination to see if it will open, if not, then you WILL need to have it checked out by a safe technician from a local safe company.

Check your Yellow pages under safes & vaults for local companies, though you will have to determine if they have enough experience to work on your safe.

The nearest company that I might recommend would be from Colorado Springs.

J & R Safe and Security, Inc.
7857 Scarborough Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920-7117

Hope this helps,

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

QUESTION: Wow thanks for the quick reply.  Ok cheater bar the combo when dialed in stops on 95 and wont go any further. Before I call safe company,would turning safe on its back or side do any good? Also is the 30 degree handle turn correct or should it turn more?

Hi Hugh,

if the lock comes to a complete stop, then you either have a bolt work issue, or a door issue.    If the handle turns then the door may be stuck.  Older doors may have worn hinges allowing the door to set down on the threshold.     It can also cause the bolt work to bind.

lifting slightly on the door may relieve the pressure,  and allow you to fully retract the bolt work to open the door.

as I mentioned before,  mechanical problems tend to require hands on diagnostics & solutions.

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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