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Antique Safes/locking my safe


hi mr terry,

i found a safe in my cupboard, it had no lock and when i opened it found an 100 year old banana (did not smell nice) but i was just wondering how i would restore it again so that the lock works and i can put other fruits in the safe? sick of thugs stealing my fruits.


Hi Joho,

I'm not sure exactly what you are referring to??   And/or why you would want to keep fruits in a "SAFE".

I'm sure that we are NOT going to be talking about the same type of "SAFE"!

Basic safes & vaults, are designed for the storage of cash, jewelry or valuable documents.

I am familiar with what would be termed a "Pie Safe", which was used to store "foods".

Per Wikipedia:

"A pie safe, also called a pie cupboard, pie chest, kitchen safe, and meat safe, is a piece of furniture designed to store pies and other food items. This was a normal household item before iceboxes came into regular use. It was considered an important part of the American household starting in the 1700s and continuing through the 1800s.

The pie safe was used to store not only pies, but also meat, bread, and other perishables, protecting them from vermin and insects

A common pie safe is made of wood, is around the same size as a large bureau, and approximately eighteen inches deep. The shelves within the storage area are often perforated. It normally has two hinged doors on the front. These doors, and usually the sides, are ordinarily ventilated either with tin plates with punched holes, or screens. The holes in the tin are often punched to produce an image such as a simple shape, or something more intricate like a church scene, eagles and stars, or even a Masonic emblem.  A notable design is the Wythe County pie safe, which has a distinctive tulip pattern.

Pie safes that are freestanding are ordinarily made with long legs to keep it away from the floor. Some were wall-mounted or suspended from the ceiling.[3] Most have a drawer, usually above the pie storage area, but sometimes below.

In Cajun or Creole Louisiana, a pie safe is referred to as a garde-manger or a garde de manger. Pie safes from this region had doors with punched, tin panels, known in the region as tôles de panneaux, or were inlaid with baluster, closely spaced. These items of furniture were considered utilitarian, as opposed to decorative, and were often coloured dull red, referred to as gros rouge."

If this is what you are referring to, then I'm not going to be of much help, as I only deal with the first type of safes & vaults.

My recommendations to return the lock to working condition, is to contact a local locksmith to either repair or replace the lock.

Sorry I can't be of much help, but I'm afraid we are not talking about the same type of item.  

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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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