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Antique Safes/Moving safe deposit boxes


Greetings, Mr Andreasen!  First, I'd like to thank you for the many hours you've invested in sharing your expertise on this website, and, for your service to our country.

I'd appreciate your advice on how best to transport sixteen nests of second-hand safe deposit boxes (about 1,400 boxes altogether).  The movers we've worked with here in New England have no experience moving safe deposit boxes.  Can they be moved with all the doors and interior boxes in place?  What sort of special equipment (such as a pneumatic table or individual dollies) would be required?  How much time would it take to dismantle, load, unload, and reinstall them?

Please let me know if you need further details.



Hi Tracy,

Generally "movers" don't have any experience or the necessary equipment to unstack, move and restack SD box nests.     The nests are not like traditional furniture and depending on the numbers of doors on a nest, can be EXTREMELY front heavy.

Our guys have anywhere from 10-30 years of training to move items like this, and we never allow someone with no experience to work without someone who knows what they are doing.

Pretty much (depending on weight), every nest will require its own dolly, though you can stack and move two at a time.    Hydraulic (NOT pneumatic) lifts are necessary to remove the higher nests, and to restack them.

generally it should take maybe 2-3 hours to unstack a set of 16 nests, though restacking them will take about double that time, as the bases have to be leveled first to ensure that there is no lean and boxes are straight.    We use crews of 4-5 guys to make the work seem easier than it can be.

NOTE:   moving heavy boxes or nests can be extremely dangerous.    As much of the work is physical, a wrong move can result in - at minimum - a severe pinch or crush, and at worse, death.

I don't recommend doing this job as a DIY project with untrained people.    While there is always the "Beginners Luck" thing, if everything works smoothly you will think "Why was he trying to keep me from doing this job".    On the other hand, making a mistake and having a severe injury or death is NOT something you can make into a "DO-OVER"!

Check with a local safe and vault company to find out what they would charge to move the nests for you.  

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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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