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Antique Safes/How to clear and dial in combination


Coffee County Senior Citizens has a York Safe, Spec. B-1, one of the numbers is Y25711 and there is another number 4.  I think we have the combination but I can't seem to open the safe.  It has two lines, I guess for starting points.  One line is top dead center and the other is approximate. 3/4 inch to the left.  How do I clear it so I can start the combination again and which line do I use. When I am turning left or right do I always use 0 as the starting point for each direction of turns or do I use the last number I stopped on.


There is no "starting point" - kind of like telling someone to stand in the corner of a round room - it doesn't exist.

If "YOU" need a starting point, it is for YOUR benefit, and not the  locks.

The line at 11 o'clock is a service index line, the one at 12 o'clock is the combination dialing index.

If your dialing sequence is LRLR, you would dial your combination as:

4 times left to the first number,
3 times right to the second number,
2 times left to the third number,
1 time right until the dial stops.

If your sequence is RLRL, then simply reverse the directions above.
Note:  Left is counter clockwise, and right is clockwise.   DO NOT count the revolutions of the dial, count the individual number as it arrives at the 12 o'clock index mark.

For instance if your first number is 50, simply start dialing counter clockwise stopping the fourth time your first number (in this case 50) arrives at the index mark.   Again, you are NOT counting revolutions,  simply turn left and count 50 once, 50 twice 50 three times, stopping when 50 arrives the fourth time.

Forget zero as this is simply confusing you.

There is only ONE clearing.   When you locked the lock after your last access, you should have spun the dial off at least four times.   The lock is cleared from your last dialing.   NO amount of additional dialing will clear (or scramble) the wheels further.

If you make a mistake during your dialing attempt, simply begin the sequence again as I've indicated.

Keep it simple - don't add any other items into the dialing sequence.

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

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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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