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Antique Safes/Wehrle floor safe door hinge question


Safe door
Safe door  
I am reworking a Wehrle safe, to keep, and the door is hard to shut. The door tilts slightly down opposite the hinges. If I lift the left side of the door, when half open, there is play in the pin or the bushing.Do you have any suggestions as to the easiest way to remove the pins to check for wear? Do I remove one at a time and replace parts and then remove the other pin as I think the door will be very heavy? Do you have a suggestion as to where I could find parts that are needed? Thank you in advance.


Sorry, but as the Wehrle Company only manufactured safes from about 1904 until 1941, parts are NOT going to be available.

Also, as there are only a couple companies in the US that do hinge repairs on safes - especially older ones, your options are limited.

As far as giving you "suggestions" for repairs - unless you already have the mechanical skills, tools and equipment to do this type of repair, this isn't a DIY type of job.

The best advice that I can give you, is to find a safe company that will repair your safe, problem is going to be pricing.   For instance our hinge repairs start at about $800.00 and go up, depending on the container, the hinges and the problems.

Hinges can wear differently depending on the materials, and weights involved.   Wear can be vertical, horizontal or a combination of both, resulting in the doors appearance of sagging in one direction.

Repairs will depend on the actual results of inspection of the pieces involved.   The door must be pulled so that hinge pins, bushings or bearings (if applicable), and the hinge bodies can all be inspected and measured.
If the hinge pins are the only thing that is worn, then replacing them can correct the problem.   If the hinge body is worn or "egg shaped", then it may be necessary to re-drill it to use larger pins, or to install bushings, to use the original size pins.
If the wear is vertical (up & down), you might only need to install a thrust bearing or washers to shim the door up to the proper height.    Many of the newer safes have adjustable hinges.

Do all of your repairs and/or adjustments at the same time.

At a minimum, while the door is removed - hinges should be cleaned and re-greased.   This should be part of a regular maintenance schedule, however most people believe that "regular maintenance" means - when it breaks - fix it!

Hinges and hinge pins MUST be in proper alignment for the door to swing properly.   While repairing only one hinge, may provide a temporary fix, it doesn't solve the problems.

Generally with heavy safe doors, special equipment is required to safely remove the doors and to allow easy reinstallation.   While it is possible to simply lift it off and on, heavy doors are potentially very dangerous.   Gravity is NOT your friend when weight is involved.   Injuries can be swift and potentially deadly if necessary safety precautions are not taken and observed.   Trying to take shortcuts can have significant repercussions.  

Possibly the nearest companies that I might recommend to you, would be in New York, on Long Island.   I don't know of anyone closer that I would use.

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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